With all of the excitement surrounding a certain science-fiction adventure film opening this weekend, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and forget about other films coming our way. Yes, believe it or not, there are other movies in the theater at the moment, and there will be movies that will be coming after this one. One such movie that I personally hope will be getting a little more love when we get closer to its release date is a stop-motion animated delight known as KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS.
This trailer seems to have come just at the right time, as I was just expressing my earnest desire for a stop-motion period piece. The film is the latest project from LAIKA Entertainment, the same studio that brought us CORALINE, PARANORMAN, and THE BOXTROLLS looks like it’s trying its hand at Japanese folklore. The story is summed up in the video description:
Clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of GAME OF THRONES) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Hashi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and Kamekichi (Academy Award nominee Brenda Vaccaro). But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen – a magical musical instrument – Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara) to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family and fulfill his heroic destiny.
The trailer looks promising, as it seems to offer a combination of gorgeous and unique visuals, fantastic character designs, and a stellar cast. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I’m beyond excited to see more of Rooney Mara’s characters as the evil twins, whose insanely cool design looks like an amazing cross between V from V FOR VENDETTA and the Black Swan. I mean, just look at her!
An endearing fantasy story and great visuals aside, you might be wondering about my thoughts on LAIKA studios tackling a non-western story. In some of my recent articles, I’ve definitely expressed my concern about Hollywood adapting stories from other cultures and the subsequent changes studios make to said stories to “adapt” them for an American audience. Maybe it’s because this teaser trailer lacks dialogue, but I don’t share that same concern when I see this trailer. It looks to be very respectful of Japanese culture, in a manner that is very reminiscent of an episode of SAMURAI JACK–an artistic expression of western artists that give an immense amount of reverence to the Japanese art that inspired it. Even though it’s still nearly a year away, I’m very excited to see the wonders LAIKA has in store.
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS opens in theaters on August 19th, 2016.
What did you think of the trailer? Do you think this upcoming visual feast looks promising, or do you think that Kubo’s shamisen might be a little out of tune? Be sure to let us know @TheMovieChickk!
Want to see more of LAIKA’s great animation? Check out CORALINE on Amazon.com!