Thursday, December 25, 2014

LAIKA Announces Next Feature...and It's a Mystical Samurai Movie!!!!

Laika, the studio behind The BoxTrolls, ParaNorman, and Coraline has announced it's first film of three in it's new distribution deal with Focus Features (fourth in their partnership) entitled Kubo and the Two Strings.

Kubo, is an epic fantasy written by Chris Butler (ParaNorman) and Marc Haimes.  It will be directed by Laika President and CEO Travis Knight.  Knight is, without a doubt, one of the best Stop Motion animators relevant today.  It would be unfair for me to deem him the best Stop Motion animator ever only because there are many other great animators, too.  For instance, one of my favorite memories of his animation is the zombie graveyard scene in ParaNorman (if you want to go watch him talk about that scene go here).  There have been certain scenes, like that one, that have taken over a year to animate overall!!  As of the directorial choice, only time will tell.  Knight will also be producing the film with Arianne Sutner (ParaNorman).  Knight said this when announcing the film:

“Kubo and the Two Strings is a rare gem, it’s a gripping yarn woven from Japanese folktales and mythology, with lost civilizations, mystical origami, noble heroes, star-crossed lovers, and blood-curdling monsters. At once epic and intimate, Kubo is a funny, intense, and ultimately uplifting fairy tale draped in some of the most bizarre and exciting imagery I’ve ever seen. Most importantly, it’s deeply moving. It’s a story that means something, a story that deserves to be told. In short, it’s a LAIKA movie. And with a poetic script, sublime cast, and our freakishly talented artists and craftspeople, Kubo will be a strange, stirring, and altogether stunning film. I can’t wait to share it with the world.”
“LAIKA raises the bar on animated movies as a creative art,” said Schlessel. “Each picture Focus does with LAIKA is unique yet identifiably theirs. Travis and Arianne have convened a wonderful group of animators, actors, and artisans to tell a story that moviegoers of all ages will be transported by.”

The film is set in a mystical Japan and promises everything we love: adventure, samurais, swords, heart, and brilliant craftsmanship.  The synopsis:

It is a quiet existence – until a spirit from the past catches up with him to enforce an age-old vendetta. Suddenly on the run from gods and monsters, Kubo’s chance for survival rests on finding the magical suit of armor once worn by his fallen father, the greatest samurai the world has ever known. Summoning courage, Kubo embarks on a thrilling odyssey as he faces his family’s history, navigates the elements and bravely fights for the earth and the stars.

...Which, to me, sounds kind of awesome.  I've said this many times before and I'm going to say it again, for a film to be great you have to have a great story.  It's a wonderful choice for Laika to choose Chris Butler, who wrote and directed ParaNorman to write this film as well.  He's a fantastic storyteller and knows his stuff, which gives me high hopes for Kubo.  As far as the Japanese Fantasy take and the initial idea I have no doubt that this will be even more spectacular than The BoxTrolls, which took Stop Motion to new heights yet again.  It's some wonder how Laika is and keep revolutionizing Stop Motion and storytelling and I can't wait to see the film.

Kubo's The all-star voice cast for the flick includes Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron; Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, and Brenda Vaccaro also star in the film.  The title character of Kubo will be voiced by Art Parkinson.  The film is set to open nationwide on August 19, 2016.  The official announcement: http://www.laika.com/blog/?p=1326.
Kubo and the Two Strings

Short Flicks: Christmas Shorts 2014!

As of posting this, it is, in fact, Christmas.  After all your wrapping I think you deserve a little treat, some Stop Motion cookies for Santa.  Below I've posted three of what I think are some of the best interesting little tidbits, Stop Motion gold in animator tongue, consider it your holiday present (or a present on whatever day of the year you're watching this!) from SMG!!

The first thing on our list is, actually, a music video that's not Stop Motion, but uses a very similar technique of puppets, sets, and polyester!! Fantastically done and a great song as well, reminding us what Christmas is all about!

For King & Country - Baby Boy: http://youtu.be/6CxFb4J-DHg



The Carol of the Penguin from Kevin Ulrich: http://youtu.be/CxKo3oun058


Yeti Christmas from Azod Abedikichi on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/azod/yeti


Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Screen Novelties/NBC's Stop Motion "Elf"

Elf, the wildly popular 2003 Christmas movie has been turned into, by our friends over at Screen Novelties a Stop Motion Christmas musical made for TV.  If Stop Motion Christmas musicals are your thing, then this is for you.  If not, then you can still enjoy the BTS!

Below's the embedded video but you can also go to the NBC page dedicated to the project where you can also find a ton of other BTS goodies.  And remember, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is for singing loud for all to hear.

Until next time, have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year! (look out, there'll be some more posts coming up soon!!)


Set Tour: Central Park...