Why ‘Kubo and two magic string’ is an ideal film for all lovers of animation

Animated film goes through a particularly productive stage, something that also helps the public to respond so positively to most titles coming to theaters. It also helps that increasingly proliferate more sequels or titles that basically no longer small variations of what we have seen on countless occasions. Exits more profitable not to risk, but the Laika study refuses to fall into that temptation.

The company behind ‘Coraline’, ‘The ParaNorman’ and ‘The Boxtrolls’ has been based so far by not being afraid to try different things that seduce the public. Of course, none of them have reached the level that exhibits ‘Kubo and the two magic strings’, a jewel that has recently started its way through theaters around the world and it has virtually everything to be ideal for any lover film animation film.

An ambitious proposal

One aspect that attracted the most attention priori ‘Kubo and the two magic string’ is a company based in the United States addresses a clearly oriental mythology, something unusual in the western animated film. The original source of this unusual bet we have in Travis Knight, director of the same, but also president and CEO of Laika, as he visited Japan when he was only eight years old and always wanted to reflect on the screen the fascination felt then.


Kubo and two magic string
Image Source: Google Image

However, the initial concrete germ ‘Kubo and the two magic string’ arises from Shannon Tindle, a designer of characters Laika who proposed the idea when the study was focused on the creation of ‘The ParaNorman’. Tindle’s proposal, focused on telling the epic story of a samurai through stop-motion, wowed Knight of such a personal way that decided it was the ideal material for his directorial debut.

In addition, Knight personal weakness of Japanese culture led him to spare no expense to hire all kinds of experts but not just to this point, as we shall see later.They also conducted extensive field work, something the attentive eye will discover during the thanks of the end credits with references to places like the Japanese Museum.

In addition, they proceeded to study the work of several Japanese artists, highlighting the influence ‘Kubo and the two magic strings’ of Kiyoshi Saito. All that previous work is no longer the animation itself but to the simple design of the characters and scenarios, it took almost three years to Laika. The reason? They wanted everything to feel real, but also part of their own universe that would achieve connect with the audience and to do any kind of shortcut was discarded.

A giant step in terms of animation

It seems clear that the animation stop-motion has a number of limitations that prevents you from being able to fight one on one in the section of realism with other titles that are reaching such a degree of perfection that little is left to them to be confused with a film image real. However, what really matters is not real, but a set of rules and respect for the viewer is created without doubt what happens on screen.

That is taken care of in ‘Kubo and the two magic string’ aspect, but also not alter the fact that those responsible have purposed to everything beyond possible with the stop-motion, stopping at no time to think there was something that was impossible to do. To do this we chose, whenever possible, to build both the characters themselves through puppets, as the scenarios themselves.

The main goal was to offer a stylized vision of the universe raised and at the same time was entirely plausible. For example, for water scenes were hired David Horsley, who had already demonstrated his control of that element through the use of CGI in ‘Life of Pi’, which also had this almost magical realism that Laika also sought here with these sequences.

Regarding the characters, models were created either manually or using 3D printers with technology that was still in the experimental stage. Thus, ‘Kubo and two magic string’ has the first model made in full form in this way, but a large gold work was also done to others through origami paper. There is room for both the latest advances to pure craftsmanship.

Nor they hesitate to use other materials such as plastic or silicone, so that certain characters have the closeness and sought expressiveness, but perhaps even more amazing is that even tried to manually recreate certain elements, such as own water scenes supervised by Horsley, who then They were changed through the use of CGI. So that was achieved at all times have a clear idea of what was sought in each scene and also to be got then a perfect fusion of both techniques.

Perhaps the most striking achievement of all is the huge puppet of a skeleton, the largest created by them so far, they created following what they had learned in ‘The Boxtrolls’ and inspired so recognized in the work of Ray Harryhausen in ‘Jason and the Argonauts’. It measured a whopping five meters and used a technique of control similar to flight simulators movement with particular attention to its remarkable weight that did not come down.

How did they deal with such a difficult undertaking? For combining high technology used to move the torso of the creature rather craft solutions: a series of tied to the wrists of the skeleton cables and the ceiling of the set made counterweight, ensuring it using a large filled buckets sacks sand. Unbelievable but true, and the result looks great on screen.

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An exciting adventure

However, the visual feat that is “Kubo and two magic string ‘would not be so not having a story that would connect with the public. To this end we opted for the now traditional story of a young man giving step toward maturity, something we have already seen on many occasions and, despite everything, here meets great purpose to be the last piece of this fascinating puzzle and even it feels like something new, with its own voice.

Naturally, in the animated film actors lose the most physical aspect of his interpretation, a task that is entrusted to the animators. However, Laika joined a cast of real luxury for the original version of the film, including Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey -the first animated production in which participation or Rooney Mara in order that the voice of the characters also possess the desired dramatic out.

In addition, all the characters have very particular features that reflect both their general mood as that by passing on certain scenes. Perhaps the biggest exception are the sinister sisters who have the voice of Mara , because that is what is sought is that their masks reminded the Noh theater, where a kind of being that comes down from heaven adopting human form, and his body and non-verbal language that has to convey emotions, and here they succeed.

In the purely narrative, the screenplay by Chris Butler and Marc Haimes stands out for its friendly and impeccable approach to Japanese folklore to create its own universe and do it in a more accessible way to Western audiences than other animated productions made in that country. A bet that could have unbalanced the film, but his triumph is what finally taken ‘Kubo and the two magic strings’ to another level.”

Essential in all aspects

A review of all the virtues of ‘Kubo and two magic string’ leaves us having a simple but effective story and well cared for by their makers. In addition, it is located in a fascinating world full of imagination captured brilliantly for animation work not hesitate to use various techniques taking as the basis the singular charm of stop-motion.

All this also seasoned with characters who feel real and situations with an emotional core that is almost impossible not to find details that one can be reflected. To this we add the incredible affection with which it has been made and the fact that it has not made any concessions in order to obtain the largest commercial revenue, something that in the future could pose a problem for the continuity of Laika- so explore fully all its essence.

Taking all that into account, then clearly there is a possibility that there are people who do not like it, because it is impossible to find a movie that meets that requirement, but on paper has the makings to fascinate anyone. Both children and adults and those who prefer the western animated or those who have a preference for Asian cinema with Ghibli to head concentrate reasons to enjoy this wonderful cross between so many things to see for yourself.

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