Monthly Archives: August 2016

Kubo and the Two Strings – Another Stop Motion Masterpiece

A Beautiful Stop Motion AdventureKubo and the Two Strings poster

Magic, mystery and art are woven into a heroic Samurai tale in the new film, Kubo and the Two Strings. This action adventure story takes us on a dreamlike journey through ancient Japan. It’s visually stunning with a blend of stop motion animation and CG techniques. The film’s heartfelt messages about kindness, compassion and finding one’s own path in life add emotion and drama. Kubo’s serious quest is punctuated by some laugh-out-loud moments. Here’s the official trailer.

Produced by Laika stop motion studios, directed by Travis Knight, written by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler, it debuted on August 19, 2016. Art ParkinsonCharlize TheronMatthew McConaughey, Ralph FiennesRooney Mara and George Takei lend their voices to the film.

Kubo forest setKubo’s Gumby Connection

A number of former Gumby animators and creatives worked on Kubo. The animation and sets were so lifelike. Stop motion has come a long way since the earliest days of Gumby in the 1950s. While the basic process is still the same (taking photos one frame at a time), the technology has evolved. Check out these fascinating behind-the-scenes videos to learn more about how the film was created:

Kubo and the Two Strings Behind the Scenes Time Lapse

Daniel Alderson. Stop Motion Animator

The Story

Kubo, a young boy, climbs down from his mountain cave home where he lives with his mother to dazzle crowds in town with his dramatic story telling each day. He conjures up origami characters that come to life as he plays his shamisen. His inventive tales center on battles that Hanzo, his missing Samurai warrior father, wages with monsters. The stories spin out of control, and Kubo goes on a classic quest to find the magical armor that will allow him to defeat vengeful spirits from the past.

Kubo and The Two StringsReviews

The film is getting great reviews.

Rotten Tomatoes gave the film has an approval rating of 96%, based on 121 reviews, with an average rating of 8.3/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Kubo and the Two Strings matches its incredible animation with an absorbing — and bravely melancholy — story that has something to offer audiences of all ages.”

 Michael O’Sullivan of Washington Post gave the film 4/4 stars, stating that the film is “both extraordinarily original and extraordinarily complex, even for a grown-up movie masquerading as a kiddie cartoon (which it kind of is).”

 Glenn Kenny of The New York Times wrote that “the movie’s blend of stop-motion animation for the main action with computer-generated backgrounds is seamless, creating what is the most visually intoxicating of all Laika’s movies.”

It’s fun for the entire family. Check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

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The Little Prince and Gumby – Unique Connections

Gumby and The Little Prince have a few things in common, so it was with great anticipation that we watched The Little Prince feature film on Netflix on the opening night in the U.S. this month. >>Watch the trailer.

The Little PrinceThe film is based on the famous and timeless French novella, The Little Prince (published in 1943), which is one of the best-selling books of all time. The film is beautiful. This adaptation captures the wondrous spirit of the book with an amazing blend of stop motion animation and CG artistry.

Connections with Gumby

Gumby creator Art Clokey was acquainted with Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the author of the The Little Prince. Antoine was a pioneering aviator who had recounted his aviation experiences in the Sahara Desert in both his memoirs and in The Little Prince. Art Clokey was a reconnaissance photographer in World War II, stationed in North Africa. He had some similar experiences as Antoine, and even met him in the early 1940s. Art told us that the Gumby episode “Small Planets“ was loosely influenced by The Little Prince. You can see the kindred spirit of the little girl’s yearning for imagination, fun and adventure in Gumby.The Little Prince

Jumping forward to 2014-2016, our very own Gumby Animation Director Anthony Scott served as lead animator on The Little Prince. Anthony got his start as a stop motion animator in the late ’80s when Art Clokey hired him to work on the Gumby series. Anthony has gone on to work on other amazing stop motion films such as James and the Giant PeachThe Nightmare Before ChristmasCoralineCorpse Bride, Paranorman, and many more.

Animator Anthony Scott Shares his Experiences

“The Little Prince was a once-in-a-lifetime project that I was fortunate to be a part of. Since I was a child, I was familiar with the book, especially its strange and fascinating illustrations. Our core team including Jamie Caliri (Stop Motion Creative Director and founder of Dragonframe stop motion software) and Alexander Juhasz (Stop Motion Production Designer) and myself, set up a small studio in Montréal, Canada. We put together a top-notch crew of local talent to produce the stop motion sequences in Mark Osborne‘s film.

Saint-Exupery’s story was told through the use of paper puppets. Like clay, paper is a beautiful material to work with in stop motion animation. These sequences have received world-wide acclaim and I feel, have effectively connected with the spirit of The Little Prince.”

Hear from the Team that Created the Film

For more details about the stop motion production, watch these podcasts:

AnimateClay Live Stop Motion Chat Podcast
Featuring:

  • Alexander Juhasz (Character Designer/Production Designer)
  • Anthony Scott (Lead Animator)

Skwigly Podcast 
The talents behind the stop-motion in The Little Prince:

  • Anthony Scott (Lead Animator)
  • Corinne Merrell (Art Director)
  • Jamie Caliri (Creative Director)
  • Alexander Juhasz (Character Designer/Production Designer)

Read more about the Little Prince here.

Enjoy The Little Prince!

 

 

 

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