ByAlisha Grauso, writer at
Editor-at-large here at Movie Pilot. Nerd out with me on Twitter, comrades: @alishagrauso
Alisha Grauso

If you're a fan of animation, then you might have heard of Kubo and the Two Strings, set to debut in theaters on August 19th. It's a beautiful, stop-motion film from LAIKA, the same groundbreaking studio that brought us Coraline, The Boxtrolls, and ParaNorman.

In celebration of LAIKA's decade of stunning films, and just in time for the release of Kubo, a special interactive exhibit is debuting at Universal Studios this weekend. Opening August 5th and running through the 14th, From Coraline to Kubo: A Magical LAIKA Experience will be free with the price of admission to Universal Studios in Hollywood. That's right - FREE. Who doesn't love that?

Poster for Kubo and the Two Strings
Poster for Kubo and the Two Strings

The exhibit will feature an up-close look at the worlds LAIKA has built with its filmography, with a different room dedicated to each film. Among the things on display for guests to see for the first time will be original sets, puppets, and props used for each movie.

Says LAIKA's President and CEO (and the director of Kubo), Travis Knight

“LAIKA’s films are an imaginative fusion of old-school movie magic and cutting-edge technological innovation. For the first time ever, we’re peeling back the curtain and inviting audiences into our worlds, to see where our dreams are born. This experience offers a rare glimpse into the remarkable creative process of the brilliant artists and mad geniuses of LAIKA. I’m thrilled that their cinematic wizardry will be beautifully on display at Universal Studios Hollywood.”

In case you haven't heard about Kubo and the Two Strings, feast your eyes on the visual stunner that is the trailer below.

Similar to The Book of Life (which is terribly underrated, in my opinion) and the classic The Nightmare Before Christmas, Kubo has been a labor of love from start to finish, built around a clear and unique artistic vision. Story-wise, it's a breath of fresh air to find a studio taking a chance on a completely original story in a sea of rehashed, retreated, and rebooted blockbusters. How original? Here's the synopsis:

Set in a fantastical Japan, Kubo and the Two Strings follows the journey of clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson), a young boy whose 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 (voiced by Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) and Beetle (voiced by Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey) and sets out on a thrilling quest to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family and fulfill his heroic destiny. The voice cast also includes Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Brenda Vaccaro, and Rooney Mara.

I love superhero movies as much as the next person, but I'm absolutely ready for something new and different and daring. So if you live in the LA area, or if you happen to be visiting for the next two weeks, swing by Universal Studios and check out the LAIKA Experience!

Kubo and the Two Strings hits theaters on August 19.


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