Thursday, 18 May 2017

Film Review - Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) directed by 'Travis Knight' is a film about a young boy who must go on a journey to find items needed to defeat the villain, his grandfather. The film uses stop motion animation combined with 3D animation to give a visually enticing film.
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Fig 1

The film follows the journey of Kubo, a young boy who has magical powers due to his mother. He plays his musical instrument to control his powers which allow him to manipulate different objects. We see these powers develop throughout the film. Kubo only has one eye due to his other being stolen by his grandfather. His grandfather is a magical being that needs to take Kubo's eye so Kubo can join him in his world. Kudos goal is to find three objects which will allow him to defeat his grandfather, to help Kubo do this he has the help of his monkey charm who comes to life due to magic from his mother, and a beetle samurai who they met along the way.

We can see throughout the film the use of the combination of animation techniques and how well it works together to give the film a very unique yet appealing feel. The use of these techniques managed to stay away from the uncanny valley which is very common with stop motion animation as if done incorrectly can create a feel of discomfort amoungst the viewer. Where this film has used the combination of these techniques so well it makes the viewer feel comfortable and that the world that it is set exists making the viewer want to go there.Not only did they create models for all of the characters, but to give the film the extra likability and feeling that it all fit so together they used the same character creation for the larger characters, such as the bone skeleton. But they did this to a much larger scale so computers effects where not needed to give the appearance of everything fitting together. The bone skeleton was a puppet model that they created that's was 16 foot tall. This gave the realistic scale of the Kubo, Mokey and Beetle models. The model created by Laika, the animation company that worked on the film, was made so big because the animators found it easier to work with something to scale and with bigger parts to make it move better and more realistic than a smaller model with small parts.
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Fig 2

The use of the combination of both stop animation and 3D digital animation makes this film very visually appealing. The stop motion was created by models with 3D printed face plates for the changes of expressions. The use of this technique allowed the animators to create thousands more facial expressions that would normally be possible when using models for stop animation. The style of the animation gives the film that bit extra to allow it to stand out from the norm in animation films due to its uniqueness.

Image referencing
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