Focus Features has released a new, and presumably final, trailer for Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings. The stop-motion/CG-hybrid fantasy/action-adventure is set in a mythical Japan and offers no shortage of fantastical creatures and settings.

All eyes will be on Travis Knight, who is making his directorial debut with Kubo, Laika’s fourth film. Knight, who also produced the film, is the president and CEO of Laika, and has been the company’s head of animation and lead animator on previous features.

At this point, Laika’s technical chops are irreproachable. With each new film, the studio continues to push stop motion animation to dazzling new heights. The only question that remains is whether they can marry their technology with compelling storytelling, which has been the studio’s Achilles’ heel for the past couple films. Consequently, each of their releases has grossed less domestically than the previous film, and Boxtrolls barely cracked the $50 million mark.

Visually, Kubo looks to be Laika’s most spectacular effort to date. The film’s story sounds promising enough, and if it holds up on screen, Kubo could become the breakthrough film that Laika needs to establish itself as a contender in American feature animation.

Knight is directing from a script by Marc Haimes (Trollhunters) and Chris Butler (Paranorman). The original story and character designs were brought to the studio by industry veteran Shannon Tindle.

Here’s the official synopsis and key voice actors for Kubo and the Two Strings which will release in the U.S. on August 19:

Clever, kindhearted Kubo (Art Parkinson) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Hashi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and Kameyo (Brenda Vaccaro). But his 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 (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen–a magical musical instrument–Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Rooney Mara), to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family, and fulfill his heroic destiny.

Pre-order The Art of Kubo and the Two Strings by clicking on the book cover below:


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