Laika’s latest stop-motion/cg hybrid feature, Missing Link, written and directed by Chris Butler, opens in theaters this week and the Portland-based studio has released a clip titled Inside The Magic of Laika, showcasing the painstaking craft that went into its creation. They have released similar videos in the past for their previous films, and it’s never less than impressive to see the level of craft at the studi.
The video features Laika president and CEO Travis Knight reflecting on the tactile work of the artists who build the physical spaces and animate the meticulously manufactured puppets. Knight also makes note of how digital advancements have played a key role in enhancing their increasingly ambitious projects.
“What we do at Laika is to take this style of filmmaking, which is craft-based, it’s about artists using their hands to bring something to life, and blend that with technologies,” says Knight. He believes the appeal of the stop-motion technique is primal. “It feels like a child’s plaything being brought to life. It’s like we’re playing with our dolls, playing with our toys, telling stories that mean something to us.”
Impressive time-lapses from the production of Missing Link and other Laika movies exhibit the intricate feat that is to animate a single frame and slowly, over several days and weeks, build a sequence. Voice cast members Zoe Saldana, Hugh Jackman, and Zach Galifianakis also speak in the video and share their impressions on the laborious work by Laika’s artists, which they say is unlike anything they’ve been a part of before.
Missing Link opens in U.S. theaters this Friday through Annapurna Pictures and United Artists Releasing.