Next year marks the tenth anniversary of LAIKA Entertainment, a stop-motion film company that has forged a reputation for largely being the ‘weirdos’ of today’s animation industry. A studio more than willing to march to the beat of its own drum and defy convention and expectation with its films and the medium it works in. All very fitting for a company whose name means ‘little barker’ in Russian.
Where most of your major animation studios are based in California (specifically in and around the Burbank region), LAIKA marks its humble abode in the town of Hillsboro, Oregon. Where the major animation studios boast lavish campuses that invoke an atmosphere of awe and wonder, LAIKA works its magic within an industrial facility that – as bland and unremarkable as it appears – fits handily with the Pacific Northwest atmosphere of its native home. Where your biggest animated features are made with AAA-budgets and an army of animators and artists, LAIKA employs unorthodox methods that not only keep the price tag down but manages to add to the creative stamp of each movie.
These are just a few of the ways that LAIKA has stood out from the rest of the pack. To celebrate its past achievements and to look forward to bigger aspirations, LAIKA has put out a video retrospective narrated by none other than the company’s president and CEO Travis Knight:
In addition to containing footage from all three of its previous films, we got a brief look at new footage from LAIKA’s upcoming film Kubo and the Two Strings. We also got to hear a brief snippet of voice work from Matthew McConaughey, the voice of Beetle.
While it’s clear that LAIKA enjoys its position as the stop-motion studio that could, Kubo and the Two Strings signifies a major shift in direction from the studio—something of a neon-lit remainder of LAIKA’s refusal to be known only for quirky, scary stories. A sharp promise that a studio like LAIKA can do the four-quadrant blockbuster movie just as well as any of the animation giants. Will they succeed? Where things are going, that is the hope.
What do you think? Are you looking forward to LAIKA’s future works?
Brandon is your average nerd with a love for nerdy things (games, comics, anime/manga, etc.). He also loves reading and writing and plans to be an author someday. For now, he writes with passion and curiosity about the world of animation. He lives with his family in North Carolina and is currently attending college.