Travis Knight on the Influence of Hayao Miyazaki and Akira Kurosawa on ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’

     August 20, 2016


Now playing in theaters is one of the best films of 2016: Kubo and the Two Strings. LAIKA President and CEO Travis Knight makes his directorial debut with this project after having served as lead animator and producer on the studio’s previous films. Set in a fantastical Japan, Kubo follows the titular hero — a young boy who possesses the power to bring origami to life with the music of his shamisen — on an epic journey to unlock the secrets of his legacy and reunite his family. Set in sweeping landscapes and loaded with action set-pieces, Kubo and the Two Strings features an all-star voice cast including Charlize TheronArt ParkinsonRalph FiennesRooney MaraGeorge Takei, and Matthew McConaughey, and is a tremendously impressive display of craftsmanship, even from a studio that has rapidly established itself as a force of artistic innovation. Trust me when I say this is a film you need to see in a movie theater. You’ll love it. For more on the film, read Matt’s glowing review.

kubo-and-the-two-strings-poster-the-garden-of-eyesAt the Los Angeles press day I landed an exclusive interview with Travis Knight. He talked about the influence of Hayao Miyazaki and Akira Kurosawa on Kubo and if there was ever a day that he was ready to rage quit. Watch what he had to say above.

Here’s the official synopsis followed by some recent Kubo and the Two Strings links:

Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of “Game of Thrones”) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Hashi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and Kameyo (Academy Award nominee 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 (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Academy Award winner 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 (Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara), to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family, and fulfill his heroic destiny.


Image via LAIKA/Universal


Image via LAIKA/Universal


Image via LAIKA/Universal


Image via LAIKA/Universal

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