We’ve been looking forward to Laika’s upcoming fantasy adventure Kubo and the Two Strings since the first trailer surfaced back in December. The fledgling studio has accrued a ’00s-Pixar-level spotless track record in the past seven years; their releases CoralineParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls dazzled critics and audiences alike with their blend of ceaselessly clever humor and stop-motion wizardry. There’s no reason to believe Kubo won’t continue this hot streak for Laika, and the latest trailer to appear online cements this as one of the year’s most exciting animated releases. (Though the potential for crossover appeal in the world of furries is not quite as great as that of Zootopia. Point, Disney.)

The trailer embedded above clarifies a bit about Kubo’s basic plot, providing precious context for the ravishing images of the earlier spots. Kubo (Art Parkinson) is a gregarious Japanese boy with the ability to animate his origami creations through the power of his shamisen’s music. He accidentally summons an evil spirit in the form of supremely creepy twins voiced by Rooney Mara in a bit of dead-on casting, and must flee his seaside town on an adventure to retrieve his absent father’s armor so that he may defeat the spirit. He’s joined by a wise monkey with the stern but warm voice of Charlize Theron, and a bumbling rhinoceros beetle warrior who thinks Kubo is alright, alright, alright. (He’s voiced by Matthew McConaughey, I mean.)

The film looks like an intoxicating combination of East Asian folk music and rapturously imaginative visuals, with the backing track of a re-arrangement of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” reinforcing the theme of music as emotion, as life force, as everything. Promoting multiculturalism in children’s entertainment is vital work, and it’s just gravy that Laika can manage to do so along with such outstanding formal panache.

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