Laika

The Boxtrolls

When you watch The Boxtrolls trailer, you’ll notice a lot of connections. The most obvious are Coraline and ParaNorman because Laika has maintained a similar visual style throughout all of its young adult adventures. But it also feels slightly like Monsters, Inc. meets The Fraggles by way of Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Or maybe like mutant Minions who raise a human child. You’ll also notice that this movie looks absolutely fantastic. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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boxtrolls

With the current cover of ‘The New Yorker’ sparking online debate as to whether or not it’s appropriate to teach our children about same sex couples, or at least at what age it’s appropriate to start introducing them to the concept, the new trailer for Laika’s next stop-animated motion picture, The Boxtrolls, seems to have come along at just the right time. It takes a stab at the issue itself, and serves as an important reminder that it’s possible to frame messages of tolerance to children in a way that doesn’t need to include addressing issues of sexuality that their tiny, under-formed brains can’t yet comprehend. But the heartwarming message that families come in all shapes and sizes isn’t the only thing The Boxtrolls has to offer. Oh, no. If you’ve seen the previous two features Laika has produced, Coraline and ParaNorman, then you know that they make beautiful pictures that are so visually dense and have such an attention to detail that they’re able to dazzle the eyeballs as well as reward multiple viewings. And from just this minute long vignette, it’s clear that their latest offering is going to be no different.

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Editor’s note: With FSR favorite ParaNorman opening today, we thought it was only appropriate to re-post our very special set visit from the film, originally posted on May 21, 2012. I recently visited a nondescript building outside Portland, Oregon that would feel right at home in any corporate office park in America. Nothing about the bland, uninteresting exterior even hinted at what to expect beyond the front doors. There’s no sign outside to tell you where you are. No iconic sculptures alluding to what they do inside. Nothing at all that even hints at the harmonious blend of magic and technology within. But make no mistake, what LAIKA Studios is hiding inside those four generic-looking walls is nothing short of a revolution in film production…a revolution 115 years in the making. LAIKA is the studio behind 2009′s critical and commercial hit, Coraline, a film that utilized creepy but beautiful stop-motion puppetry to tell Neil Gaiman’s dark childhood fable. Their follow-up feature is an original work called ParaNorman. It’s an Amblin-like tale of a small New England town, a very special boy who can see and talk with the dead, and a zombie uprising that threatens to destroy them all. And yes, it’s a comedy. Keep reading for a peek behind the scenes of LAIKA Studios’ upcoming production, ParaNorman, and their secret, high-tech weapon…Rapid Prototype 3D printers.

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“An episode of Scooby-Doo directed by Sam Raimi” is how directors Chris Butler and Sam Fell describe ParaNorman. Their horror-comedy wears its influences proudly. From the John Hughes-esque ensemble to Jon Brion‘s whimsical take on a John Carpenter score, it’s all obvious. Tonally, ParaNorman doesn’t share much in common with LAIKA Studio’s Coraline, a far darker movie. And not only is ParaNorman different from Henry Selick’s film in content, but also in terms of production. Butler and Fell didn’t want to approach ParaNorman as a stop-motion picture, as they saw the technical restrictions in going that route. Instead, they approached the film as if it was live-action, and it shows in the film’s scope and playful camerawork. According to Butler and Fell, they didn’t want to play by the rules of stop-motion. Here’s what ParaNorman directors Chris Butler and Sam Fell had to say about the film’s epic production, how The French Connection and Ronin influenced their zombie car chase, and the future of stop-motion:

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This contest is now closed. Thank you for entering! Laika Entertainment returns to screens with their first new film since their Academy Award-nominated Coraline with Sam Fell and Chris Butler‘s ParaNorman, a charming as all get-out 3D stop-motion comedy thriller about a boy with some very special (and very weird) capabilities. Young Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) doesn’t have a friend in the world – a living friend that is – because he can talk to ghosts and witches and, as it turns out, zombies. Those skills might not fly in the American middle school, but they certainly come in handy when his town (already saddled with a witch-hunting past) is overrun by the brain-eaters. To get you ready to battle whatever monsters who might wander into your town, we’re giving away one (1) prize packs from ParaNorman to one (that is 1) lucky winner. The grand prize pack includes: a $25 Visa gift card, a t-shirt, a keychain, a notebook, a pair of slippers (like Norman’s own), a toothbrush (also just like Norman’s!), and a backpack. To win one (1) prize pack from Sam Fell and Chris Butler’s ParaNorman, all you have to do is jump down into the comments section and let us know what your favorite old school horror film is (Norman is a big fan of classic thrillers and chillers). Please also provide your email address in your comment. This contest is only open to U.S. residents. The contest will close on Wednesday, August 15th, at […]

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The latest film from the makers of Coraline, Laika’s ParaNorman has a lot to live up to – fortunately, the studio’s next film looks to be just as sweet, funny, and damn dark as their first. Starring Kodi Smit-McPhee as the voice of Norman, he’s just not like other kids – he’s got wacky hair, his parents don’t understand him, he doesn’t really have a lot of friends. Oh, and he can see dead people. And he’s cool with it. “AbNorman,” as the mean kids at school call him, might be a little lonely, but with spirits swirling around him, he’s never alone. And hopefully, Norman’s prowess with the undead will work beyond just everyday ghosts, because his town is about to be besieged by zombies and witches. Oh, my. The film is one of our Most Anticipated Movies of the year, thanks to the strength of its first teaser and also, just how damn cute Norman is. The full trailer is finally here, and while it’s less atmospheric than the teaser, it does let us into Norman’s life, complete with a trainwreck pal, a cool sister, those parents who just don’t get him, the mean kids at school, and ghosts and zombies aplenty. Get hip to Norman’s lifestyle and watch the full trailer after the break.

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