REVIEW: From Coraline to Kubo: A Magical Laika Experience Exhibit
From the Universal Studios Website: An in-depth interactive exhibition that explores the extraordinary artistry and imagination of one of the world’s most acclaimed animation studios. Visit the Globe Theater inside Universal Studios Hollywood. Exhibit dates and times subject to change.
Where does one even begin? In a mere one and a half hours, we walked through a winding & colorful exhibit featuring ten years of Laika’s legacy featuring sets and puppets from their hit films, Coraline, Boxtrolls, Paranorman and their upcoming film, Kubo & the Two Strings.
The exhibit takes place on the grounds of Universal Studios Hollywood at the Globe Theatre. Upon entering the lobby, attendees are greeted by a speaker who gives a quick run-down on the history of Laika. My favorite fact was that 3-D printing was employed during Kubo & The Two Strings in order to create the thousands of faces needed to get their puppets to emote.
After the brief talk, we entered through a door reminiscent of the one Coraline crawls through to enter the Other World. Instantly we were at the entrance to the Coraline exhibit. We walked through a beautifully lit archway where each puppet was on display. Beldam in particular was an incredible one.
Just past the puppets we were greeted by a gigantic set of Coraline’s house. It stood approximately at around 4 cubic feet. But despite its tiny size, this Victorian style home was extremely detailed. Instantly you became aware of Laika’s prowess at building realistic and intricately detailed miniatures.
After rounding one corner, we found ourselves in Norman’s bedroom from Paranorman. Inside, we saw a display of his family inside a miniature van, a set from Norman’s school with his classmates, the home, as well as the cast of puppets beautifully displayed in a nearby bookshelf.
The house was my favorite display in the Paranorman exhibit. All of the details made the set feel authentic. From the satellite dishes on the roof with wires askew to the newspapers with legible text in the recycling bin. Breathtaking to say the least.
Next up was the Boxtrolls section. This room had my favorite set-up as you suddenly found yourself inside a cardboard box pile and you were instantly immersed in their world. Nestled within the box walls, you would find the characters displayed throughout the room. At one end, the impressive Mecha Drill stood on display and on the other, a scenery with characters Shoe, Fish and Oil Can.
Kubo and the Two Strings
Last but not least, and the grand finale of the exhibit was the multiple rooms for Kubo and the Two Strings. This area was the most detailed with multiple characters, sets and creatures on display. My favorite was an array of 3-D printed faces featuring tons of facial expressions. I’m excited to see the range of emotion this film will have on their puppets!
The film appears to draw great inspiration from Japanese folklore and culture. It’s apparent from the regal Moon King and Beast to the grand origami leaf-covered boat. After seeing the creativity and handwork put into Kubo, it’s without a doubt going to be a visual feast when the film comes out August 19th 2016.
Throughout the exhibit, there were videos displayed on TV’s that took us further behind the scenes showing interviews of set designers, animators, and directors who explained the construction, engineering, and the importance of using physics that had to be understood in the making of the film.
Laika is a stop-motion animation studio based out of Oregon in the United States. This show celebrate’s Laika’s 10th anniversary, but for the amount of work and the level of quality they have achieved is nothing short of amazing. The exhibit at Universal Studios Hollywood will be open for a limited time. To check out the dates of this show, visit http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/passmember/from-coraline-to-kubo-a-magical-laika-experience