Activity: Animating Life – the art, science and wonder of Laika (Portland Art Museum)

IMG_7270We are big fans of the Laika Studio films. My favorite, hands down, is “Kubo and the Two Strings” and my son loves “The Boxtrolls”. The fact that Laika is one of our local businesses has no bearing on our love of their movies. They are just so good! I love how different they look, how much I feel in each of them, the texture of the movement, and the scope of what they are producing is flat out incredible. You feel like you are watching works of magic yet I know thousands and thousands of hours are put into each movie.

The Portland Art Museum is hosting an amazing exhibit called “Animating Life – the Art, Science and Wonder of Laika“. We had some days off from school recently and we went down to check it out. We were not at all disappointed. We have gone to see some of the other exhibits brought in for big names like Andy Warhol, and while this exhibit is smaller in scale, the scope was incredible.

FullSizeRenderAIMG_7299s you walk in you will see the house from Coraline. With the lights on and all of the amazing detail. Once you pay your admission and pass through the doors, the giant skeleton from Kubo is practically jumping out at you! He is massive and that isn’t just because he is standing next to some very tiny figures! There is a whole wall of eyeball-less faces staring at IMG_7280you to give an idea of how many different faces each character needs for their various expressions. And this is only a small portion (photo above)!

There is a theater room with a film showing a few of the people that create these amazing movies and all of the things that go into them. They explain how they go about creating the bodies, the clothing, the shoes, the sets – EVERYTHING! Everything is made from scratch for every single movie, right down to the slippers and teddy bears!

IMG_7279The sets are incredible as well. You see the dancing scenes from the “Boxtrolls” and how the characters fit in. I found the garden scene from “Coraline” really amazing. It has been several years since I have seen the film and when I first walked up I was taken with the detail, the lights, the characters and the trees. It was only when I took the picture IMG_7282that I realized it was Coraline’s head. The blue plants are her hair, the jack o’ lanterns her eyes, the bear tree in the center her nose and the red string of lights are her mouth. This is the kind of detail that just blew me IMG_7286away! 

I also loved seeing the large character from the bottom of the sea from “Kubo”. The exhibit shows how they controlled the eye during filming and if you walk to the 
back you see the skeleton and all of the electronics. I am pretty sure I walked through the exhibit with my mouth agape the whole time. Looking around I feel like everyone was though.

The exhibit will be at the Portland Art Museum until 20 May 2018, so make sure you get down there to check it out!

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