Ranking All 5 Laika Movies


Laika, a stop-motion animation studio, has brought us some iconic movies since its first release in 2009. But which one is the best?

In honor of Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture recently hosting the largest-ever Laika exhibition, I watched each of the studio’s five movies. The exhibit is stunning, and seeing all the movies made me appreciate it even more.

But how could I watch all the movies a studio has made without exploiting this for content? So I decided to reflect on my recent binge and rank each Laika movie from worst to best.

NOTE: All of these movies are good! Even my bottom pick is still a really fun watch. So I encourage you to do your own binge and make your judgments. Stop-motion takes forever to complete, so there are only five movies anyway.

5. The Boxtrolls

This movie takes place in a hilltop town that essentially runs on cheese. And the townspeople ostracize and hunt down the Boxtrolls because they believe the trolls are murderers and thieves. However, Eggs, a young boy who grew up among the Boxtrolls, is coming to the surface world to prove them wrong.

The Boxtrolls gets points for its super creative premise and worldbuilding, but falls flat in its characters. While several other Laika movies have moving and complex protagonist-antagonist relationships, antagonists in The Boxtrolls (especially the town’s leader) are too cheese-motivated for us to take them seriously.

But this is still a really fun and visually immersive movie! I just wouldn’t recommend it as much as the others.

4. Missing Link

This movie is about the “missing link” between humans and apes – the sasquatch. It tells the story of a man obsessed with magical creatures and his new sasquatch friend trying to get from North America to Asia to meet his yeti cousins.

The visuals in this movie are incredible. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to get stationary objects inside a studio to look like the Pacific Northwest, California, London, India, and the Himalayas. The animators really earned their paychecks with this one!

However, this movie is on the lower end of the ranking because its ending message is obvious from the jump. Also, the villains don’t explain their motivations beyond just “I don’t like change.”

I still highly recommend this movie, though, especially if you want something to activate your wanderlust.

3. ParaNorman

With so many supernatural/Halloween movies, this one can get lost in the mix. But it’s really a hidden gem!

This movie is about Norman, a boy who can see and communicate with dead people. No one believes he has this power, which makes his life even harder when he discovers a secret plot threatening to turn his whole town upside-down.

ParaNorman is a hit in every aspect. The visuals are super impressive, the humor is on point, and the twist hits hard thematically. Also, the casual LGBTQ representation is refreshing for a 2010s kids’ movie.

2. Coraline

It’s a classic for a reason. Coraline is all about the titular character’s struggles with connecting with her parents and how a sinister alternate-dimension “Other Mother” threatens to tear her world apart.

This movie might be mildly traumatizing, but it’s also a masterclass in balancing bright and whimsical energy with dark themes. It’s amazing how Laika’s first movie stood the test of time and remains the studio’s most well-loved movie.

1. Kubo and the Two Strings

Considering Neil Gaiman (who wrote the original Coraline book) is my favorite author, the fact that I ranked this movie above Coraline says a lot.

Kubo follows the titular character as he deals with the grief of losing his mother while having to defeat his evil grandfather and aunts. But the spiritual forms of his parents are there to guide him on his journey.

The visuals of this movie are just next level. It’s a straight-up miracle that you can even achieve visuals like the moon beast and the ship made of leaves by using stop-motion. 

Plus, the story and its themes are so impactful that I cried harder than I remember crying in a long time. This is an emotional movie, but 1000% worth the tears.

How would you rank the Laika movies? Did I get the ranking right, or do you disagree? Let us know in the comments!

Feature Image from Coraline on Facebook


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