AnimationFix: ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ gets a song debut and an exhibit opening

Your regular round-up of the latest animation news, from HitFix reporter Emily Rome

Welcome to the first installment of AnimationFix, where on a regular basis I”ll supply you a round-up of recent animation news and my musings on both the hidden gems and the buzziest new footage and art from the world of toons.

First treat for you today: Regina Spektor”s Japanese-influenced cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” recorded for stop-motion animation Kubo and the Two Strings.

One of the film”s trailers previously gave us an early listen of the cover but just an instrumental section without Spektor”s vocals.

Kubo and the Two Strings, a action adventure movie set in a world inspired by ancient Japan, is a samurai story that aims for an epic scale rarely seen in stop-motion. In the film, young Kubo plays a magical three-stringed instrument like a shamisen, a Japanese lute featured prominently in this cover of the 1968 Beatles song. (Yes, a three-stringed instrument. The touching meaning of the film”s title becomes clear toward the end of the film.)

The cover is haunting yet sweet – haunting has become an overused tone for many song re-dos lately (exhibit A: Lana Del Rey”s “Once Upon a Dream” redux for Maleficent), but here haunting-meets-sweet seems to fit the song perfectly and is also apt for the film that delivers both eerie monsters and heartwarming moments. I love the way this rendition of “Guitar Gently Weeps” twists and builds with a rich collection stringed instruments.

Spektor”s song for Kubo“s end credit sequence is on the movie”s soundtrack, which was released on Friday and also features Dario Marianelli”s gorgeous and grand Japanese-inspired score. (Marianelli also arranged the “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” cover.)