KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
Director: Travis Knight
Release Date: August 19, 2016
Studio: Laika/Focus Features
A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.
*This review may contain minor spoilers of the film*
I was fortunate enough to receive advanced screening passes to see Kubo and The Two Strings earlier this week. The film, which is in theaters now, is among the other iconic stop animation films produced by Laika, whose notable work includes Coraline, Paranorman, and The Boxtrolls.
Kubo is a film that is both rich in its stunning visuals and a strong story that is often seen in Laika’s growing library of stop-animation films. It features the theme of overcoming any obstacles, ascending to your highest form, learning to let go of the ones you love, and forgiving those who have done you wrong. Kubo has to be one of my favorite children’s films of the year so far. Its message and core elements are not only positive and carefully put together, but also relate-able.
The film sees Kubo—a gifted musician whos talent brings paper origami to life—setting off on a quest alongside the aid of a guardian monkey and samurai beetle as they search for the three missing parts of a legendary set of armor while being tormented and chased by Kubo’s less than friendly Aunties and Kubo’s harsh, misguided grandfather. Whereas one’s aunt may pinch their cheeks a little to hard, Kubo’s aunts want something more dire, which I can’t say because it is a part of the more spoily info of the movie. While his aunts are a little creepy, their actual aesthetic is insanely cool.*
- I should note that if you watch this film and wonder why their mouths aren’t moving, know that it is because their “face” is actually a mask. This wasn’t as clear in the beginning, leading me to think they spoke through telepathy or other “witchy-ways” until it is revealed to be a mask later on.
Kubo, while being family-friendly, is a little dark in its tone—but not some much that would disturb the young viewers this film was geared to. It’s rather more of a realistic film, with a realistic ending, for supernatural circumstances. I really enjoyed it and could easily watch it again, leaving me waiting for the release of a DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack whenever one should be released. Laika has continued to make stellar animated films, and I’m looking forward to watching more of their work as they continue to prove why they are one of the newest and best leading stop-motion animators in the industry, and rightfully so.
DISCLAIMER: I attended a free advance screening of this film courtesy of Focus Features, Laika and BackstageOL in exchange for the possibility of a review or feedback. I have not been compensated in any way to write this review, these are my own honest and authentic opinions of the film.