Rated: PG for thematic elements, scary images, action and peril. Reviewed by: Matt Release date: August 19, 2016 Released by: Focus Features
Kubo and The Two Strings is the next in a long line of stop-motion animated films from Laika studios.
The film follows Kubo (Art Parkinson), a young boy who lives outside a small village with his mother. Kubo is in hiding with his mother as she fled with him as a infant from her father and sisters who had killed her husband. One day, Kubo stays out too long and is discovered. Now, he must embark on an adventure to discover a magical suit of armor in order to defeat his evil family. Kubo himself is a strong individual with the ability to control paper with his magic shamisen. He is accompanied in the film by a monkey guardian (Charlize Theron) and a Beetle samurai (Matthew McConaughey). Monkey is a no nonsense character whose sole purpose is to protect Kubo as he continues on his quest and Beetle is a who was an apprentice of Kubo's father and now aids Kubo.
This movie continues Laika's history of visually stunning animation. The world is just so pretty so look at and the characters themselves are all so unique and interesting. Despite being stop-motion the animation is very fluid. The visual of Kubo controlling his origami through music was always a joy to watch. The main villains were also very well done. Though they only appeared a few times throughout, Kubo's aunts were both creepy and menacing to watch and proved to be a formidable enemy as they hunted down Kubo. The story itself was also well done, even if some of the twists were easy to see coming.
The only bad things I have to say was the ending. Kubo must take on his grandfather, the moon king, and it just fell flat for me. While it was visually interesting it just felt like it lacked any really depth and ended almost as fast as it started. The Moon King was also a poor character, at least compared to the others. His arch was weak and didn't amount to much.
All this being said, Kubo and the Two Strings is a wonderfully told story with spectacular animation to go with it. Nearly all of the characters are memorable and is definitely worth seeing.
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