Director: Travis Knight
Release Date: August 19, 2016
Summary (from IMDB): 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.
Review: 5 out of 5 Stars
I’m going to go ahead and say it… Kubo and the Two Strings should have won the Academy Award for best picture. Zootopia was great, but Kubo and the Two Strings is on a whole different level.
This latest stop-motion picture from Laika (The Boxtrolls, Coraline) stands out for its complexity, seductively dark themes, and the extraordinary beauty of its animation. Kubo and the Two Strings succeeds on every level.
Kubo and the Two Strings tells the story of a boy who is given a quest that unveils his own family history; a history more complicated than he could have ever imagined. The story is set in a feudal Japan infused with magic and enchantment. Kubo supports his ailing mother as a storyteller, illustrating his tales with bewitched origami figures that dance and act our the narratives he accompanies on a three-stringed lute. The music of this film is just as important as our main character, Kubo.
One day, Kubo ignores his mother’s warning and stays out at night, allowing his witchy aunts to find him. Kabuki-masked with snickering ill will, Kubo’s aunts look like escapees from any number of J-horror movies. Kubo’s sorceress mother sacrifices herself to save him, sending him on a quest accompanied by a permanently exasperated monkey (Charlize Theron) and an amnesiac samurai turned stag beetle (Matthew McConaughey).
Kubo and the Two Strings is dark, twisted, and occasionally scary. But the film skillfully combines these elements with humor, love, and inspiration. Kubo’s story is about connection, family, reflection, and tradition. They just happen to be against the backdrop of a major quest involving enraged spirits, sea monsters, and angry relatives.
Kubo’s quest, swept along by a gorgeous, surging score, takes him through exquisitely realized lands full of so much detail that you will constantly question how the animators pulled it off. The quest explores profound ideas of rebirth and destiny rewritten, like origami paper sheets refolded into another form. If you haven’t already seen Kubo and the Two Strings, go watch it today.