Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Rated PG
Adventure / Animation / Family / Fantasy
Try pairing with:  Ultimate Sesame Pepper Steak

Jen’s Rating:  A

Ugh, Asian movies…. Kubo and the Two Strings was obviously not my pick and I’m pretty sure the girls didn’t choose it either because it has nothing to do with Disney Princesses or Barbie. However, we all reluctantly agreed to watch it.

This film is overflowing with talent with such as Charlize Theron as Monkey, Ralph Fiennes as Moon King, George Takei as Hosato and Matthew McConaugheuy as Beetle to name a few.

Kubo played Art Parkinson was a poor boy who lived with his sick mother who couldn’t come put after the sun goes down. Kubo has what he thinks is a unique talent making shapes into paper as he plays his two-string guitar. He quickly finds that the meaning of his paper and life is much more deeper than a skill. After accidently unleashing a vengeful spirit from his family’s past he sets out on a mission not like any you have ever seen before to reveal his fathers legacy.

I cannot tell you too much about this movie because it was so amazing and detailed that it you get lost in Kubo’s life. I was constantly engrossed in the movie and had no idea what else was going on in our home. I gave Kubo and the Two Strings an A because it was so well written and exceptional. This movie isn’t just for children; it’s for adults too. I’d definitely see this movie again, it was that good!

Jeremy’s Rating:  B-

This Laika filmed stop-motion Claymation film is the fourth major release from director Travis Knight, whose portfolio includes films like Paranorman, The Boxtrolls, and my personal favorite that I make sure to watch at least yearly with my daughters, Coraline.  It continues in the vein of animation excellence that all of his four films have had, and introduces a very interesting, different, and touching story at the same time.  Kubo and the Two Strings follows the titular character, Kubo (Art Parkinson) on a sweeping adventure through the fantastical lands of what appears to be feudal Japan after his mother, Mari (Meyrick Murphy) is taken by her two sisters that he knew nothing of.  This begins his adventure into the realms of the earth, water, and sky as he tries to find his mother and her sisters, who apparently come from the moon.

Along the way, Kubo meets two companions that are meant to represent certain spirits, Beetle (Matthey McConaughey) who has no memory of his past, and Monkey (Charlize Theron) who appears to be indicative of Kubo’s inner strength.  After finding out about his origins and history, Kubo finds that he is meant to be a part of something bigger, but upon meeting his grandfather, sees the darkness and error of his elder’s ways, and turns down an important offer.  Not wanting to unintentionally reveal any of Kubo’s story, I will stop my brief synopsis, but note that the story here is phenomenal, if a bit slow at times.  It’s also in these slow times of reflection that the film really shines though, delivering a tale that almost everyone in all walks of life can relate to.

The art direction is what really shines here, as the creation of films like these are painstakingly slow and every little detail must be taken into account or it does not look right and feels jaunty.  The colors and vibrancy present in the Claymation is wonderful, as that is a feature of Knight’s style.  Where this film differs from others is the well-written story that doesn’t seem to be an afterthought or added after the fact.  Despite the animation being the driving factor here, it still delivers a wonderful all-around experience, which is why I give Kubo a B-.

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