Movie Name: Kubo and the Two Strings
Release Date(s): August 13, 2016 (Melbourne International Film Festival)/August 19, 2016 (US)
MPAA Rating: PG
Kubo has abilities. Like his mother he can control elements and form things from his thoughts. He has dreams of his father Hanzo and is warned by his mother Sariatu about the wrath of the Moon King, his grandfather. When Kubo is spied by the Moon King, his mother must sacrifice herself to try to keep Kubo out of her father’s grasps. Kubo finds himself on an adventure to find his father’s armor and finds allies in a snow monkey and a giant beetle with amnesia. Kubo must find the strength to stop his grandfather and his aunts if he hopes to continue life on Earth.
Directed by Travis Knight, Kubo and the Two Strings in a stop-motion action feature. The movie was released to positive reviews but a tepid response at the box office. The movie was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Visual Effects.
Kubo seemed like a very generic movie on all appearances. The story seems to take all the basic fable elements and craft them into a story that can appeal to adults and children. While this is true, Kubo does have its moments.
It took me a while to get into the story of Kubo because of this generic feel. I am not completely versed in Japanese folklore, but I’m also not completely ignorant of it. I know enough that Kubo feels like a lot of other movies with similar stories and the basic hero quest of the movie doesn’t help distinguish it much. What does help the movie’s plot is the layered “family” storyline with both Kubo looking for his family (his father) and trying to avoid his family (his grandfather and aunts) at the same time…it provides an interesting dichotomy that raises the generic basic story.
The movie casts a lot of great talents for the film. Kubo is voiced by Art Parkinson while his mother and father are voiced by Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey. Ralph Fiennes plays the heavy as the Moon King and Rooney Mara is the voice of both sisters. Brenda Vaccaro and George Takei also have small voice roles as villagers.
The visuals do stand out in Kubo. Stop-motion is always amazing to me and new technology has made even more possible. The film (at the point it was made) was the longest stop-motion picture. It also features the largest stop motion creation in the skeleton monster which was sixteen feet tall.
I don’t find Kubo and the Two Strings that memorable of a movie, but it is entertaining for what it is. I also like having an alternative to Disney and Pixar who form an unholy alliance and deathgrip on the genre. It is always nice to see an alternative to the standards. Check out Kubo…it might strike a chord in you.