Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

kubo and the two strings movie poster 2016
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Nice stop motion

Feels like a bunch of generic fable-fantasy actions

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Kubo and the Two Strings

Studio:  Laika

Genre(s):  Animated/Action/Adventure/Family

Release Date(s):  August 13, 2016 (Melbourne International Film Festival)/August 19, 2016 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG

kubo and the two strings fights grandfather

I hate it that time my grandfather tried to eat me…

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.

kubo and the two strings monkey vs witch sister

My mom is a monkey…and she’s fighting my aunt who’s a witch goddess

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.

kubo and the two strings oragami fable

I always love the animated art in “storytelling sequences” more than the movie art…

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.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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