I was incredibly impressed with Kubo. The artistry. The story. The emotion. Kubo killed it. My wife and I had a chance to finally see a movie last night. We could have done Bourne, Beyond, the Squad, or War Dogs, since we have seen none of those. (Two kids really draws down on your ability to go to movies.) But I still get the chance to read about movies, and the reviews that I read for this were phenomenal. So I talked the wife into it.
First off, the animation. Kubo and the Two Strings is primarily stop motion animation with some CGI thrown in on top. (Stay through some of the credits to see an incredible time-lapse video of them putting together the huge skeleton. It will make you appreciate it even more.) I really noticed that it looked weird as the movie started. With stop motion, there is a slowness to the animation, and things are just generally more dimensional. (Smart guy just realized there are actually three dimensions in stop motion video. How does he describe it? More dimensional…) I would say less than five minutes in, I was engrossed. I was only enjoying it. And knowing that it was primarily stop motion made many of the visuals that much more amazing. Really, this movie should be seen in the theater just to see this artistry as it was meant to be.
The story really plays on the heartstrings. (See what I did there? No. You didn’t. Go see the movie and you will.) Kubo is living a solitary life because his mother was hurt while protecting him and escaping the danger that defines their existence. I don’t really want to give any backstory because the movie allows you to understand more deeply as the plot progresses. The characters are all amazing, and much more than any of them seem at first. The voice talent is top notch, with Matthew McConnahey, Ralph Fiennes, and Charlize Theron.
What I really think is amazing about this movie is the action. Going back to the stop motion idea first, it really makes you appreciate how beautiful the fights and action scenes are when you think about how much detail is put into each one, and how much time it must have taken to make this happen. Then you actually watch these scenes and they are gorgeous. The aforementioned giant skeleton scene is incredible. AND you can understand everything that is going on, even in such a chaotic situation.
Most of the characters in this film also have magical powers, and those powers are also a sight to see. (I hope you are following the theme here.) Kubo himself has the ability to bring origami to life. And one of the party on this adventure is a tiny origami samurai that Kubo made. He actually ends up being the leader (not a spoiler), and is extreme comedy relief without ever uttering a word. There is beauty, comedy, and soul in this film. It really is something I very highly recommend seeing. And I am very happy to have such a great film to help me work my way back into this movie review grind. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts, and I really hope you will go see this film. It is incredible.
Have you seen Kubo and the Two Strings? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.