Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
Starring: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Rooney Mara
Directed by: Travis Knight
Written by: Marc Haimes, Chris Butler, Shannon Tindle
Rating: PG Running Time: 1 hr. 41 min
Kubo and the Two Strings, is a film that exists on the fringe of greatness. On the one hand it’s a bog standard fantasy tale where our hero teams up with fantastical creatures in order to find magical trinkets. On the other it’s a powerful story about family and love. It doesn’t hide its secrets all that well (meaning its big reveal moments aren’t all that surprising), but it does set up a compelling adventure that is beautifully animated.
At frequent points in the movie, I thought to myself, this is it, this is when the film becomes truly special, and each and every time it sadly fell short. This was either due to an awkwardly placed joke during the more intense moments of the film, or the story tellers frequent fade to white in order to close out a critical moment in the story. This felt like a lazy way to reset and introduce the next act to the audience, and each time they did it, it took me out of the story.
That being said, there are many positives here. The voice work from Theron, Parkinson and McConaughey is great, and the whole thing is gorgeous to look at. The action is exciting and intense, and the character design is first-rate. This is basically a decent fantasy adventure that the whole family can enjoy, and an absolute must see in the theater.
If you enjoyed other Laika produced movies like Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this too. For me, Kubo was a lot more effective than The Boxtrolls and Coraline, but falls a little short of Paranorman’s greatness.
The battle between Monkey and one of The Sisters on Kubo’s ship made of leaves, was fantastic.