Kubo lives a quiet, normal life in a small shoreside village until a spirit from the past turns his life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta. This causes all sorts of havoc as gods and monsters chase Kubo who, in order to survive, must locate a magical suit of armor once worn by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior.
Forgot Pokémon Go and stock up on paper – your kids will soon love origami thanks to the stunning stop-motion adventure of Kubo and the Two Strings.
Stop-motion production house Laika have gone from strength to strength with Coraline, ParaNorman and one of my favourite kid’s movies of recent years - The Boxtrolls. And somehow they’ve gone one better, with this heroic tale that will please adults and children alike.
Travis Knight, the lead animator on Boxtrolls and funnily enough Laika’s CEO, steps up for his directorial debut and knocks it out of the park. It’s as perfect as a quest-based film can get - steeped in samurai honour, scary vengeful spirits, funny animal-based supporting characters and plenty of important life lessons along the way.
Scriptwriters Marc Haimes and Chris Butler deserve a lot of credit, putting together a mythic storyline that seems like a fable we already know, and once it kicks off you can’t help but be swept up on the epic and frequently hilarious journey. Kids will connect to Kubo’s basic emotions, adults will relate to the deeper layers of family loyalty and betrayal, and everyone will succumb to the beating heart of this joyous film.
The animation here is something to behold, a mix of beautifully handcrafted images and epically choreographed action scenes. There’s a battle with a giant skeleton that is breathtaking, and if you stick around for the credits you’ll get a behind the scenes look at this awesome creation.
Kudos to the voice cast too, Charlize Theron will move you as Monkey and Matthew McConaughey will crack you up as the brave but slightly dim beetle. Art Parkinson (Rickon in Game of Thrones) is impressive as Kubo himself, along with Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes and George Takei in supporting roles.
The use of his guitar as a magical musical weapon – and his powerful origami skills - is a brilliant touch, the creativity shown by the filmmakers is captivating and the soundtrack alone keeps the movie humming along. And while there are some chilling demons here, most of the 4+ kids in the audience lapped the scares as much as the laughs. This is pretty much their The Nightmare Before Christmas, a soon-to-be favourite they’ll cherish for years to come.
I’m a sucker for stop-motion animation and Kubo is already a modern classic in my book. With eye-popping visuals and a timeless story, this is an epic adventure the whole family will cherish.
Releases: 18th August 2016
Rating: Animated Family
Duration: 101 minutes
Genre: Animated Family
Starring: Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, Art Parkinson, George Takei, Mathew McConaghey
Director: Travis Knight (Debut Feature Film)
The 4th film created by Laika studios.
Matthew McConaughey's first animated film.