“If we hold our stories deep in our hearts, you will never take it away from us.” – Kubo
Kubo and the Two Strings is brought to us by Laika, the people behind other movies like Boxtrolls, ParaNorman, and Coraline. This is a stop motion film about a boy on his journey to get a magic armor set to defeat the Moon King while tackling topics about loss and importance of memories head on. TLDR, go watch it!
Kubo, the protagonist, is a young boy who is caught up in series of unfortunate events that send him on a mystical and legendary adventure. He has lost his eye and is chased by magical beings. He is some magical powers, most notably manipulating paper, like Yomiko from Read or Die
Mother is…. Kubo’s Mom. She has powerful magic and is protecting Kubo from whatever is trying to harm her child. Unfortunately, she damaged her head and is not the most stable person. During the day, she is quiet and just stares into the sun, but at night, she tells Kubo wonderful stories of her and her husband’s adventures.
Monkey is like Kubo’s guardian angel. Her sole job is to protect Kubo from all sorts of harm. She is cynical, rational, and very protective of Kubo. Beetle is dim witted warrior who just wants to do what is right, meaning help Kubo on his journey. He is dopey and stubborn, but has a heart of gold. The two make great companions with Kubo and want nothing except his safety and success.
The Sisters and these creepy and terrifying women who haunts Kubo. They work for this mysterious Moon King and want Kubo’s other eye. They seem to be more active at night and remind me of scary Asian ghosts I read about when I was a child.
The story starts off with Kubo and his mother running away from what can be assumed are the Sisters. Mom gets to safety and raises Kubo. Kubo inherits his mother’s magical powers.
One day, Kubo screws up and is caught by the Sisters. His Mom saves Kubo, and tells him if he wants to survive he has to find his father’s set of armor set of sword, armor, and helmet. And once he finds them, she should be able to oppose even the Moon King. So Kubo’s journey begins.
The movie was fantastic, but that does not mean it did not have its faults. One of the biggest detractors I can think of is is during one fight, I don’t want to say exactly which one. But the monster Kubo has to face has rather generic looking design and the actual fight scene was not that great. It felt very out of place and almost shoe-horned in. One thought I had was to wonder if the executives thought that movie needed more action and forced the creators to add this fight scene in.
The other part is not necessarily bad, and it makes sense to a degree, it was just uncomfortable. Two of the characters in the movie have rather weird sexual tension going on and …. it was just uncomfortable to watch. I’m sure children will not notice this at all, but adults will feel somewhat weird about it.
If you pay enough of an attention does not have to be great, you can tell what twist are going to happen before they do. However, rather than being disappointed, I was excited that my guess was correct regarding the several twists. I watched this with my friend, and she was surprised by those twists.
Oh my god, the animation is so freaking great. One of my favorite movies of all time is Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, and one of the reasons is the use of stop motion. This movie was mostly done using this method and it was freaking beautiful. The crazy bastards who made this film built a 16 feet animation, biggest set for a stop motion movie I heard, for a 10 minute scene.
The character design and the creature design in this movie was superb. The heroes all look unique, the villains look absolutely terrifying. When I was a child, I read an Asian ghost story of a pale woman with long black hair that killed people, I was terrified of that story, and that woman, two of them, appear in this movie as the Sisters.
Kubo and the Two Strings has real good message. Ultimately it is about loss and dealing with the fact that all good things come to an end. Here is a quote from Travis Knight, the director of this film:
“Kubo’s story is fundamentally about loss. about understanding mortality and how that knowledge can give our lives meaning.”
This is not your typical mindless summer movie. I think it can show kids some good morals as well as fantastic visuals that are not explosions. The movie deals with heavy subjects like death and coming in terms with the fact that everyone is going to die, and that death is okay and natural.
- Will I watch it again? Definitely, already bought the art book.
- Do I recommend it? YES, this is a great film. Visuals are breath taking, story is great, and if you want something that is not the typical Hollywood movie, this is it.
This was a wonderful experience. I do not like to get my hopes up only to be disappointed. So I told myself “if this movie has impressive visuals, I would be okay with it” and boy, I was blown away. It was like seeing Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time again. It was fantastic.
Have you seen this movie? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments.