“Kubo and the Two Strings”

**SPOILER ALERT: It is possible that I might mention some plot or character points about this movie in the article below. Consider yourself warned.**


A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.

Directed by Travis Knight

Written by Marc Haimes, Chris Butler, Shannon Tindle

Starring Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew McConaughey, Brenda Vaccaro, George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Rooney Mara

Kubo_and_the_Two_Strings_posterLet me start by saying that Kubo and the Two Strings is a feast for the eyes. Sumptuous in its mix of stop-motion and CGI elements, I often found myself forgetting that the characters in front of me were stop-motion figures, so smoothly did they move in and around their often CGI surroundings and fellow stop-motion characters.

Of course, that’s nothing new for Laika Entertainment, the folks responsible for Kubo. Having previously brought us such incredible fare as Coraline andParaNorman, we should expect no less than excellence.

And this look into a might-have-been Japanese myth is, indeed, excellent. The characters were all well-conceived and plotted, and the execution of them is all first-rate, with the possible exception (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) of Matthew McConaughey’s “Beetle.”

Part The Tick, Dory, and the Mystery Men, the comedy relief presented by Beetle never did really ‘click’ for me, and given the fact that the cursed Japanese Samurai is being voiced by Matthew McConaughey in all his down-home goodness, I was surprised (and relieved) that the word “alright” wasn’t scripted a single time for Beetle (much less three times).

I don’t recall hearing it, anyway.

But, despite that, the story is endearing and well-rendered (just like the characters themselves), and I can’t recommend this highly enough. If you like quality films, whether made “for kids” or not, then you should check this one out as quickly as you can.

A friend of mine called it the best animated film of the year. That list would currently include Finding Dory, Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets, andSausage Party (can we count this one?), so take that as you will.

A bit scary in places for the littler kids, there’s a lot of kid-type humor in Kubo, too, but the adults in my audience all seemed to enjoy it, as well.

It really does seem to be a film “for the whole family” for a change.



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