Another day, another animated adventure ready to happen, and for once it is not from Disney. Hi Robbie K here, writing another review on the latest and greatest of the silver screen. The name of the movie is Kubo and the Two strings, a stop motion project that curtails to Japanese culture. It certainly promises to be a magical experience, but as always I’m here to share some thoughts on the subject. Let’s get started.
- Original and creative
- Animation and design of the movie
- Emotional Balance
With all the cartoon sequels that come out, it is sometimes hard to find a new original tale to follow. Kubo breaks the mundane of sequels with a fresh new approach that will certainly stand out amongst the ranks of CGI films. The Japanese folklore theme provided a pallet of magic, combat, and monsters that are the essential components of an adventure tale. Kubo’s land is filled with a bounty of story elements that will keep the intended young audience entertained. Both good and bad guys each have a certain edge, flare, or other characteristic that helps them stand out and all are integrated into the tale well.
And it is all animated so beautifully! Kubo’s animation and design are certainly a strong component that makes the adventure so unique. Stop motion continues to be one of my favorites, because the animators often think outside the box to bring the magic to the screen. I myself was impressed with how the world popped to life in a fantastic display of color that added to the character’s personality. In addition, the world is also designed to represent the Japanese culture, but is presented in a manner that is somewhat warped to have that spooky/gothic edge that we’ve loved (like in Coralline!) And when the spirit world denizens make an appearance, they get their own extra glaze to mirror their ambience of the Moon Kingdom. If you haven’t guessed, I really liked the animation and feel that it is certainly one of the more unique styles I’ve seen in a while.
Where the animation and antics will get younger audience members invested in the film, it is the emotional punch that will catch the adult’s eye. Kubo’s story contains the heartstring pulling, gut wrenching moments that might just bring a tear to your eye. All the character dynamics are strongly built in this movie, much of which is designed around the importance of family and friends. Sure that is typical of any movie, but in Kubo this concept is also laced with the threat of death and how quickly those things can be snatched away. When combined with the music, the character design, and the voice acting…it all comes together to really hit home.
- The Action Component
- Lackluster Solutions
It was hard to find fault in this movie for me, but alas there are some things I felt could have been improved on. First is the action component. Yes, I am an action junky and yes I know it holds a PG rating (I’m not that dumb). Hence I will say that the action is appropriate for the intended audience with enough excitement to latch your attention, but not too much edge to cause psychological trauma. But what I wanted was for them to use their concepts more. For instance, Kubo has some pretty cool magic, but I was expecting more spectacular spells and moves from all the hype of the trailers. I was hoping for the magic to be better integrated into the combat, perhaps integrated with some sword combat to really live the battles. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case as much of Kubo’s exciting qualities were used for comedic relief. Oh well at least it was done tastefully and retained the artistic style I so loved.
As for the lackluster solutions category, this pertains to how much of the conflict was resolved in this movie. Kubo’s fights start out with edge, pick up some excitement, and then end very…abruptly. With how creative the team had been with much of this movie, I was hoping to see that design carry over. But again the underutilization of magic resulted in these kind of boring, although very emotional, fixes that were dialogue heavy. This was especially true in the final fight, where Kubo was able to make a few speeches that preached the important morals like an after school special. While very important to the story, it just wasn’t what I expected and was somewhat of a disappointing end game after all the set-up. Is this a big weakness? No, because like I said it was important and well integrated into the story and that is important to me. Still…I was hoping for more.
Kubo of the Two Strings gets two thumbs up from this reviewer and is certainly an adventure many will enjoy. The unique design, fantastically developed characters, and bright colors are mixed together for an entertaining show with a great story to boot. Yes it lacks some of the excitement I was hoping for, but they didn’t sacrifice the story quality in their editing. Based on all these qualities, this reviewer certainly recommends dropping to the theater for this one, and may even suggest catching it in 3-D should the opportunity present itself. Recommended audiences for this film are those who have kids, appreciate fantastic animation or are young at heart.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 8.0-8.5