Kubo and the Two Strings

"Essential"

Kubo and the Two Strings Review


From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in many years. Not only does every moment of the movie look exquisite, but the story is smart, original and hugely entertaining. The themes it explores with a very light touch are rich and deep, provocative and engaging. And since there's so much to the movie, the comedy is that much sharper, the action that much more thrilling and the ultimate message that much more powerful.

Set in mythical Japan, the story centres on a cheeky young boy named Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson) who lost an eye when he was attacked as an infant by his grandfather (Ralph Fiennes) and two aunts (Rooney Mara times two). His father died in the struggle, but his mother got him out and raised him in a cave, making sure he never stayed outdoors after dark when his grandfather, the Moon King, could see him. A boy with boundless imagination, Kubo uses music and origami to entertain the villagers with the elaborately epic tale of his father's lifelong quest for three important pieces of armour. But one evening he stays out too late, and has to flee from his attacking aunts. Now his only companion is a sardonic monkey (Charlize Theron) and a forgetful warrior (Matthew Mcconaughey) who has been transformed into a big beetle. Together they decide to search for the armour so they can take on the Moon King once and for all.

This journey is the main body of the movie, encompassing comedy, adventure and some very scary moments. All of the story's twists and turns echo with the complexity of family and relationships, as Kubo tries to understand the things his parents could never tell him about himself. He also, of course, wants to better understand his own magical abilities, which are animated in breathtaking ways throughout the story. Perhaps accomplishing his father's quest will bring answers. And of course the real challenge for Kubo is to realise that everything he needs is right around him.

The voice work is terrific across the board, creating proper characters with big personalities rather than echoing the starring casting. These are the kind of movie characters who are hard to shake: intelligent, funny, vulnerable and real. Kubo, Monkey and Beetle are each on their own individual journey, animated in a dazzling combination of stop-motion and digital effects. The story surges with momentum that's riveting, and when the emotions come, they are so real that we can't help but respond. It's rare to find an animated feature that feels like a proper movie, never falling back on tired pop-culture references or hyperactive mayhem. This is simply one of the best films of the year.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Kudo And The Two Strings:



Kubo and the Two Strings

Facts and Figures

Genre: Animation

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th August 2016

Budget: $60M

Distributed by: Focus Features

Production compaines: Focus Features, Laika Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

IMDB: 8.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Travis Knight

Producer: Travis Knight, Arianne Sutner

Starring: Art Parkinson as Kubo (voice), as Monkey (voice), as The Sisters (voice), as Beetle (voice), as Moon King (voice), as Kameyo (voice), as Hashi (voice), as Hosato (voice), Meyrick Murphy as Mari (voice), as (voice), Ranjani Brow as (voice), Michael Sun Lee as (voice), Laura Miro as (voice), Saemi Nakamura as (voice), Ken Takemoto as (voice), Alpha Takahashi as (voice), Aaron Aoki as (voice), Thomas Isao Morinaka as (voice), Rachel Morihiro as (voice), Cary Yoshio Mizobe as (voice), Meyrick Murphy as Mari

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Advertisement
Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.