Kubo and the Two Strings – A review

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This is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. I love animated movies, and studios like Pixar, DreamWorks, and Disney have shown the world that animated movies can be just as well-written and emotional as live action movies. Kubo and the two strings will be remembered as one of those movies.sp.png

Animation

The movie’s overflowing style makes it stand out from the handful of stop motion animated films of yesteryear. Stop motion animation isn’t something I’m all that crazy about, but what it lacks in traditional computer animation, it makes up with its own unique style. Laika is the studio responsible for this movie, and it is also responsible for the movie, Coraline, which I also liked. While I admire Coraline’s darker tones, I think the fun vibe from Kubo and the two strings is something I enjoyed more. That’s not to say that Kubo isn’t heart wrenching in its own right, because it certainly is.

Overall, the movie was absolutely stunning. I was initially shocked at how they brought all the imaginative scenes to life as the trailer doesn’t prepare you for how visually amazing the movie really is, and I kid you not when I say that there were certain scenes that left me mesmerized by the sheer scale and beauty of it. The phrase “How did they do that?!” was constantly bouncing around my brain throughout the movie.

Kubo and the two strings is one of the best looking animated films I’ve seen in 2016, which is saying something, considering how much I adored Disney’s Zootopia.

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Story

I think the story just wasn’t to my taste. I mean, it was serviceable, but not bad.  Far from it. I’ve just seen…better, you know? With movies like Zootopia providing such huge amounts of food for thought, I might’ve set the bar too high for Kubo and the two strings. Which is unfortunate, because I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

What I did like about the story was its plot twists and imaginative setting. Despite the fact that it seems rather linear, the movie managed to surprise me several times. The ending was also pretty different, unconventional by modern storytelling standards. The message it sends to its audience, while a little trite, is something to be admired.  I didn’t expect that ending, but somehow it just felt… right.

Character wise, I think the protagonists and antagonists are pretty darn awesome. Kubo was an absolute delight to watch, and when his aunts come after him (the two mask women,) the dialogue and banter exchanged between them was quite witty and didn’t feel stiff at all. The monkey and the beetle man have some great chemistry between them too, and while strange, helps inject a big dose of humor into the movie as a whole.

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Soundtrack

This movie’s soundtrack is like heaven to your ears. The shamisen is played masterfully in the movie, and there were many times where I just wanted to pause and rewind just to hear that instrument again. Set in ancient Japan, I felt that the movie was successful in transporting me back to that time period, and makes the story even more immersive.

The soundtrack elevates the movie to new heights when combined with the striking visuals, and does well to captivate the audience.

Overall

Kubo and the two strings is a movie with a unique premise that deserves to be watched by people who love animated movies and stop motion animation. The story might not be to everyone’s liking, but to experience this masterfully crafted movie is a reward in and of itself.

8/10

When Passion meets Art

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