Kubo and the Two Strings
Kubo and the Two Strings is a 2016 stop-motion fantasy/adventure/action film produced by Laika and Focus Features.
The movie is about a young boy with one eye named Kubo, who owns a two-stringed, magical shamisen (a guitar-like Japanese instrument). His mother wants to keep him safe from his grandfather and aunts, who stole his eye and want to have his other one. Because of this, Kubo must not stay away from his home after dark and thus is cautious of being away from home. One day, after he tries to talk with his deceased father Hanzo, he forgets to return home and his two aunts find him. His village gets destroyed, but his mother finds and protects him before sending him away at the cost of her own life. Kubo later wakes up to find a snow monkey talking to him, and later finds out that a small origami figure of his father Hanzo was built after he had a dream about him. They try to find the armor, and later find a samurai who was cursed to take the appearance of a stag beetle/human hybrid. However, Kubo's aunts are still trying to find him, and so Monkey and Beetle must keep him safe.
Why it Rocks
- Detailed and beautiful stop-motion animation, especially how it has some styles of Japanese art such as origami and ink wash painting in it.
- It mostly stays quite true to Japanese culture.
- Kubo is a very likable protagonist, and could also be a good role model to children who have disabilities, missing limbs, etc.
- It has quite a lot of the same charm as other films created by Laika, such as Coraline. It also possibly references this film since it shows the conflict between family, as well as the theme of eyes being stolen.
- The time-lapse clip showing how the skeleton demon was built showed true respect to Laika's other animations; for instance, in "Coraline" it showed how the mice coming from the door were rigged and how in "Paranorman" Norman was animated. This was also something that was interesting to see.
- Emotional scenes, such as when Kubo's mother dies.
- Some moments that were intended to be funny were actually pretty funny, such as when Kubo sends a flock of paper birds into the sky as they chase a real bird.
- The action scenes were very suspenseful and were great to look at.
- Although it's not as scary as Coraline, there were scenes that were still very frightening for its target audience.
- There are a few lighting errors, although these are somewhat difficult to notice.