Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) - Review
by Bryan Mero

I've had Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) on my radar for quite some time. The trailers looked incredible as stop motion animation is used throughout the movie. This is the same company that created Coraline (2009) so I knew is was going to look incredible, but will the story be any good?

Kubo is a young boy, saved by his mother, who both live in a cave by the sea. Kubo has a magical instrument that he uses to tell stories at the local town during the day. The stories he tells are from his mother who entertains him at night in their cave. All this stops once Kubo stays out beyond sundown. Then he finds out the truth of his family's past and is on his quest for magical items to save himself.

For most of the movie you forget your watching stop animation. Every movement flows so smoothly that it looks like CGI. Every now and then you see something a little hurky-jerky and reminds you that someone behind the scenes is taking a picture of a single frame and then moving the character just so slightly and then taking another picture. The expertise is amazing. The story flows just as well as the characters. Kubo's adventure picks up at a rapid pace after our introduction and stops every now and then just to let us breath, look around at the amazing artistry and sets up the next big scene.

The voice work was great from Matthew McConaughey as Beetle to Charlize Theron as Monkey. It's not too often that big names take such roles and become that character. I wasn't thinking "that's McConaughey as Beetle", it was just Beetle in the movie. This is the same for all the characters. The voice work never took me out of the movie. It only made it that much better.

This movie is rated PG, so it's safe for kids of all ages. There is magic and some scary fight scenes and not all characters make it. This gives a sense of danger, anticipation and concern for our main characters so even when the movie slows down your still happy just to be with them. It's not often easy to bond with puppets, especially the stop animation kind but when it's done right it can be magical. Kubo and the Two Strings is just that, magical.


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