Kubo and the Two Strings
Wow, I did not see that coming. Laika Animation Studios has garnered fame with their three first films: Coraline, Paranorman, and The Boxtrolls. Their projects were unique not only for their use of stop-motion, a dying art-form, but for their creative storytelling as well. Laika’s CEO Travis Knight directs their latest film, Kubo and the Two Strings and it is their best film to date.
Kubo and the Two Strings is inspired by ancient Japanese folklore, and is filled with incredible original mythology; so abundant that you probably need more than one viewing to catch it all. It’s a delight to discover the layers that the creators lay out as the story progresses; the core of the story is that of an orphaned boy named Kubo (Art Parkinson) has go on a quest to recover three magical artifacts in order to defeat the evil Moon King.
The story, it cannot be emphasized enough, is incredibly original and creative. The fact that Western audiences are mostly oblivious to Japanese legends makes this all the more impactful and surprising. It wouldn’t surprise me if the script went about years and many un-credited writers before given the green light, there is simply so much content. I wondered if this “universe” landed in the hands of a major studio, it would probably have been exploited for infinite sequels and spinoffs. For the emotional aspect of the story, Knight chose to root it in the importance of family and memories. This surprised me, as it is not often that you have a film or a story encouraging nostalgia, mostly it just reminisces in it, but Kuboinspires you to embrace the past, and make it a core part of you.
The film racks up a great voice cast that includes the likes of Charlize Theron, Matthew McConnaughey, Ralph Fiennes, and Rooney Mara. Kubo and the Two Strings might have put some people off because of the choice of stop-motion, it could be one answer for its small box-office run, and I think that this is completely unfair. Audiences of today seem to be more attracted by digital and shiny CGI rather than a creative story told in an original way. It would be a shame if you were to miss one of the greatest stories told this year simply because of the ‘way it looked.’
Kubo is one of the best films of the year. It is a true triumph in storytelling and moviemaking. A film that makes you laugh, cry, and jump in fright, what more can you ask for?