Kubo And The Two Strings (2016) – Review

Locate suit of armour? check. Defeat evil spirit? in progress. Kubo and the Two Strings is a great animated adventure

Unfortunately I missed this film when it was released in the theatre, and I’ve been kicking myself ever since because I really wanted to see it, but I was super busy and there was a lot of other stuff that came out during that time. Better late than never. I never knew this film existed until I saw a trailer for it and then I started hearing the press surrounding it, which was all positive. So I was in from the first trailer.

What caught my eye was the really interesting art style and the design of the film. Little did I know it was from a studio called Laika Entertainment. I’ve always enjoyed their films, especially for the art style, but they were the studio behind such animated films as Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012), and The Boxtrolls (2014). I loved ParaNorman, and I enjoyed Coraline. The design and the eye for detail that this company has is absurd, and its all done using stop motion animation, so its like moving picture book. Just breathtaking.

Kubo And The Two Strings is an Animation, Adventure, and Family film about a young boy who goes on a journey to find a magical suit of armour that was once worn by his father in order to warn off a vengeful spirit from the past.

The film as I already stated comes from Laika Entertainment, so if you’re familiar with their other films, you already know your eyes are in for a treat. But Kubo and The Two Strings is directed by first time director – Travis Knight. But his filmography consists of many animator jobs. He was the lead animator on all of Laika’s films – Coraline (2009) ParaNorman (2012), and The BoxTrolls (2014). Its obvious from his animation background, that he was the right person for the job. It’s always kinda weird to think about how animated films are directed, for whatever reason I always skip over that in my mind, but yes Andrew… You need a director to direct the film – animation or not. SHOO SHOO. anyways, I thought that Knight did a fantastic job, and has created and added to the stop motion style. I’m a sucker for this style of film making, all the films look different, you see different elements in each one, but they’re all unique and different and always super impressive. I’m very excited to see what Laika Entertainment puts out next and I’m intrigued to see what Travis Knight does next.

The writers of the film are Chris Butler and Marc Haimes. Chris Butler wrote ParaNorman (2012), and he was a storyboard artist on Corpse Bride (2005) and Storyboard Advisor on Coraline (2009). This was Marc Haimes first big film. I thought that the script was well written, there was clever one liners and it was a great, even mix of comedy and drama and adventure.

The cast of this film is quite impressive. Kubo and the Two Strings stars Charlize Theron as Monkey, Art Parkinson as Kubo, Ralph Fiennes as Moon King, Rooney Mara as The Sisters, and Matthew McConaughey as Beetle.

Charlize Theron’s Filmography consists of The Cider House Rules (1999), The Italian Job (2003), Monster (2003), The Road (2009), Prometheus (2012), and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). I think Theron is a wonderful actor, who always picks very interesting roles to participate in. I thought she showed a lot of range as Monkey, and it was cool to see her do an animated film.

Art Parkinson’s filmography consists of Dracula Untold (2014), San Andreas (2015), and Game of Thrones TV Series as Rickon Stark (2011-2016). I am not familiar with Parkinson’s acting at all, I watched the first season of Game of Thrones in a day and got burnt out so I’m definitely not caught up at all. I thought this guy did a great job as the lead in this movie, I also thought he was much older, but he’s only 15… theres a big career ahead for Art. That’s for sure.

Ralph Fiennes’ filmography consists of Schindler’s List (1993), Strange Days (1995), Harry Potter series as Lord Voldemort (2005-2011), In Bruges (2008), The Reader (2008), The Hurt Locker (2008), Skyfall (2012), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Spectre (2015), and Hail, Caesar! (2016). It’s always a pleasure to watch Ralph Fiennes act, I honestly don’t think he’s made a “Bad” movie, but I definitely do have my favourite roles he has played over the years. I honestly didn’t know it was his voice until I looked up the IMDb page, so I think that is a sign that he’s extremely talented in his range.

Rooney Mara’s filmography consists of The Social Network (2010), A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011), Her (2013), Side Effects (2013), and Carol (2015). Mara kind of just exploded on screen, and has been taking great roles ever since. I really like her acting and I can see her being huge one of these days. I didn’t even realize it was her doing the voices until I looked up the cast on IMDb, this one shocked me more than Fiennes did as I thought it was a complete nobody… but no, my ears deceived me.

Last but not least – Matthew McConaughey’s filmography consists of Dazed and Confused (1993), Angels In The Outfield (1994), Contact (1997), U-571 (2000), Frailty (2001), How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days (2003), Topic Thunder (2008), The Lincoln Lawyer (2001), Mud (2012), The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013), Dallas Buyers Club (2013) – where he won the Oscar best actor in a leading role, Interstellar (2014), True Detective TV Series (2014), Free State of Jones (2016) and another animated film due out in 2016 called Sing. I really like McConaughey as an actor, more now than before, but I have gone out of my way a few times to watch a film that he was in just because I enjoy his roles. He was a big draw towards this film as I was surprised to see him do a voice in an animated film. He was great in this movie.

I thought however, there were some elements of the film that felt like filler, and it wasn’t really necessary for the plot. The plot was good, but it was bogged down by excess baggage in places.

I came for a Laika story and artwork, I stayed for the voice acting and the moving picture book, but I got bogged down by the story in places. The concept and idea was really well done though, theres scenes of just pure beauty – where Kubo is playing his instrument and these paper creatures come to life. Reminds me of a game called Tearaway, where everything in the game world was made out of paper. Just breathtaking.

In a world where everyone on the internet bitches about remakes and how nothing is original in Hollywood anymore…they’re full of shit and aren’t really looking hard enough to find these different cinema experiences. Support the smaller films and the originality will come, and this film in particular was highly original.

I give Kubo and The Two Strings a 4/5, Its definitely worth the watch if you’re super into art, as this is one of the most beautifully made films I’ve seen lately. I can’t wait to see what it looks like on Blu-Ray!

Until Next Time!


Oscar Prediction:

-Best Animated Film

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