Kubo and the Two Strings Pulls on the Heart Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings Pulls on the Heart Strings

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always had a soft spot for stop motion animation. There’s something about creating something and moving it frame-by-frame that just fascinates me, and I even tried my hand at them with LEGOS when I was younger. However, when it comes to full length movies, those are a dime a dozen. There are so few movies, and so few film companies for that matter, that use this practice. One of those few studios is Laika Productions- the studio behind Coraline, Paranorman, and The Boxtrolls. And this year, they have created what is, in my opinion, one of the greatest animated films of all time- Kubo and the Two Strings.

Kubo and the Two Strings stars a boy named Kubo (Art Parkinson). After certain circumstances, Kubo is lost in a distant land from an evil force from his past. Accompanied by a monkey (Charlize Theron) and a beetle (Matthew McConaughey), he must find three different yet similar objects do defeat this great evil.

It’s hard to give a true synopsis to this movie because there’s so much to the plot, so no spoilers here. Just know that the story is fantastic. The script is well written and the pacing is very fluid throughout the runtime. These two elements pair perfectly with the fascinating mythology of the world that this movie sets up. Everything from the magic to the towns are awe inspiring to watch and really pull you into the film. It’s a beautiful world and I loved watching everything it had to offer.

The animation is some of the best I’ve ever seen. The movement of every character is fluid, the colors are gorgeous, and the environments are absolutely stunning. It’s amazing that this entire movie was filmed with stop motion because it looked so real. Everything from the magic scenes to the action scenes was created with such beauty. There was not one single scene that wasn’t flawless from an animation standpoint.

Where this movie really shines, however, is its characters. Every single one of these characters is well written and well acted by their respective voice actors. Kubo himself is a very likable and interesting character with a backstory that’s truly tragic. Monkey is a stern, no-nonsense, get things done type of character that results in a lot of clever comedy. Beetle, however, is probably my favorite character. He’s brave and loyal while also being laid back and not very bright, also providing with some truly hysterical lines. These three characters play off of each other exceptionally well and each provide some powerfully emotional moments. They were all very well done.

Speaking of emotion, Kubo and the Two Strings is full of it. There are certain moments in the film that are absolutely tragic and hit you right in the gut. Throughout the runtime, it’s powerful in the drama in the way that isn’t sappy in the slightest. The entire movie gives off a strong Pixar vibe, because of sharp writing and moments people will relate to that will certainly release the waterworks.

The only nitpick I had with this movie had to do with the villain. His motivation is a little unclear and kind of confusing. Hearing why he’s doing what he’s doing doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Even though his designs was really cool, it was hard to see his side of the conflict. However, that’s the only negative, and even still, it’s a pretty small gripe.

Simply put, Kubo and the Two Strings is my favorite movie of the year so far. It combines gorgeous animation, fascinating mythos, great characters, exciting action, and a heart wrenching story into a phenomenal piece of art. If you haven’t seen Kubo and the Two Strings yet, go see it. Right now. It’s one of the greatest animated movies I’ve ever seen in my life.