Kubo and the Two Strings – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

kubo and the two stringsKubo and the Two Strings – 4/5 – This has been a very big year for Animated Features.  So far, each of the films that have come out (Zootopia, Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets), have been good or great in their own right.  What has made each of them stand out is the believability factor towards an imaginary world.  The same can be said about this latest one.  Kubo and The Two String brings about its world through the art of Stop-Motion.  Through a visionary eye, we are enraptured by a common folklore tale that is original in its own context.  From the characters, the world and deeply moving themes, Kubo and the Two Strings will touch your heart as much as your imagination.


In the main voice cast, you have as followed:

Art Parkinson as Kubo

Charlize Theron as Monkey

Matthew McConaughey as Beetle

Ralph Fiennes as Moon King

Rooney Mara as The Sisters

In short, these individuals do a masterful job in entrenching you within the imaginary world of magic and mysticism.  From the colorful and intriguing characters that are Kubo, Monkey and Beetle to the visceral and vile ones that are the Moon King and The Sisters; you feel the veracity in each of the characters.  They become deeply woven through witty dialogue, honest details and outstanding visualization of emotional intent.  This brings a hearty dynamic to their relationships on screen.  Through their voices, you see the dynamic grow and mold upon the journey of Kubo.  No matter the perils the characters’ face; they always come across as raw and believable.  What makes them more endearing is how powerful they deliver their lines.  It strength upon subtlety; letting the conversations and interactions dictate growth, mood and tone.  This is definitely true between Kubo, Monkey and Beetle.  There is a genuine take of humanistic growth as you watch how angst, quarrels and budding of warming feelings bubble between the three.   Even though Moon King and The Sisters are relatively held to the background; their presences is felt strongly throughout the scenes they are in.  Their ominous presences bring fear to the screen, while they hold convictions that brings value to the good vs. bad scenario that preface the journey.  With the rest of the voice cast, they are all riveting, intuitive and luscious when it comes to creating realism to this fantastical realm.  Even with the standard archetypes built, it is welcomed because it helps build something decent and delicate towards something surreal.

The direction brings about the common ‘hero’s quest’ tale placed against the imagination of this vivid world.  What you have here is the standard outline that entails this kind of journey:

First Act – Prologue of events leading to main story. where we are introduced to main hero archetypal character.  Main character(s) faces a dire situation (with dire results).  Hero then sets off on journey.

Second Act – Hero meets colorful cast (sidekicks), whom help to tackle each ongoing obstacle.  Combination of characterization, world building and evolution of main character.  Pivot moment hits the story; Hero awaits final confrontation.

Third Act – Hero faces final event (ultimate evil of a prelude unstoppable force).  Expositional and story elements ensue; Hero makes final discovery and triumphs.  A ‘coming to terms’ epilogue.

If you were to look at this film through this basic outline, it will come off as mundane, predictable and thinly layered.  As such, the film does have all these common tropes and foreshadowing elements that peak throughout the journey.  What makes this specific story stand out is the characters, world and visual nature of the journey.  Within this common aspect, you become enraptured by surreal detail while also finding hints of strong themes about family, love, memories and harmony.  All of these slowly evolve as they layer within the subtle aspects of the journey.  As you watch Kubo come across an ultimate enemy in the Moon King, he must find three artifacts in the world to stop him.  From here, Kubo comes across each task with delicate and sometimes folly apprehensions, but comes out stronger, wiser and a better person.  Along the way, you watch the journey build him up as well as his companions (Monkey and Beetle).  The natural aura begins the envelope; as the mimic of the imaginative visuals imbue the likeness of emotive and moral values.  There is a lot of allusions to the likes of strength, honor and sacrifice that it makes you feel the power of the character’s interaction, backstory, the ongoing exposition and obvious confrontation with each obstacle.  There is purity in a simplistic approach.  This allows the world, themes and overall character designs to become true.  This makes the film stand strong and grab the audience at their core.  Once certain plot points fall (as predict), we have the ultimate confrontation of Kubo and the Moon King.  Here, it is a mixture of dynamism, character exploitation and thematic detail.  There is a sensual persistence to make the standard bend to the imaginative eye; one that makes the harmonious conclusion heartfelt and endearing to the human soul.  Once you get to the end, it is something that will make you believe in the truest form of love and memories.

The visuals are some of the most breathtaking I have ever seen.  As mentioned earlier, this film is built upon the art of Stop-Motion.  This is where you create miniature designs of the character, world and action to create progression that is oriented with the journey.  Everything from the luscious vast landscapes, the darkness of the shrouding evil and the epic choreographed fights; you feel a naturalistic sensation to the imagined world.  There is something insane that comes with creating everything through Stop-Motion, but bringing power to each little detail provides deeper worth to each of the scenes that happen in the film.  The score is mesmerizing in its own worth.  With an original score that combines modernization with the cultures of the Far East, you are enraptured with that ‘exotic’ and ‘distance’ allure of the music.  It is a feeling of a refreshing thought; which allows you that true experience of something for the first time.

Kubo and the Two String might be a common folklore tale (on the surface): but the experience of the journey delves deeper into ideas that make it original in its own right.  From the themes, voice acting to the outstanding visuals; there’s something meaningful to be found in this film.  If you’re a fan of animated and original tales, this is one for you.  This is worth the Full Price at the theater with you and your friends.

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