Laika finds another artistic success in its latest stop-motion film.
Kubo and the Two Strings is the story of a special young boy – of course, named Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson) who has one eye and spends his days caring for his ailing mother. He’s a talented storyteller, using a musical instrument to make paper figures to help illustrate his yarns. He’s never allowed to be out at night, because his wicked aunts (both voiced by Rooney Mara) are hoping to catch Kubo for themselves.
Unfortunately, Kubo ends up missing the mark as he tries to get home from a night out in his Japanese village. He’s forced to leave his mother behind as she fights off the sisters, and heads out to find the armour that once belonged to his legendary father. Along the way, we are introduced to characters like Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) who hope to see Kubo succeed in his quest.
It’s been a while since I’ve been excited about a movie. Kubo is a wondrous work of art; a masterpiece in motion. There was never a moment where I was bored, tired, or irritated with this movie. The visuals are top notch; it’s a stop-action movie, and the efforts by the team really shine through. I generally have mixed emotions when it comes to this kind of animation style, because there are times where it looks hokey. Both The Little Prince (which came out earlier this year – I gave it five stars) and Anomalisa (another movie I enjoyed) are some of the few times I’ve truly enjoyed stop motion.
Kubo tops that.
When the story, the visuals, the pacing and the characters thread together so seamlessly, there is no need to look at each item separately. Everything works. The casting is spot on – Rooney Mara is fantastic as the witch sisters; Charlize Theron has a lot of spark as Monkey. I rarely enjoy McConaughey, but even he was fun in this film. Art Parkinson was also a good casting choice for Kubo – he sounds exactly like a youngster discovering things for the first time.
This is absolutely worth seeing – in theatres and in 3D. If you have a pulse, you need to watch this. I’ve never been so certain of anything in my entire life. Do not miss this.
Forget two strings – it’s five strings out of five from me.