It’s a really excellent stop-motion fantasy set in Japan, equally influenced by Tolkien and manga, with a dash of Star Wars. Voiced by Charlize Theron, Matt McConaughey, and Ralph Fiennes. Oh, and Rickon Stark.
I really hope it’s not lost amidst Dory and that pet movie.
We saw this on Friday and loved it. Great family fantasy adventure up there with How To Train Your Dragon. My friend put it as “seeing a movie about a D&D campaign centered around a bard”.
I kind of wish, based on the setting, that Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and George Takei and other Asian-American actors weren’t relegated to bit parts, but Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey and the kid from Game Of Thrones that played Rickon did very well.
The scope of the stop-motion animation was incredible, compared to the house-and-garden-sized dioramas of Coraline. This had giant monsters and seascapes, just incredible scales. The movie was funny when it needed to be and sad when it had to be and awe-inspiring right away. No need for Kubo to waste time resisting the call to adventure, he was pretty heroic right off the bat.
The film is entirely from Kubo’s point of view, gaining complexity as it went. It seemed to portray his maturation as evolution, the forging and shaping of steel with the crucible and anvil of life, instead of depicting aging as becoming a dulled version of one’s former self.
I adored the film, and would recommend it for everyone. I saw it with my parents and my son. Not one of us had dry eyes by the time the movie ended, and yet none of us felt the emotions were obtained cheaply. This movie needs to be seen by more people, but honestly it needs to be seen the most by those open to the experience.
I read how some critics felt the story was lacking, and I understand why they said that; they were using their own mature, developed perspectives capable of interpreting nuance and subtext just like they should be able to. However - from my own experience - I’d say that to appreciate Kubo and the Two Strings the most, you need to be able to step back in time to a younger age when your vision of the world was continually confounded and that gave you a sense of wonder instead of a sense of consternation.
The movie isn’t perfect, but rather I found it was just right for me and my family. For those on the fence deciding whether they’ll give a try, please do.
My family (wife, 14 yr old son) went & saw this last night. It’s a great, visual feast with a story which we all agreed had a somewhat abrupt and confusing ending. But to a person, we all wanted to watch it again when it comes out on DVD to better understand it.
We were confused about the ending with the grandfather and how he abruptly forgot all his memory? Was the townspeople being truthful or were they making things up? (they seemed so genuine).
The ingenuity of the paper origami’s and the story telling utilizing them was a breath of fresh air. The only strange thing was that the townspeople accepted the storytelling magic.
Took the kids today. I definitely enjoyed it, and the kids really liked it. I will say, though, that the visual style of it is the best part. The story is a pretty standard hero’s journey, and most problems are solved by beating them up, with the exception of the banal “love conquers all” ending. And it follows the Disney rule to a T (No main child character may have two simultaneously living parents – and if they do, one or both must die.).
Still, all in all, a top-tier kid’s flick.
Saw it with the family today. The visuals, as others have noted, are the main draw, the story is pretty standard fare, the parents are Disneyed, the journey is predictable. It’s actually a bit more spiritual than I would’ve preferred, but others might enjoy the storied platitudes.
Saw it tonight. Starts slow, but when the beetle arrives… loved the heck out of most of the rest of it. The animation style is superb and takes a wee bit to get settled, but turns out to be quite amazing. Beautiful tones, facial expressions and a feeling of solidity. I hadn’t watched any trailers or really paid attention to much of the movie outside of the “making of” video that surfaced on FB several weeks ago, so I had no idea who any of the voice actors were until the end and I was kinda stunned (and I had only identified a very obvious one near the beginning).
I think it’s more that Laika movies sit in a niche that makes them a bit harder to market. Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls were all tough sells to audiences, partly because they’re stop-motion, and partly because they have a darker aesthetic than the normal American kiddie fare.
Additionally, Phil and Travis Knight, father and son, owner and CEO, respectively, are adamant that Laika remain an independent venture. They partnered with Focus Features specifically because of the company’s hands-off approach. The flip side of that is that there’s less money for marketing.