Kubo and the Two Strings Review (Masterpiece)

kubo-and-the-two-strings-posterYesterday I got the chance to see the new film from Laika Animation Studios called Kubo and the Two Strings. Here is my youtube review that I made after seeing it:

2016 has been a very strong year for animation in my opinion. Zootopia, Finding Dory, Little Prince, Only Yesterday, April and the Extraordinary World, Kung fu Panda 3 are all special releases. No we get Kubo and the Two Strings and it may be the best yet. What an amazing animated stop motion adventure. It took my breath away but I was also engaged in the story and loved the lead character, Kubo.

The film tells the story of Kubo who is a little boy with magical powers. He can make origami paper come alive and tell stories. He even at one point is able to build an entire boat with his paper. Each day he tells stories to the villagers but he only has one problem- he can never think of good endings to the story.

kuob4His Mother is a sickly woman who he has to care for. He has to cook for her and even feed her she is so weak. However, his Mother warns him to not be out after dark or he will be in great danger. Unfortunately one night he ends up outside and spirits begin calling for him “Kubo, Kubo, they call”. As he follows them he ends up on adventure to get the armor of his father that will protect him and his Mother.

kuboAlong the way he meets a monkey and a beetle who help him on his journey. One thing I liked is I was never sure where they were headed or what the next step was going to be. This is not like Lord of the Rings where the clear goal is Mordor and the destruction of the ring. Without a clear roadmap the film was very unpredictable and surprising.

The dialogue is also very well done. Monkey and Beetle are funny together and have a lot of sarcastic jabs at each other without being too modern or hip. In fact, Kubo is probably too old-fashioned for its own good. It would probably be easier to market if it had the wise cracking modern sidekick like Mushu in Mulan.

kubo6Nevertheless, I loved the characters, especially Kubo. Much like Judy Hopps in Zootopia this year, there was an earnestness and sincerity to Kubo that won me over immediately. He is blind in one eye but that eye is expressive and his smile made me very happy. I wanted him to be happy. I was rooting for him to succeed, which is probably the greatest compliment I can give to a character. He was brave and strong but felt real and vulnerable at the same time.

kubo-and-the-two-strings-official-trailer-3-2-820x795Do I even need to say the visuals are stunning? Yes, the visuals are stunning! There were so many moments when you can’t believe it is stop motion. The character movements are so fluid and the fast paced movements and lush landscapes are like something I haven’t seen before. It is without a doubt the greatest looking stop motion animated film I’ve ever seen.

kubo8It also has a great emotional reach. There are moments that will make you smile, laugh, cry and get a little scared. I don’t think it is too scary for most kids but maybe if they aren’t able to handle darker Disney villains like Maleficent than it isn’t for them. My theater was full of kids and they were totally engaged (unlike so many animated films I’ve seen in last few years because with the good comes the bad too…).

KUBO_monkey_laika_focus.0.0Mostly the film just has a huge heart that wins you over to the story, characters and world-building. I loved it and I fully intend on doing a detailed spoiler review once I get to see it more than once like I have done with Zootopia and Inside Out.

Unfortunately, it looks like this film is pegging to open at 12 million this weekend. That is so discouraging. It really is a masterpiece. I don’t want to live in a world where The Angry Birds Movie does better than Kubo and the Two Strings and yet there it is. What’s wrong with America?

Please let’s prove these prognosticators wrong!  Go see this film. Take your family. Take your friends. It’s great for all ages. It’s great for all interest levels. It’s a great movie. You don’t want to be the one who missed 2016’s masterpiece do you? See Kubo and the Two Strings. It’s that special.

I wouldn’t recommend the 3D as it didn’t do much to enhance the experience. Just see it in 2D and enjoy a truly special animated adventure.

Overall Grade- A+

Trailer Battle: Xmen Apocalypse, BFG, Kubo

Hey guys!  I just wanted to share with you my thoughts on 3 recent trailers.

Xmen Apocalypse- I thought this was a good trailer and I’m excited to see what Bryan Singer is going to do after Days of Future Past, which I loved.  I know some disagree with me but I’ve always loved the women in the Xmen world and that has drawn me to the series more than other superhero franchises.  So naturally I was really excited to see Jean Grey right off the back telling her dream to Charles Xavier.  I am intrigued by Apocalypse and the connection to the 4 horsemen. I loved seeing the new Storm who looked great! Mystique/Raven looks to continue her emotional run from Days of Future Past. We got a few shots of Magneto and Nightcrawler and then a closing shot of Professor X in his wheelchair.  So cool and it’s hard to argue with the cast- Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Jame McEvoy, Oscar Isaac, the list goes on and on.  Love it!  But the big question is where is Wolverine? 🙂

BFG- This is just a teaser trailer but I’m really optimistic about the direction they are going in.  It looks like old school Spielberg like an ET or Hook, something with a little magic that he hasn’t done in a long time.  I love the book but always felt it would be difficult to turn into a movie because of the rather grisly premise but I trust Spielberg and his team.  I really liked the look of the lead girl and the way they did the narration in the trailer was very effective.

Kubo and the Two Strings- This stop motion film from Laika was totally off my radar but I loved this trailer!  It looks so different than anything Laika has done before- without the gothic, spooky feel of their other films.  I particularly loved the water and the look of the characters.  It is a Japanese adventure of a boy trying to find some magical armor that will save his family.  I really thought this trailer worked and introduced me to the movie which is the point of a trailer after all.  I also thought the music and adventure of the movie looks very promising.

What did you guys think of these trailers? Are you excited for any of these films?