If you must blink, do it now. Pay close attention to everything you see, no matter how unusual it may seem. You will be whisked away to a world of magic, danger, and survival where our hero has to confront swords, sorcery, and big monsters. Kubo’s (Art Parkinson) simple existence comes crashing down when he accidentally summons a vengeful spirit from his family’s past. On the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) to find his father’s armor so he can defeat the Moon King.
“I have been excited to see this film since the trailer came out, and it exceeded my expectations. Kubo is phenomenal in every possible way. With the plethora of animated films that I’ve seen this year, Kubo and the Two Strings ranks as the best of all of them. Its wonderment of ancient Japanese folklore is brought to life by the stop-motion innovators at Laika Entertainment. The magic is eye-popping while still believably based in reality.” —Drew
“To compare it to the other animated features this year does it a disservice. This movie is so drastically different. The story takes the classic hero’s journey on a new path. The character interactions and growth are compelling and make you feel invested in their outcome. I found myself actually caring about what would happen to these strong and developed characters.” —Jeff
“The voice talent in the movie is also incredible. Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey bring the gravitas and personality you’d expect from those two Oscar-winning actors. Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, and Rooney Mara give a dynamic and heartfelt sound to the smaller roles.” —Drew
“This is the first time I have seen Matthew McConaughey not play Matthew McConaughey. While his voice is very distinct and noticeable, he brought softness to the character that erased McConaughey from my mind. This movie sets itself apart yet again by having a celebrity voice cast that doesn’t distract but instead adds to the characters.” —Jeff
“There’s plenty of fun to be had from all this, while not having a hint of cuteness anywhere. The puppets have enormous vitality, and there’s a wonderful strangeness in the world they inhabit. This film does go a little darker than what you get from other animated studios like Pixar and Dreamworks. But it does have a deeper lesson in how to deal with the loss of loved ones and how you keep their memories alive.” —Drew
“Kubo and the Two Strings is an exercise in how to do animation right. Everything was expertly crafted down to the smallest detail. The landscapes the heroes inhabit had depth and character themselves, which added so much to the story. Even though they are far, fantastical worlds, they still feel tangible, like you could one day find yourself stumbling into these places.” —Jeff
Kubo may be a bit dark for a younger audience with its PG rating, but it has no objectionable content. There is a good message at its core, and it tackles some tough subjects, all while maintaining a lighthearted element to the characters. This fresh, compelling story is a must-see for all audiences and is sure to be a favorite for many.
Stars: Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei
Score: 5 out of 5