One of the more recent films I’ve seen people rant and rave about was Kubo and the Two Strings, a movie I really hadn’t heard about until those praisings. Yet, even after these reviews, I was still skeptical on if I would personally love it…and the real answer to that is…it was okay. It definitely had some amazing elements, but there was parts I wasn’t the biggest fan of at the same time…so let’s get into it.
Kubo lives a quiet, normal life in a small shoreside village until a spirit from the past turns his life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta. This causes all sorts of havoc as gods and monsters chase Kubo who, in order to survive, must locate a magical suit of armor once worn by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior. (IMDb)
First things first. Kubo and the Two Strings highly excels in three departments – its animation, its characters, and its premise. It falls victim, however, to storytelling (in my opinion). Storytelling is split into two parts, an idea (or premise) and an expansion to that premise. The premise is solid gold. It’s unique, bold, and different enough to cause us to pay close attention throughout the film. However, the story (once told) is really just a scavenger hunt adventure tale about a boy trying to find armor to defeat a bad guy – which isn’t super impressive. However, as mentioned above, it does excel in some very important categories.
The animation should look familiar to you. It’s made by the same people who did Coraline, Frankenweenie, and Paranorman – it’s not only stop-motion, but it also contains a lot of really memorable visuals and an odd sense of creativity that you don’t see anywhere else. Also, the characters in this film (like the others mentioned above) are all really great, memorable characters that all have a unique place and purpose in the film. If nothing else, you can consider this film endlessly unique. My own personal problem with the film comes down to how entertaining it was.
For me, entertainment comes down to balance, and while I did like the animation, characters, and basic premise, I had a problem with the actual storytelling they decided upon. If I have a problem with the storytelling, something about the movie will (and does) seem off for me. So in effect, I found Kubo and the Two Strings to be slightly overrated and at times, boring even though I did like a lot more about it than I previously would have imagined. That being said, this film did what it sought to do, and it is incredibly unique with memorable characters. So in any case, check it out. See for yourself!