Kubo and The Two Strings is awesome.
A bit of a precursor, I love old samurai movies. I love spending a Saturday with a whiskey and the Shaw Brothers. Kubo is a samurai movie for kids and adults with animation that makes your eyes satisfied and a story to make your heart full.
The very opening of the film evokes the samurai stories of old with the line you've heard in all the previews: "If you must blink, do it now" and takes off from there.
Travis Knight makes his directorial debut on this film and it is flat out impressive. Knight is the CEO of Laika, the animation company behind Kubo, and it's clear no expense was spared here. One of the stop motion characters in the film is the largest stop motion character ever created. The film itself is just epic in scope. Rolling seas, vast landscapes all the way down to the intimate moments that make this movie so special are done with so much care.
I got to see this flick with my son and m'lady opening night at Celebration! Cinema (best place to see a movie ever) and they both had the same complaint: Pace. The movie does move like a traditional samurai film. The pacing is very deliberate and the action is almost secondary to the emotional aspects of the story.
The highlight for everyone? Kubo's storytelling. Not only was the animation extra incredible as Kubo used his magic to create living origami, Game of Thrones' Art Parkinson voicing the character is mesmerizing. He brings an innocent aspect to the character who never loses his wonder while on an incredible quest.
The big names in the voice cast are Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey as Monkey and Beetle respectively. The two stars shine with great delivery on the films most memorable lines. The surprise star for me was Rooney Mara.
Mara voices Kubo's aunts who are hunting him down on behalf of his Grandfather. She adds a sincerely creepy aspect to the film and is essentially a perfect villain to the wonder filled Kubo.
Oh also, George Takei. Oh my.
Had to do it.
The story is the real star of Kubo. Marc Haimes and Chris Butler wrote the screenplay based off a story by Haimes and Shannon Tindle. Every great samurai movie is a great story and Kubo does not disappoint.
FINAL RATING: 9/10 Swords Unbreakable
Kubo is a feast for the eyes and the heart. While the pace was a little slow for some, this reviewer found very little to dislike about Laika and Focus Features' modern samurai tale.