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Running Time:
1 hr. 41 min.

Rating: PG Parental Guidance Suggested.

Rating Explanation:
for thematic elements, scary images, action and peril

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
Featuring incredible animation with an absorbing -- and bravely melancholy story that has something to offer audiences of all ages.

Additional Info:
Featuring the voices of:
Charlize Theron ... Monkey
Art Parkinson ... Kubo
Ralph Fiennes ... Moon King
George Takei ... Hosato
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa ... Hashi
Brenda Vaccaro ... Kameyo
Rooney Mara ... The Sisters
Matthew McConaughey ... Beetle
Meyrick Murphy ... Mari
Minae Noji ... Minae
Alpha Takahashi ... Aiko (
Laura Miro ... Miho
Ken Takemoto ... Ken

Kubo and the Two Strings
Set in a fantastical ancient Japan Kubo follows the titular young boy (voiced by Art Parkinson) on a quest to procure the enchanted armor that is his only protection against the evil Moon King (Ralph Fiennes). It’s a story as old as the hills, loosely based on Japanese folklore, and rather than trick it out with newfangled plot twists delving headfirst into the realms of myth.
“If you must blink, do it now,” a young Kubo instructs at the movie’s start, and it’s good advice. Every frame of animation is realized with utmost care, seamlessly blending stop-motion and digital. Computer animation has made enormous strides, but there’s no substitute for the thrill of practical stunts, so Kubo reminds us of the unique magic of tactile animation.

Unfortunately, the movie’s characters are never as detailed as the world they inhabit. There’s a compelling creepiness to the movie’s early scenes, where Kubo is raised by a widowed, half-mad mother whose scarred faced resembles a mismatched jigsaw puzzle. With their long, straight black hair, the Moon King’s masked twin daughters, both voiced by Rooney Mara.

But once Kubo embarks on his journey proper, he’s joined by a short-tempered monkey (Charlize Theron) and a giant samurai beetle (Matthew McConaughey), both thinly conceived characters who do little more than distract from the story’s dark underpinnings. The issue of Hollywood whitewashing grows more complicated in the realm of animation.

Kubo and the Two Strings, directed by is dinged by lackluster characterizations and bogged down by incessant references to the storytelling process, which, as is often the case, proves far less of a profound or resonant metaphor than people who tell stories for a living think it is. But the impetus to tune out the movie’s words only makes it easier to feast your eyes on its breathtaking images, which feels like a tall glass of cool water.

This is not a flawless movie, but there’s real magic in it, and that’s more important, and no less rare, than perfection.

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