1 hr. 41 min.
PG Parental Guidance Suggested.
for thematic elements, scary images, action and peril
Featuring the voices of:
Charlize Theron ...
Art Parkinson ...
Ralph Fiennes ...
George Takei ...
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa ...
Brenda Vaccaro ...
Rooney Mara ...
Matthew McConaughey ...
Meyrick Murphy ...
Minae Noji ...
Alpha Takahashi ...
Laura Miro ...
Ken Takemoto ...
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
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
Travis Knight 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.