From animation studio LAIKA, makers of the Academy Award-nominated “Coraline,” comes an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan. Clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of “Game of Thrones”) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Akihiro (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and Kameyo (Academy Award nominee Brenda Vaccaro). But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen – a magical musical instrument – Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara), to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family, and fulfill his heroic destiny.
What We Thought:
I quite enjoyed Kubo and the Two Strings. That being said, I have no idea what it will do at the box office because I have no idea what the target audience is for it.
It’s a stop-motion animated film so you automatically think kids movie. But it really isn’t. It’s too dark for really young kids. Some of the older kids (10-12) I talked to didn’t understand the movie and somehow didn’t understand the surprise twist. That I don’t get because once the twist, which I won’t spoil, happens, they explain it enough to understand.
It’s also an Asian inspired story so will it hit with the average American audience? Probably not. I love Asian cinema and watch at least one Asian film a week. Because of that, I really dug this and thought it was cool they made a “kids” movie using Asian stories of dragons and warriors and mysticism. Most of the lead voices are American actors. Ok Charlize Theron is South African, but she’s white. But the story takes place in Japan with Japanese culture.
Even though I don’t know who will go see it, I’m telling people to see it. It’s an absolutely beautiful film to look at. The paper story telling scene is amazing and the dragon fight is breathtaking. I love the look of LAIKA’s films and their details are exceptional. I thought ParaNorman was a brilliant film and gorgeous to look at and the detail work in The Boxtrolls is second to none.
I really hope Kubo and the Two Strings finds some sort of audience in the US. The film deserves it. It’s fun. It’s beautiful. It has a great story and opens people up to Asian culture and storytelling. I liked it more than Finding Dory and it won’t come close to any type of box office numbers of that film unfortunately. If you like LAIKA’s previous films then this is…
Cast & Crew:
- Charlize Theron
- Matthew McConaughey
- Rooney Mara
- George Takei
Recommended If You Like:
- The Boxtrolls