Review: ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’

Mace Mackiewicz , Verge Reporter

The first time I saw a trailer for “Kubo and the Two Strings” I knew I wanted to see it.

I am a sucker for stop motion animation, and the movie looked gorgeous and had its own style.

It also looked like it was trying something different than the typical Tim Burton gothic style stop motion film.

Kubo is an interesting film. It does stuff a lot of kid movies would not do. It deals with a kid who had his eye taken as a baby.

He also had a mother who obtained a head injury and it affects how she acts and when she can remember things. The movie is not depressing though.

It is a very upbeat colorful film, and one of the best stop motion animations I have seen.

The film looked gorgeous and used both practical stop motion figurines and what seems to be some green screened backgrounds that might used CGI seamlessly and the effect is like looking at a 3D moving story book.

The main character has the ability to control paper with a shamisen, which is a 3 stringed instrument somewhat similar to a guitar.

The implementation of storytelling using this instrument and origami animals and people is downright delightful. The acting in the film is pretty great as well with Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey and Art Parkinson carrying the majority of the movie with great dialogue and storytelling throughout it.

Rooney Mara does a great job at playing a couple of the antagonists in the film. The film also has some really exciting and fun fight scenes that are reminiscent of watching anime.

The fact that they pulled the scenes off using stop motion instead of traditional animation or CGI is impressive and adds some tangible impact to he fights as they happen. The movie is not without problems though.

One problem I had with the film is it had a bit of a tone problem. Kubo is aimed to be a kid’s movie but a lot of it tackles topics that might go over kids heads.

I thought the movie might go full Pixar and treat kids better as more intelligent and not just looking at moving pictures on the screen. However, the film has a lot of tonal dissonance with some scenes in there that are purely aimed for kids. A lot of bad things happen to people in this movie that are played off in a scene or two later that doesn’t seem to impact the characters as much as it should.

The other problem I had with the film is the ending. I won’t spoil it but the movie had been leading up to a fight scene that just sort of ends. This is a really good movie that is held back from being an all-time classic because of the rushed ending that soured it a bit.

I personally would give the film about a 7.5. It is much more original and beautiful looking then recent stop motion films and is a joy to look at. But the tonal dissonance and a rushed feeling ending holds it back from getting a higher score.

Mace Mackiewicz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]