Kubo and the two strings tells the story of Kubo, a Japanese boy who has the extraordinary power of bringing origami to life by playing music and lives a secluded life in a cave with his mother. He has lived many years following her warnings to not be outside the cave at night, that if he did danger would fall upon them and the sacrifice that his father made to keep them safe would have been in vain. Yet one night, he doesn’t make it back in time. With the help from a charm in the shape of a monkey and a beetle man that they find on their way, Kubo sets of on a quest to find the three parts of a magical suit of armour that will protect and help him vanquish his grandfather, the Moon King, and his evil aunts, who are out hunting him. Kubo and the two strings is a beautiful story that the whole family can enjoy.
I am not usually one to go to the cinema to watch animation films but I have to say Kubo and the two strings is so far one of my favourite films of the year. I am really glad I gave it a chance. I was excited to see it even before I went to the cinema. I had seen the trailer, read the synopsis and had a look at the cast list before hand. The stop-motion animation was extremely visually pleasing. The use of Kubo’s (Art Parkinson) narration to set the scene for the story gave it a layer of sensitivity that carries throughout the film. Kubo doesn’t just set off on a quest to find the pieces of a magical armour. He sets off on an adventure that will bring him closer to the truth of his family history, he sets off on a journey of self-discovery. The score is also in harmony with the dark and mysterious tone of the narration and contributes to create the beautiful landscape in which the story develops. In my opinion, all the elements of the film seemed to bind together incredibly well to present a coherent end result.
You often read comments and reviews of spectators claiming that the film industry has run out of new and fresh ideas. In recent years, the industry has been prolific in churning out remakes, sequels, prequels and spin-offs – and some spectators have expressed their desire for creative and inspiring new stories. The animation film has been no exception. Monsters University, Cars 3, Minions… a prequel, yet another sequel and a spin-off. Kubo and the two strings is an exceptionally inventive and evocative film, a rare delight given the tendencies of the current film industry. The spectators have been given something different, a story never told, a film that all members of the family will enjoy.
Despite this fact, figures show that spectators are more inclined to flock to the big-screen in the millions to watch the same old, far simpler and less visually-pleasing films, such as the animation hit Minions in 2015. Spectators were given something new and fresh from one of the giants of the stop-motion industry, Laika, yet box office figures show that a film whose main characters, an army of yellow munchkins who can only say banana and papaya ad who had previously appeared in the two instalments of the Despicable Me franchise, was much more successful. Minions made 1,157 billion USD worldwide at the box office, while Kubo and the two strings only managed to make 67,6 million USD. Even critics agree. On IMDb, Kubo received a rating of 8,2/10, while Minions scored a 6,4. The gap is even wider when it comes to the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes: Kubo got 97% – Minions, 56%. It seems like give the public what they want and they will look the other way.
As I have already said, Kubo and the two strings is so far one of my favourite films of the year. That’s a 5 star rating from me. If you didn’t get the chance to go and see it at the cinema, you should definitely find another way of doing so.