“Kubo and the Two Strings” Worth a Watch


Alex Hahn, Writer

Occasionally a kid’s film places emphasis not on humor, or marketing, but on storytelling, character, and theme. The result is a film that is deeply rewarding, something that would be bought on VHS and watched until the tape wore out. “Kubo and the Two Strings” is one of those films.

Brimming with heart and soul this film follows Kubo, a young storyteller, as he lives out the journey of an epic hero. Joining him are Monkey, a talisman brought to life by powerful magic, and Beatle, a cursed Samurai suffering from amnesia. The party then ventures through the Farlands in search of a way to protect Kubo from his aunts, who wish to steal the boy’s remaining eye. Yet, since the adventure of Kubo is best seen “going in blind”, discussion of plot must end there.

Fortunately, Kubo holds plenty to gush over, especially the animation. The stop motion in this film is immaculate with a strong and consistent style turning out beautiful visuals, made all the more breathtaking by the knowledge that every frame was hand composed by painters and sculptors. Those who bemoan this era of CGI jelly will be drooling by the end.

However, all this effort will be wasted if it were lavished on a poor story and lackluster script. Yet, with Kubo that is hardly a problem. Filled with warm well crafted characters, and lines that are both tried and new, the writers wove a tale that retreads time worn themes and stories. However, the result is not a tired and generic work of fiction. Kubo manages to pull itself up to the level of the dusty old classics too often forgotten in this age of slick style and cynicism.

“Kubo and the Two Strings” knows what it is, a legend fit to be told by the small town storyteller that shares its name. With a film so filled with spirit and beauty, one can only expect good things after the lights dim.

“Kubo and the Two Strings” is rated PG and premiered on August 19.