This review was written by Anthony J Digioia. Follow him and his website here for more awesome reviews: SilverScreen Analysis
“KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS” is the latest feature from Laika Entertainment, and the directorial debut of gifted animator Travis Knight. The vocal talents of; Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Art Parkinson, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes and more bring life to the characters in this story.
One that follows a young boy named Kubo who lives a quiet life in a small village with his ailing mother. His normal life is changed forever when he is chased by evil spirits with a connection to his past, who will stop at nothing to track him down. To survive he must travel with a monkey and a beetle to find the suit of armor worn by his late father who was once a gifted samurai.
I was disappointed when I wasn’t able to catch this film in time for a 3D showing in the theater. Laika Entertainment, the studio that created animated films such as; “Coraline” and “The Boxtrolls” has shown a level of consistent quality, and I expected this one to be no different. After watching, I can say the studio crafts another excellent film, from both a story telling aspect, as well as creating a stunning visual adventure.
The stop-motion work displayed in this movie was amazing to say the least and the detail in the puppets was impeccable. Mixed with crisp animation, and the result was a beautifully immersive film that brings the characters and settings to life with grand fashion. The color palette was stark but not overly vivid and it fit the theme and settings perfectly and allowed the textures of the puppets to catch the eye.
The story was very entertaining and much more engaging than a typical animated film. This film will naturally appeal to children but the stories premise is not lighthearted and can easily appeal to an adult audience. A nice neat wrap-up, and routine comedy that lands effectively, help make this film appeal to a wide range of audiences. There was enough substance to the script to build intrigue and with likable characters you can get behind them and root for their success.
High levels of ambition and creativity shine in this project and it was not just in the visual department. Creating a compelling story that lures interest makes the most out of the amazing detail in what the eyes see, and together they create something more than a simple animated project.
The voice work was excellent, they all fit their roles and entertained with their portrayals. Young Art Parkinson was charismatic as the young Kubo and Charlize Theron was also great as the monkey, as she delivers both humor and wisdom in her role of looking after Kubo. McConaughey was also fantastic as the beetle and proves he is charming even when you are not looking at him. He created so much personality for the character, lands most all of his attempts at humor, and gives this film a strong warm-hearted balance from the more somber moments of the story-line.
Overall this was a highly entertaining adventure that felt fresh and unique. The final-act did attempt too much spectacle but regardless it was a great story that showed ambition and can easily capture your attention. The visuals in this film are something to behold and Laika Entertainment proves once again why they are the best when it comes to stop-motion capturing.