a critiQal film review Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Plot: Clever, kindhearted Kubo (Parkinson) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town. 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 (Theron) and Beetle (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.

442 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 12s)

When trying to decide what to watch for today’s review, I decided to check out NetFlix®. While there, I stumbled across a film I had been wanting to see but completely forgot about: Kubo and the Two Strings.

Without remembering much about the film, I went in not knowing what to expect. Would Kubo and the Two Strings be worth checking out? Or should I have just skipped this one and gone with Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) instead?

Kubo himself is a likeable character. While he’s a bit odd, his character, voiced by Art Parkinson, intrigues the viewer with a mysterious background and some entertaining storytelling. As the movie progresses, the viewer continues to build a relationship with the character, and he is the glue that holds the film together.

The rest of the cast is voiced well, with Charlize Theron doing a fantastic job voicing Kubo’s mother. Matthew McConaughey at first seems like an odd choice for voicing Beetle, with his southern drawl. Thankfully, as the movie progresses, that drawl becomes less noticeable, and the viewer will find themselves enjoying his character, rather than focusing on his voice.

Kubo and the Two Strings has a bit of an odd plot, which involves, among other things, a quest for a special samurai armor, sword and helmet; a grandfather looking to blind his grandson, and co-horts in the form of a beetle warrior and a monkey who used to be a charm. Despite it’s oddities, however, the film works very well as a whole. It’s surprising, but it’s odd story, which keeps the viewer guessing, doesn’t distract from the appeal. Instead, it helps make the film unique, and entertaining.

Kubo and the Two Strings keeps it’s uniqueness going with it’s interesting stop-motion animation look. While everything is created using puppets, the filmmakers did a solid job of creating a world that comes alive during the course of the film. Sure, it’s a unique look, but, just like in films like Corpse Bride (2005), the film makes it’s stop-motion animation flow smoothly, and creates a fantastical world that viewers with enjoy.

With a solid cast of voice actor, an odd but entertaining plot, and a fantastical world brought to life, Kubo and the Two Strings seems like it has everything going for it. Sadly, it doesn’t quite meet up to the sum of it’s parts, and it drags a bit on occasion. While it’s not quite as good as it at first seems, it’s still an entertaining film overall, and one that should be appreciated. If it’s not quite as entertaining as expected, it is still a solid piece of art playing itself off as a film.

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