‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ — starring Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey
9 out of 10
By Hayden Welty ’19
“If you look away, even for an instant, then our hero will surely perish.”
That is how I felt as I watched “Kubo and the Two Strings,” the latest in a string of movies made by the Oregon-based stop-motion animation studio Laika.
“Kubo and the Two Strings” follows Kubo, a young boy, who attempts to locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful figure from his past.
I’d be remiss if I did not mention this movie’s stunning visuals: It was shot using stop-motion animation and it is clear that Laika did a painstakingly good job. The film transported me into a dreamy depiction of folkloric Japan, and within minutes, I was fully immersed in the beautiful scenery.
At first, the unusual look of the impressive animation took me out of the film and seemed to be unreal. But great voice work from the actors quickly drew me back into this new world and I was mesmerized.
Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei and Matthew McConaughey voiced their characters with such sincerity and realism that I quickly became oblivious to the peculiar nature of the film’s visuals and began to admire its beauty.
It disappoints me, however, that many people were put off by the particular look of the animation. If the movie looked like other “regular” animated films, maybe more people would have gone to see it; In fact, if a friend did not recommend it, I would not have seen it myself.
For a movie with a PG rating, it seemed to be unusually mature: Some of the characters in the movie, particularly the two evil witches, were incredibly scary, even for me, an avid viewer of horror films.
The whole film contained complex moral stories and heavy thematic elements that seemed out of place in a kids’ movie. But the more mature components of the movie present a healthy mix that allows the film to appeal to all audiences, young and old.
Even though the movie dives into adult themes and has intense fast-paced action, it managed to continuously maintain an earnest straightforwardness that grounded the film.
So far, everyone seems to love it.
CinemaScore, an organization that polls moviegoers, gave “Kubo and the Two Strings” an A.
Rotten Tomatoes, a site that compiles the opinion of critics, said “Kubo and the Two Strings” earned a whopping 96 percent, which is tied for the fifth best score of the year so far.
And while I am sure there are problems with this film, I, honestly, did not notice any. Both audiences and critics agree Kubo is a classic adventure that offers the viewer stunning visuals, an intriguing story, and face-paced action that I am sure you will love.