Review: ‘Kubo And The Two Strings’ Is Fantastic

Title: Kubo and the Two Strings
Director: Travis Knight
Summary: A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.

There are some studios where you can walk into the movie and feel fairly safe that you’re going to leave at least entertained. Pixar is one that comes to mind with even their bad movies considered good. Pixar is a studio that flourished because it presented animated movies from a point of view that the genre hadn’t been focusing on. Marvel hasn’t put out a bad movie yet because of a deep understanding of not only the source material but what has made it so enduring. Laika have made three movies, Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls, and all three have been fantastic. I had a feeling Kubo and the Two Strings was at least going to be good.

Kubo and the Two Strings is a brilliant movie that will end up toward the top of many ‘best of’ lists at the end of the year.

Kubo 1

I’m a huge fan of world building. There is nothing better to me than getting lost in a meticulously crafted world but there is a downside to that sort of storytelling; the world can get lost to the story. This story is so well crafted that it overshadows the worldbuilding. That’s one of the reasons why a very simple story like the one in Kubo and the Two Strings exist. It’s one of the oldest stories in the book; a kid needs to go on a quest to find three items that will help him defeat the bad guy. This is the Zelda movie that Nintendo fans have been clamoring for since the mid 90’s.

The basic story means that everyone involved can focus on memorable locations and characters. Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beatle (Matthew McConaughey) might not be the most unique characters to adventure fiction, and the twist about them most of the adults can see coming a mile away, but I was so lost in these characters that it didn’t bother me at all. Theron and McConaughey, along with Game of Thrones alumni Art Parkinson, with support by Rooney Mara and Ralph Fiennes as our villains, round out a truly fantastic voice cast. Mara and Takei make these two obviously animated characters very creepy and genuinely scary.

If I have any gripes they are minor compared to the production as a whole. As I said I believe the formulaic story is intentional but I can see some people finding it irritating. There was also the worry that a Western studio drawing from Eastern mythology wouldn’t work, but Laika does a great job of remaining respectful to the source material it draws from. The animation itself it worth looking at and it’s a movie where the 3D enhanced the experience since the movie isn’t hiding the fact that these are claymation figures.

Kubo and the Two Strings proves that Laika is a studio that we can rely on and I’m looking forward to whatever movie they decide to do next. This is not only one of the best movies of the summer but it will end up toward the top of my ‘top 10 of the year’. Do not miss out on this one.

Kaitlyn Booth
Kaitlyn Booth
Kaitlyn Booth is a writer, film critic, comic lover, and soccer fan based in Salt Lake City. She has covered such events as the Sundance Film Festival, San Diego Comic Con, and New York Comic Con and been a special guest and panelist at Salt Lake Comic Con and FanX. She has a deep fondness for female superheroes and independent film.