(This won’t be a highly detailed review, because this movie is in theaters right now and I want other people to go and see it. If I get even one person to watch this film, then my job here is done)
I saw this movie on Saturday afternoon and I just loved it to death. In a little more than an hour and a half, this film was able to have so many layers to it that a lot of anime wished they had in twelve episodes. I’m not just talking about newer anime but older anime as well. The title itself is more complex than you think it is. I would say why, but that is a massive spoiler. Yeah, I just couldn’t love this film more than I do. It’s not only because it’s not a reboot or based on something (I did like a few more movies that I mentioned which came out this year and am excited for a few more, so yeah…), but the strength of its characters and story. Kubo is such a refreshing experience.
Without getting into spoilers, Kubo’s characters are great. I’m not just talking about Kubo. The side characters are layered enough to feel like real people. Everybody and everything has a purpose. Even the villains of this story have a reason to do what they do. It just works and connects so well. At the end of the story, Kubo is still a young kid that has years of growing to get into. If a sequel happened I would be happy, but as a stand along piece I can’t really ask for more when it comes to these characters. The story itself was a standard fetch quest adventure films, but there were a lot of layers behind a basic premise.
Let’s talk about animation next, because this is a stop motion. That means that they move a character a little bit, take a photo with a camera, move it more, take another photo, repeat those steps into infinity, then play those frames together in a quick succession to get animation. It’s ever bit a style of animation as the usual hand drawn stuff and honestly, it’s an art that needs to stay around. Studio Laika created so many models, big and small, to make this movie and I am so glad that they are keeping this art alive. The movements are so fluid in the walking and action scenes that you would think it’s cg animation, but it’s not. Even the backgrounds and set pieces are so fluid. So many movements of individual blades of grass, individual movements of leaves, individual movements of waves, and so on and so forth. It’s just so beautiful and interesting that it’s worth watching just for the stop motion insanity.
If there are any flaws in Kubo and the Two Strings, it’s time. The movie is an hour and forty minutes, yet is filled with an adventure, character motivations, cool scenery, action scenes, and so on, that it almost feels too busy at some points. I mean, there are a number of important characters that don’t have names attached to them. Maybe it’s easy to use the whole “a person is defined by more then their name” kind of thing, but it would be nice to give them a name so they can be talked about easier in public. No matter who says it, a title is not a name.
So yeah, that’s about it this Kubo review. Go out and watch it in the theaters. It’s an excellent movie in a lot of ways that deserves attention. Don’t illegally download it, support the official release. Let production companies know that you want more of this kind of thing in the future.