I usually divide my reviews into 3 or 4 sections : screen-play, direction, cinematography and acting. Today after seeing this movie I felt that I am doing it all wrong. I have been doing injustice to all the movies which I love because there is more to a movie than just those 4 sections. Kubo and the Two Strings actually made me realise that. I think it was from one of the Youtube channels that I watch, where he said that when a movie is done good then all those sections and sub-sections come together to make a beautiful body of work. If somebody has become accustomed to my form of reviewing then don’t worry, I’ll do the section thing for the not-so-great movies. It’s easier then.
The story is kept in a pretty linear format. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end. I have seen many animated movies, but I haven’t ever seen one with such a sad beginning. Usually animated movies are targeted at the younger audience and boy, is that beginning going to send them to a dark, dark place. Just after the first act, the movie begins to have a lighter tone and even though there aren’t too many jokes, it is fun and fluff in comparison to how it begins. I felt the movie was almost like a coming of age movie, for Kubo and also for the younger audience who have seen the movie. I am saying that because while you’re getting bedazzled by the amazing animation, the movie is also making you aware of the dangers of the dark, fighting giant bullies, resisting temptation and fighting jealousy.
The animation is beautiful. I actually do not have enough adjectives in my vocabulary to appreciate the animation. I may appear a bit biased about it because I am a fan of stop-motion animation. Usually stop-motion animation keep the scale to a small level, but here they went to some whole other level. They merged it with CGI and VFX and it was like a gorgeous painting. Oh! How I wish it would have come to the theatre. The expressions were so intricate and every bit of a scene was so detailed. Usually, the minor details feel like a task and may even go unnoticed but that’s the thing. If those details are missing you’ll start noticing it. The character design and costume design is also very amazing. The thing that I always want from an animated movie is a matrimony between the facial expressions and the voice acting. The animators and the sound-designers did that with immense precision.
Ok, I have only one gripe, so this is going to be a little paragraph. The villains in the movie didn’t seem so menacing. None of them posed so much of a threat to the characters involved. Just because the journey was so beautiful, that didn’t bring down the movie but it was noticeable. They took a lot of time giving expository dialogue and less time causing some actual damage. Hah! That’s it, back to the good stuff.
I am not much of a technical person but the editing was very good. They used a lot of editing techniques to give a crisp feel to the scenes. The voice-acting was great, especially Charlize Theron. Matthew McConaughey’s character was as cool as he is. They really put a lot of money in the voice-acting department. Art Parkinson aka Rickon(poor Rickon) as Kubo is pretty expressive with his vocal chords. Ralph Fiennes was the real show-stopper in that last act. All that said, a sitting(imagine I am standing) ovation to the animation department. Great job.
FINAL VERDICT – This section is going to stay because this is my rating system. Ok, if you’re thinking why is it called the Two Strings whereas there are three strings on his Shamisen. That’s because Kubo and the Two Strings signify Kubo and his mother and father. You’re welcome. Definitely go watch it. Watch it on a big screen. Put up a projector, get some sound system, get your friends and family together and enjoy it. Here’s to hoping they make a prequel to Hanzo and Kubo’s Mother. What do you think?