Stop-motion animation has the knacks of being generally enjoyable in acceptable platforms of entertainment. Since the release of “Coraline”, the genre reemerged under a particular quality to achieve with the production valued materials. The Oregonian animated studios Laika achieved that with unique storytelling that furthered the boundary. “Coraline” was the beginning before “ParaNorman” added additional charm and some emotions, but mediocrely downsized by “The Boxtrolls” with its only quality being the retained creativity.
With the genre’s recap history and studio’s brief, overall reception reviewed, Laika’s latest “Kubo and the Two Strings” went beyond creativity into now considerably a masterpiece that played with the animated roots’ keyword of storytelling and the targeted spectatorship with meaningful family love, whilst masked with exquisite Japanese culture. It’s greatly packed with both family and regular entertainment, treated culturally, by how talented it is through diegetic twists and turns of unpredictability, except for one unbothersome prediction.
Sets around ancient Japan, Kubo and his mother lives a quiet life to a nearby village, with stories to tell that entertains the villagers with gifted powers of directing origami through his magical musical instrument. That’s until the fantasy of those stories comes to life when the threatening past caught up to them, with Kubo sent away by his mother in protection. With the powers of his gift growing in strength and attracting the said threat, he goes on an adventure for his father’s armor that would protect him, with the help of Monkey, summoned by his mother, and Beetle, who claimed Kubo’s fallen father as his master. Along the way, Kubo discovers not just his family and gift, but his story overall.
Laika continues their young legacy with the basics of a young protagonist going on a self-reflective journey with a moral value(s), unique characterization and a heartening charm to make up a creative, original storytelling. They boosts up their values that bolsters their considered masterpiece, as well scoring a nice cast to contribute their voices energetically (depends on the character) into the soul generally.
The cast of “Kubo” – consisting Art Parkinson as the titular hero, Charlize Theron as Monkey, Matthew McConaughey as Beetle, Ralph Fiennes, and Rooney Mara – mostly performed with experienced energy and their own charisma transformed in animated voices. The standouts are the film’s main adventurers with representation of the enjoying aspects such as the aforementioned storytelling, amp up the fantasy action into pure entertainment, and the humor and lightheartedness when witnessing the bonding dynamics in-between.
With how engaging the story is to share the emotions and being awed by how it was incredibly made and shot, you would think it’s a worthy shot to be given an “A” rating at that level. Unfortunately, there’s one pivotal shock that inadvertently faltered the level while it’s an understanding development that strengthens the protagonist’s independent bravery in the climax. A necessary push, but it goes to show how you’d get attach to the protagonists from watching their aforementioned dynamic, especially when it gets better after the narrative twist(s) (and that’s great when it’s that engrossing)..
You can thank Travis Knight for directing such great picture that was his directorial debut. He’s been the studio’s lead animator, as well positioned as CEO, gaining experiences around the production field with credits as producer since “ParaNorman”. It’s a probability that his direction is the film’s source of amped masterful creativity, with a bonus production value into the cultural aspect from known Oregonian attractions such as the Japanese Garden.
“Kubo and the Two Strings” turned out to be a little more than what you’d expect. Packed greatly with meaningfulness and fun to the heart and moral values, next to the other value of pure entertainment from the well casted voicing energy and fantasy action; masked by the amazing resulted production performance of the bar-raising stop motion animation. Based on how this film turned out with much to offer as being the year’s best originality yet and one of this year’s most inviting family entertainment.