‘Kubo & The Two Strings’ is a stop-motion animation film set in ancient Japan – and it’s superb. Kubo (Parkinson) is a young, one-eyed boy who lives outside a small town and tells stories with origami characters that come to ‘life’ when he plays his guitar – this is amazing to watch and expertly done. When he finds out his Grandfather is the Moon King (Finnes) who wants to steal his remaining eye, he sets out on a quest to find the mystic armour.
He’s helped by Monkey (Theron), his guardian, & Beetle (McConaughey) a samurai man-sized rhinoceros-beetle – Beetle has the best lines and quips in the film and really adds to the adventure. PG is right – I’m not sure I’d let a child under 8 see this, due to some of the darker scenes and it does deal a fair bit with death and spirits (the ‘sisters’ [Mara] are particularly scary!). This studio, Laika, is on a roll (‘Coraline’, ‘ParaNorman’ and ‘The Boxtrolls’ – all good), and with ‘Kubo’, they’re starting to give Pixar a run for their money!
The plot is essentially predictable, but it’s the heart the actors and animators infuse the characters with that makes this film stand out. It looks stunning and there’s plenty of imaginative and original things that pop-up throughout. Highly recommended.