Wow, this has really been a year of animated features making emotional statements through teaching within the storyline.
Kubo and The Two Strings is no different. First of all, let me address the intricacy of the fact this film is done completely with stop animation. I love that!!! And I love the fact that it was done by the same team that gave usBoxtrolls (which I also loved!!)
Kubo is a gifted one-eyed boy who has been left with the fate of taking care of his Mom, after his Dad is murdered. Kubo’s great joy is playing his magical guitar and entertaining the townspeople. While his Mom consistently request Kubo to not be out after dark, the one time he does…his journey in life is never the same.
Young Kubo’s (Art Parkinson) peaceful existence comes crashing down when he accidentally summons a vengeful spirit from the past. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) to unlock a secret legacy. Armed with a magical instrument, Kubo must battle the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and other gods and monsters to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known.
Being a Buddhist, I love how the Japanese culture of prayer is honored in this piece. It very earnestly demonstrates the results of a sincere prayer versus a prayer that is blatantly selfish and insincere. It is this lesson that resonates with Kubo the most and will literally bring tears to your eyes.
This flick even subtly attacks the subject of reincarnation, when Kubo discovers that the monkey and beetle protecting him have been his parents all along. One never really parts with the memory of a parent and we would all like to think that they watch over us and protect us every single day. It is this lesson for children watching that will become invaluable.
Produced by Laika Entertainment and distributed by Focus Features, Kubo and the Two Strings can be purchased on Blu-Ray and DVD, as well as streamed online via Amazon and other streaming sites.
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Host/Producer/FilmCritic-Expert, I am an member of such esteemed organizations as Critics Choice Association, African American Film Critics Association, Online Association of Female Film Critics and Alliance of Women Film Journalists. My op-eds or features have been seen in VARIETY, RogerEbert.com, Maltin on Movies, as well as being a frequent Guest Contributor to Fox 11-LA, NPR, Good Day LA, Turner Classic Movies, KCRW Press Play with Madeline Brand and Cherry Picks.
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