Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)


Critic Consensus: Kubo and the Two Strings matches its incredible animation with an absorbing -- and bravely melancholy -- story that has something to offer audiences of all ages.


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Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of "Game of Thrones") ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Akihiro (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and Kameyo (Academy Award nominee Brenda Vaccaro). But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen - a magical musical instrument - Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara), to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family, and fulfill his heroic destiny.

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Critic Reviews for Kubo and the Two Strings

All Critics (208) | Top Critics (39)

It's triumphant as well as terribly sad.

Aug 25, 2016 | Full Review…

More often than not it's a charming, Eastern-influenced myth that's beautiful to watch and enjoyable to follow.

Aug 25, 2016 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Kubo offers visceral thrills and visual splendor, but it also champions the importance of kindness, forgiveness, and embracing humanity's many imperfections.

Aug 22, 2016 | Full Review…

Filmgoers who've suffered through a summer of superheroes, supervillains and sequels/snarky reboots, we now have something that genuinely casts a spell on viewers.

Aug 19, 2016 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

The overall stunning nature of the work cannot be ignored.

Aug 19, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

"Kubo" is bold and daring, telling a truly unique tale set in ancient Japan that is rich with the depth of a story passed down for generations.

Aug 19, 2016 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Kubo and the Two Strings


Forged by envisioning animations, magical charm and a compelling story, Kubo and the Two Strings is a surprisingly majestic film that holds up against any other animated tale and their conventional ways of filmmaking and storytelling. 4.5/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer


Travis Knight assembles Kubo and the Two Strings. A 90 minute animated adventure paces itself slow and steady, perhaps a little too slow at times, but manages an interesting plot to keep the characters moving. A few twist and turns show around the bend and Kubo and the Two Strings has entertainment value for all ages. The visual splendor of the characters and settings are the film's highest accolade, making it easy for continuous watching, even through the slowest of times. Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, and Matthew McConaughey voice the bulk of the journey and Rooney Mara is a pleasant surprise to fill in the gaps. Kubo and the Two Strings leaves an all around pleasant taste on the screen. Find the armor and unleash the magic.

JY Skacto
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

With annoying characters, a stupid protagonist and a messy plot that is more confusing than enlightening like it wants to be, this stunning stop-motion animation is predictable, unfunny and full of cheesy clichés that will please those who don't mind a story without much imagination.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

At this point the Laiki studio (ParaNorman, The Box Trolls) has earned as much good will and credibility as Pixar in their pre-Cars 2 prime. I almost was going to write off their latest, Kubo and the Two Strings. For the first forty minutes or so I was somewhat indifferent to it. Sure the stop-motion animation was stunningly realized and the creation of the environments was very meticulous, but I just couldn't connect with the movie's story of a young boy, Kubo, and his quest to claim magic items to thwart the advances of his dangerous and estranged mystical family. Then the first big set piece happened and then the next, and then the plot made some deft reveals and provided a strong emotional foundation, and I was hooked. This is Laika's first real action film and the wide shots and long takes do plenty to serve the action and allow you to further marvel at the painstaking brilliance of these hard-working animators. It's a full-fledged fantasy epic that tickles the imagination and provides a poignant undercurrent of emotion especially during the final act. As Kubo declares his real strength are his memories of loved ones past, I was starting to get teary. It's a lovely message to top off an exciting and involving action movie with creepy villains and side characters that do more than throwaway one-liners. Art Parkinson (Game of Thrones) gives a very expressive and emotive performance as our lead. Charlize Theron is outstanding as Kubo's maternal protector who just happens to be a monkey. Rooney Mara is also genuinely eerie as an ethereal pair of flying sisters trying to snatch Kubo. Matthew McConaughey isn't the best vocal actor due to the limited range of his vocal register but he's still enjoyably daft. The Japanese setting and culture are recreated with loving touches that celebrate rather than appropriate. I still regard the arch silliness of The Box Trolls as my favorite film but Kubo is more than a worthy follow-up. The slow start is worth it by film's end, so stick with it if you start to doubt yourself, because the emotional wallop of Kubo and the Two Strings, not to mention its creative high points, is well worth the invested effort. Nate's Grade: A-

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

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