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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Critic Reviews for Kubo and the Two Strings
More often than not it's a charming, Eastern-influenced myth that's beautiful to watch and enjoyable to follow.
Kubo offers visceral thrills and visual splendor, but it also champions the importance of kindness, forgiveness, and embracing humanity's many imperfections.
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.
The overall stunning nature of the work cannot be ignored.
Audience Reviews for Kubo and the Two Strings
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.
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.
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-
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