Friday, July 28, 2017

Movie Review: Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) directed by Travis Knight

Kubo lives with his mother in a quiet sea-side village. He goes to town each day to tell tales, always returning before sunset to take care of his mother. She is in a semi-catatonic state with occasional flashes of coherence. Clearly she loves Kubo and has a great trauma in her past that made her this way. Things go as normal until the one day Kubo stays in the village to see the lantern festival, which happens after sundown and triggers the return of powerful figures from the past. Kubo is soon on a quest to find a magical suit of armor that will help him save the village.

The movie is as much about storytelling as it is about the adventure plot. Kubo has a shamisen (a three-stringed guitar-type instrument) that creates origami based on the tale being told. The stop motion animation follows this origami style, giving the story a fresh visual appeal and a lot of creativity. The fantastic journey reveals more about Kubo and his world and his family, grappling with ideas of love and immortality in an accessible and natural way. The movie is both a fun adventure and a reflection on the meaning of life.

Highly recommended.

The movie is discussed in A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast #148.

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