Hawaii Mom Blog: Kubo and the Two Strings Review - Now in Theaters!




August 19, 2016

Kubo and the Two Strings Review - Now in Theaters!

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), Hashi (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.

Hawaii Dad Blog's Review:
“If you must blink, do it now” advises the young voice at the onset of the movie, Kubo and the Two Strings. This is good advice, as the movie is full of excitement and adventure, and so much intricate detail.

The thrilling and beautiful opening scene is of a woman holding a shamisen (a Japanese three-stringed guitar) while riding on a small boat in a violent storm. When a large, imposing wave rises in front of her, she strums the instrument and a blast of energy splits the wave allowing her to pass. Eventually, the rough seas overcome her and she is knocked overboard. She washes up on shore where it's revealed she had a companion – a one-eyed baby named Kubo.

The next time we see them, Kubo is now a young boy who lives in isolation with his mother, whom he tends to. She is practically catatonic during the day, but is more alive for a short time each night where she tells her son stories and warns him to never stay out after dark lest her sisters and father come for his remaining eye (as grandpa already took his left one, according to his mother). The mom's stories are so fantastical - are they really about Kubo and their family, or is she just crazy?

Kubo goes into the nearby city where he plays the shamisen and also tells stories for the townsfolk. As he strums, pieces of origami paper form into the characters from the story to act out the tales. Of course, Kubo stays out too late and is confronted by his creepy aunties. They attempt to apprehend him, but his mother intervenes, allowing Kubo to escape.

Kubo awakens to a talking monkey who tells him that the city has been burned and that his enemies are close. The monkey explains that she is Kubo's toy, brought to life by his mother's last bit of magic. They encounter a samurai beetle who claims to have once served Kubo's father, Hanzo. The group sets out to find Hanzo's magical armor which could be Kubo's only chance at defeating his grandfather, the Moon King. The quest leads to encounters with monsters and evil beings, and simultaneously unveils Kubo's family mysteries.

Kubo and the Two Strings had a good blend of humor, action and emotion. The interaction between the monkey and the beetle was especially funny. My five-year old son and I laughed a lot throughout the movie. The action was thrilling, but may be too much for younger viewers (my son was a little fearful of the evil aunties).  Some children may also require comforting in the sadder moments of the movie.

All the voice actors did a great job, but the real star of Kubo and the Two Strings is the stop-motion animated company, LAIKA.  LAIKA is responsible for Coraline and Paranorman, and with Kubo, they've now set the bar very, very high. The attention to detail, especially with elements of the Japanese culture, is impressive.  It is mind-blowing to think about the time and effort that went into making this beautiful movie, which my son and I really enjoyed.  

Kubo and the Two Strings is now in theaters.

Thank you to the sponsor for the screening tickets.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The posts published on Hawaii Mom Blog are personal experiences and opinions only. Press releases and other information from business are shared if believed they may be of interest to Hawaii Mom Blog readers. Press releases/information from businesses do not reflect personal opinions. Unless otherwise specified, products are provided by the sponsor free of charge, and no monetary compensation is received. Hawaii Mom Blog assumes no liability for any malfunction, injury, or other loss or damage, whether direct, consequential, or incidental, arising out of services, companies, or products that have been featured, reviewed, given away, advertised, or written about on Hawaii Mom Blog. Click here for the Terms of Use.