Kubo and the Two Strings is a masterclass in what is possible using stop motion animation, this should come as no surprise as the people who are behind this one hundred and two minute wonder are Laika, the same geniuses who beautifully animated The Boxtrolls and Coraline.
Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson) has been hunted down by his Grandfather (Ralph Fiennes) and his two Aunts (Rooney Mara) since birth. He is a street performer during the day entertaining the local village with a mixture of storytelling, music and origami (which beats the guy I’ve just seen in the street knocking out a rough version of The Beatles Yellow Submarine on some pots and pans). Kubo must be back home to the cave he lives in with his mother before nightfall or the evil forces will be able to locate him.
Obviously this happens, the narrative has to progress somehow, this then splits Kubo and his mother up, leaving Kubo to locate three mystical items that will help him defeat his rather angry extended family. During this search he meets up with a talking Monkey (Charlize Theron) and a part Man part Beetle type person (Matthew McConaughey). There is also a blink and you’ll miss it cameo from George “Oh my” Takei so keep an eye out for that.
The score to this film is perfectly composed by Dario Marianelli (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement) it blends Oriental music with a modern touch and it only adds more to this already excellent film. There is also a hauntingly captivating version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps sung by Regina Spektor which gave me chills.
What really resonated with me is how intelligently this film handles tough topics such as death and grief, which will be surprising to most parents taking their kids to the next animated film of the year as Finding Dory is on it’s way out of the cinema.
Kubo and the Two Strings could possibly be one of the best animated films of all time and arguably one of the best films of 2016. Pixar you better watch your backs, Laika is coming for you.