Kubo and the two strings is a movie following the story of, you guessed it, Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson, also known for being Rickon Stark in Game of Thrones). Kubo is a kid who’s mum’s memory is deteriorating after being hurt while fighting hard to escape from his grandfather, “the Moon King” and two aunts who want to steal Kubo’s only eye. After an attack from the aunts – Kubo is forced on a quest to find the set of armour (which is isn’t all armour) to defeat the his grandfather with the company of a monkey (Charlize Theron) and a beetle (Matthew McConaughey).
The film is entertaining, the stop motion animation is impressive with clear effort and care put into it. The film has a good soundtrack which goes well the Asian setting. However; the film feels rushed, it feels like it should have been two films instead of just one. The whole thing is really fast paced, we get time to experience Kubo’s village but after that its quick-moving from one setting to the next, not getting the whole time to let the characters develop properly and to appreciate the location given to us by the designers. The film failed to deliver character development where it should have. The scenes with Kudo and his mum were touching, you could tell Kudo really cares for his mum and you can tell his mum is really trying to stay well but this isn’t showing us the characters growing as people. Beetle is annoying and reduced to meer comic relief and it’s just disappointing.
Monkey does develop a bit. There’s conflict in her to try to do what she’s meant to do without telling Kubo that she is his mom (because magic). Over time that becomes more clear as they go on their quest. I enjoyed the flirting between Beetle and Monkey. It was funny and enjoyable however it made Beetle just a bit to unbearable. One thing I noticed it the film mistakes a characters back story for character development; we find out a lot about the history (infinitely as that’s whats driving whats happening in the present) of the characters however, you’d expect this to effect the characters as discover things about each other and themselves but it doesn’t, the characters stay more or less the same.
One scene I adored but could have been a-million times better if it was longer or it had parts where it was an actual flash back. The scene itself is beautiful from the lighting to the puppets as well as an incredible back track – it was too short and Beatles was frustrating to it. The moment wasn’t just a beautiful moment about how Hanzo and Kubo’s mum but also about what Kubo’s family is because they almost seem like gods!? It needed length, by the time i was feeling the moment and my interest peaked, the scene was ending and was just disappointed. As a nice filmography trick, I noticed the camera move in on monkeys face as she recalled the sad tale of how she met her husband, Hanzo (or Beatle) to help convoy this personal moment.
Two characters I loved, were this sisters (both voiced by Rooney Mara). The character is interesting and looks really cool, however they both died with no redeeming moment. These characters are a perfect insight into what Kubo’s family and to what they believe in, and we get a bit of this in the dialog between Monkey and one of the sisters with the fight on the boat, but all we get is them to be a plot device to kill characters and threaten Kubo. Although, I will say that the fights with them were very entertaining.
Beetle was a nice and necessary, his flirting was cute but there was nothing to him apart from he’s Hanzo and didn’t know. The fact he was dropped to the comic relief was stupid. Hanzo is an interesting character who needed more than just his back story. I also sort of wanted a reason he wanted to find the armour set which “threatened the heavens”.
The ending could just be redone – the fight scene was anti-climactic, i like the redemption of the “moon king” (Ralph Fiennes) was good but the rubbish excuse of amnesia and people saying he’s good was just poor and boring, the whole time the entire thing felt rushed. The fight with the dragon was boring and not very interesting (and the dragon glowing thing was unnecessary and took me out of this stop motion world ruining the painstaking work the artists did). The fight should’ve be longer and the environment could have been exploited a bit more. I like how he was forgiven and saved from himself by Kubo and the town however this would have worked better if he hadn’t just forgotten everything but if there was a proper conversation in where he was saved. This would of worked better if the sisters were saved as well, i found it sad how they were killed and the grandfather was not.
End Of Spoilers
I’ve said a fair bit of negative things about this film however it is really good aside from these flaws – it’s entertaining, beautiful and heart warming but in terms of character development and length, it fails. I think it should have been two films. The story itself is very interesting and I really want to know the nature of Kubo’s family. Overall i would suggest it to people who enjoy films like this and enjoy animation. i give it
it had a lot of potential
Thanks for reading, it means a lot. If you see any spelling, grammar or literary mistakes, please tell me. I’m dyslexic and would appreciate this so I may improve.
by Frederic Hall
Facts taken from IMDB