On Blu-ray this week and perfect for families to enjoy for the Thanksgiving holiday from director Travis Knight, Laika Entertainment and Focus Features is the stellar “Kubo and the Two Strings.”
Kubo (Art Parkinson) is a young man who has seen much in his young life. Hiding in a mountain with his mother, Kubo comes to learn how he lost his eye. Telling him to not go out at night, the young boy doesn’t understand until a black mist attacks. Inside the mist are two witches (Rooney Mara) who turn out to be Kubo’s Aunts.
The witches want to destroy Kubo but it isn’t going to be easy. Sacrificing herself to save her son, a magic appears and takes the boy safely away. When he wakes up, his charm has come to life with Monkey (Charlize Theron) standing before him.
Knowing that the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) is coming for him, Kubo must piece together a suit of armor that could save him. Monkey tells him the story of his parents which he didn’t know before. On their journey, Kubo and Monkey meet Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) who is so pleased to meet them both. Wanting to help with the quest to find the armor, he will do everything possible with the skill of his arrow.
Eventually, Kubo comes face to face with the Moon King but it is the boy’s bravery and courage that bring him strength and courage.
Parkinson as the voice of Kubo is so endearing and delightful. When the character is sad, Parkinson’s voice just breaks my heart and when Kubo is strong and righteously defiant, this young actor’s voice portrays that as well.
Theron as Monkey brings care and concern for Kubo. What I loved the most is Theron’s ability to reflect with her voice wit and sarcasm that actually made me giggle a lot. McConaughey as Beetle is hilarious! His questions, responses and sense of fun is the comic relief of the film without this character losing his genuine concern for his new friends.
Mara has double duty playing the evil sisters who want nothing more than to destroy Kubo and his friends are just an added bonus. Fiennes as the Moon King once again gets the opportunity to voice a bit of evil and although not quite Voldemort-ish its still pretty cool.
Other voice talent includes Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Hashi, Brenda Vaccaro as Kameyo, Meyrick Murphy as Mari, Minae Norji as Minae, Alpha Takahashi as Aiko, Laura Miro as Miho and George Takei as Hosato.
Focus Features brings a wide range of diverse films to audiences everywhere. Distinctive films such as “The Place Beyond the Pines,” “Dallas Buyers Club” and “The Theory of Everything” have audiences riveted. Focus Features also brings live action animation with “Caroline,” “9” and “Kubo and the Two Strings” with the upcoming “A Monster Calls.”
Laika Entertainment has broken amazing boundaries in the 120-year-old technique of stop-motion animation. Bringing emotional, innovative and exhilarating stories to audiences, Laika is responsible for the 2009 Oscar-nominated “Coraline,” as well as “Paranorman.” My personal favorite is the 2014 release of the absolutely amazing story of “The Boxtrolls.”
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Kubo and the Two Strings” four and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. This is a brilliantly done animated film that endearing, adventurous, funny and beautiful. My family loves “Coraline” and “The Boxtrolls,” so it is no surprise to me that “Kubo and the Two Strings” won us all over immediately.
“Kubo and the Two Strings” is an absolutely amazing piece of stop-motion animation and it is sure to win award after award and it should. What Laika Entertainment brings to this genre of film is nothing short of spectacular. This story has every aspect of emotion and it was a joy to feel each of them.
The characters are wonderfully portrayed and with the voice of Theron and McConaughey, it is topped off by the heart-felt vocal talents of Art Parkinson. The world of Kubo created through music and dancing paper is the reason this genre reaches into the heart of so many people.
The Blu-ray includes a DVD and Digital HD copy of the film with the bonus features of Kubo’s Journey, Corners of the Earth, Feature Commentary with Director Travis Knight and much more.
The colors are vibrant and crisp and so vivid down to the hair on Kubo head as well as Monkey’s fur. Let’s just say there isn’t a thing about this film that isn’t on point and fantastic. “Kubo and the Two Strings” is a journey filled with beauty, magic and love – and that makes this film one of the best of 2016.
In the end — be bold, be brave and be epic!