Kubo And The Two Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings tells the story of a young boy with one eye named

Kubo who carries around a magical shamisan (Japanese 3 string guitar).
Kubo (Art Parkinson) spends his days venturing from his home high atop a
mountain to a small village where he uses his magical instrument to create
amazing origami figurines to tell extraordinary stories to the local
villagers. The stories he shares are the same ones told to him by his
mother about an Evil Moon King that is hellbent on stealing Kubo’s other
eye, and his brave father who sacrificed his own life to protect his
The dramatic first scenes of the movie begin with an infant Kubo and his
mother washing ashore escaping danger. The treacherous journey has left
Kubo’s mother extremely weak and spending most days in a catatonic type
state. She regularly comes to at dusk where she continues to tell Kubo
stories of his warrior father’s quest to locate 3 key elements to defeat
the Moon King: the unbreakable sword, a suit of armor, and a golden helmet.

It really is heartbreaking the length Kubo takes when it comes to caring
for his mother. He has learned to become pretty self sufficient, yet still
desiring to be a child and connect with both parents. This desire to
connect with his father’s spirit brings him to break a cardinal rule of
staying out past sunset. Breaking this rule causes him to come face to
face with the beings (his aunts) that took his first eye. Now, realizing
that the stories his mother told him were true, Kubo rmust complete his
father’s quest for the 3 elements and defeat the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes)
himself. And so begins the adventure of Kubo, along with a talking monkey
(Charlize Theron) appointed to protect him by his mother, an absent minded
Beetle (Matthew McConnahey) that once was a Samurai Warrior who believes
Kubo is his master, set out on their journey.

From Paranorm, the Boxtrolls to Coraline, Laika Studios has found their
niche with semi-monstrous dark children’s movies with its haunting yet
sweet storytelling and charm. Kubo and the Two Strings is a visually
stunning story with it’s handcrafted textures and Japanese mythological
fantasies is about sacrifice, the importance of family, and the stories
that bind people together. I would not be surprised if it received on
Oscar nomination.

The dark and scary moments I would say are not suitable for children under
the age of 6.

Second review by Mallory Moreno

“If you must blink, do it now” or you might miss any number of details the
beautifully animated film, Kubo and the Two Strings, has to offer. Our
culturally rich journey begins with Kubo (Art Parkinson) and his mother
fleeing from his evil grandfather, the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes), after he
leaves Kubo with only one eye. Soon they settle in a cave where Kubo builds
a community around himself in a nearby Japanese village by using his
talents as a storyteller to charm the town’s people. With his stack of
origami papers and his shamisen that brings them to life he weaves tales of
Hanzo the Samurai. Soon though the danger his mother has tried so valiantly
to hide him from finds him and the real magic begins.

After he inadvertently summons an evil spirit from the past, Kubo is lead
on a quest by a monkey (Charlize Theron) to the far lands to recover three
pieces of a magical suit of armor. On their journey they find companionship
with a giant beetle (Matthew McConaughey) that they learn once belonged to
Kubo’s father’s army. The three are plagued by appearances from his aunts
(Rooney Mara) who try their best to keep Kubo from fulfilling his quest. In
the end Kubo is faced with having to choose immortality or to stay human
which we learn has a kind of magic all in its own.

Though I found parts of the film a bit dark for younger viewers it seems it
is a theme of the animated film studio Laika (Coraline, ParaNorman). There
was some comic relief through the banter of Charlize Theron (monkey) and
Mathew McConaughey (beetle) but the movie always circled backed to a more
serious tone. I also felt it could have done a better job of giving us a
back story about how Kubo comes to posses his magical items (origami papers
and his shamisen) and it glossed over some important details, like why his
mother is so fragile after they reach the cave, which we are left to assume
for ourselves. Kubo does however emphasize the power of our memories and
how important stories become in telling what one holds in his or her heart.

Kubo is thoughtful and weaves a story of how family shapes us but how in
the end we must forge our own path.

4/5 stars, great for the whole family.