Kubo and the Two Strings


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Kubo and the Two Strings
Release Date:
18th August 2016
101 min
MPAA Rating:
Travis Knight
Chris Butler, Marc Haimes
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p


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), Akihiro (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.


Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 96%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 91%
IMDb Rating 8.4


Movie Reviews

Reviewed by arnold kumar (TheConnoisseurReviews) 19th August, 2016

Laika's Masterpiece

"Kubo and the Two Strings" is a hard movie to explain. There is a story in it and the adventure is grand and fun, but I can't place it into a category of traditional storytelling. The themes of the film are the values of memories and how we truly can never forget people that we lose throughout our lifetime. Very mature themes that are handled with such finesse and creativity that I can't say I have seen anything like it before. Even when you as the audience know where the story is headed, the film surprises you with the delivery and you actually grow and learn with the characters. The strength of the film is the pure visceral experience it provides. The visuals and sound had a layer of depth and drama that you feel in your inner core. It is more of an experience than it is a movie that you watch. Throughout the film, I felt moments of sadness, loss, happiness, horror, fear, and accomplishment. It is a movie that truly raises the bar for animation and it saddens me that many people will not check it out as it is very different from traditional animated films that we are used to seeing from other major animation studios. So much care and attention went into this film. The world Laika has created is rich with so much history, story, mythos, and culture that even some movies and series that are much longer can't fully create. I felt that the world is living and that magic is truly alive. I love how the character make it feel special that magic exists, but aren't put of by it, when they see it for themselves and have to question the logic. The characters are fun and lovable, but also brave and dimensional. Not one character felt out of place and they're inclusion felt important. The voice casting is top-notch and I felt like the celebrities actually made an effort. Unlike many big-budget animated productions, The voice actors weren't distracting and added their own layer of charisma that enhanced and drew attention to the characters. Monkey is probably the best character and I feel like she'll be the fan favorite as she's funny, powerful, and a total bada**. Overall, Laika has produced probably their best animated film to date and that is saying a lot from a studio that produces quality efforts time and time again. "Kubo and the Two Strings" is unlike anything out there and deserves to be seen on the big screen. The animation alone is breathtakingly gorgeous. The beautiful score and music only adds to the complexity of the film. It is probably the best film of 2016 so far and I find it hard to beat. I highly recommend that people check out this highly creative experience.

Reviewed by MisterWhiplash 18th August, 2016

a plethora of imagination, invention, and a fusion of visual storytelling and myth

You know what I love in Kubo and the Two Strings (among several other things)? It doesn't go out of its way to explain its magic. It simply IS. Oh, sure, there's a talking monkey that saves the lead character Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson, the monkey by Charlize Theron), and there's an explanation briefly (and then a later one, which I won't reveal at all), but it doesn't matter any more than how Kubo can use his guitar strings to make his origami turn into sword-wielding samurai, or how the former bodyguard named Beetle comes to be (Matthew McConaughey going back into his 'McConnaissance' mode as being a truly great performance expanding what we thought he's capable of a semi-comic sidekick). The filmmakers let the characters explain when they need to, yet when they do it's done in the form of storytelling - at one point when Monkey is finally pressed by Kubo (and Beetle too) to say what is going on with his otherworldly grandfather and his Aunt who is out to, well, kill him and what Monkey has to do with it, she can only tell it as Kubo plays his guitar and the papers for his origami go into the air to show as she tells. This is a film that loves storytelling and storytellers, and yet never forgets that this is a full-bodied CINEMATIC experience. I can't remember the last time I've recently seen so much imagination and visual invention in one fantastical animated film, stop motion or otherwise (not even Finding Dory, which certainly has both humor and some heartfelt moments, got to that this year). The story involves a little boy, who we are introduced to at the start as being saved/protected by his mother as a baby (with an eye cut out, by his grandfather), that is at the start making money by performing with his flying/magic origami in a village while tending to his mother who seems to be suffering from amnesia (as an aside, I knew I would love this movie about five minutes in when the filmmakers show us what this dynamic between son and mother is as the latter stares off into space with a haunted, sad look as the son tries his best to care for her, all without words, a perfect moment that I'd never expect to see in a kid's film in a multiplex kind of environment). But Kubo can't be out after dark, the evil sister of his Mother - with a black hat and white mask that makes her creepy past Burton-type standards - attacks, and Kubo is sent away and is knocked out. When he awakes Monkey is there and, soon after on this quest to find items that will help him face his evil Aunt and grandfather, the Beetle guard, and it becomes a hero's journey story. And what a hero and journey! There's a lot of action that the filmmakers pack into this movie - it is a Japanese fantasy-inspired film, so there may be some violent imagery that may scare the wee ones like under four of five, but most kids should be able to take it and, if I remember how I was at that age, love it - and it involves things like a giant skeleton monster that comes to life with swords stuck in its skull (and the three characters have to find which one is their unbreakable one), and, my favorite weird and wonderful creation, a group of underwater eyeballs that, when one looks too long at them, puts the person in a trance leading down to a... well, don't want to give it away. The voice-work is a delight which, as I said, McConaughey really digs into being a character who is the faithful protector though has some 'off' memory problems at times and a looser way of looking at protecting a child than Monkey (Theron plays the strict motherly figure as good as she's played any role, including Monster or Furiosa), and it becomes this story that's as much about family than it is about revenge or other petty things. You do have to pay attention, this isn't a movie that you can throw on for your kids and they can act crazy or get distracted: it asks that you watch it and take in a story that at its core isn't too far removed from Joseph Campbell, but does so many twists that it becomes its own original entity. Kubo and the Two Strings gives you all that you could want in a family animated movie, but more than that is a splendid, heart-rending fantasy epic in under 100 minutes. It brings me back to when I first saw something like The Dark Crystal and was amazed at what creators can do when they embrace really creating a WORLD that their characters can inhabit - not to mention keeping any humor to the situations or behavior, nothing that dates it at all. I can't recommend it enough.

Reviewed by MediaPanther 18th August, 2016

Animated Artistry

If this film was told from another perspective, Kubo and the Two Strings might be considered a bit preachy. It still might be, regardless. But no matter how you look at it, it is something to be looked at more than once. It is simply an amazing work of animated achievement in cinema. Set in what could be medieval Japan, a little boy named Kubo scratches out a meager existence on the village streets earning just enough for him and his mother to survive. For her part, mom (voiced by Charlize Theron) sits at the mouth of their mountaintop cave in a comatose state every day until dusk. This is also the time when Kubo must be home, not only to be there when she snaps out of it to regale him with stories of his long lost warrior father, but so he can be safe from the evil that bewitched his mother and left him with only one eye. Failing to do this one fateful night forces Kubo on a journey to recover mythical armor and weapons that will beat back the forces of darkness and restore love and harmony to his life and the lives of others. Aiding him on his quest are a miniature monkey carving come to life, an origami samurai, and a beetle/man warrior (Matthew McConaughey). What is truly exceptional about Kubo and the Two Strings is not the story. The characters have American English accents and are not Asian. A couple characters aren't really fleshed out (those of Brenda Vaccaro and Ralph Fiennes for example). Although the film is geared toward a younger audience, there are deep themes of rebirth and reincarnation that are a major part of the movie and seem heavy handed, as was hinted at earlier. The story is not the star, the presentation of the story is what shines. Anyone who is familiar with Laika studios work (Coraline, The Boxtrolls) will not be disappointed in how Kubo and the Two Strings looks. For the uninitiated, be prepared to see a film that hearkens back to the old style of painstaking, stop-motion animation with a splash of 21st century wizardry. These filmmakers have done what other strive to do with budgets two, four, even six times larger. They have made an animated world that pulls you in with its realism. It doesn't come off as cartoon like. Eyes glisten, teeth are almost translucent, hair blows in the wind, characters have shadows. Any shortcomings in the script are quickly forgiven when the evil sisters float into the scene or when Kubo (Art Parkinson) captivates the town folk with his storytelling. It's the attention to detail, the craftsmanship, and artistic appreciation that sets films like Kubo and the Two Strings apart from other animated feature films. The filmmakers have learned a lot from the old masters and have served notice that they are at the top of their game. Just sit back and let them and their latest undertaking work their magic on you. www.mediumraretv.org

Reviewed by www.ramascreen.com 13th August, 2016

LAIKA has done it again!

Those talented folks at LAIKA have done it again. KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS is not just one of the best animated films of the year, it's one of the best films of the year, period. Not since Pixar's "Up," have death and loss been handled do firmly and delicately. "Kubo" is fun, moving, hopeful, and profound. A terrific story of bravery and acceptance. Written by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler and directed by LAIKA's own president, Travis Knight, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS is set in a fantastical Japan where a one-eyed kid who masters the art of origami and storytelling, Kubo, (voiced by Art Parkinson of "Game Of Thrones") would go out to work to earn money during the day by entertaining audiences in the middle of a market but he comes home right before sundown to tend to his sick mother, it has to be before sundown because at night, his mother's sisters, two evil twins (voice day Oscar nominee Rooney Mara) would try to get Kubo's other eye. The past catches up to them, an old vendetta resurfaces, Kubo must run and join forces with Monkey (voiced by Oscar winner Charlize Theron) and a beetle (voiced by Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey) on a quest to retrieve the helmet, the sword unbreakable and the armor that would prepare Kubo to fight the vengeful Moon King (voiced by Oscar nominee Ralph Fiennes). This quest would unlock Kubo's family mystery and lead him to fulfill his destiny. I've always appreciated animation, but with stop-motion, it's extra level of appreciation, knowing the extra hard work they put into even just to get a few seconds of shots. It's a level of dedication and discipline that never ceases to blow my mind, that's why I'm a huge fan of LAIKA. Especially with this latest film of theirs, the scale is much bigger, there's a sequence involving a large skeleton giant, your brain starts to wonder as you see that scene just how many hours, how many weeks, how many months did it take for them to make that happen. This film has action, it has love drama, it has family drama, it has a great sense of humor and it's also about community coming together to help one another. It has its own way of featuring and respecting Japanese art and tradition, but even if you're not too familiar with that particular culture, KUBO resonates much deeper than just the aesthetics. It's a film that's perfect for the whole family. And on top of that, it delicately teaches our young ones about how to grieve in a healthy manner. There's also a twist to the story which I won't spoil for you here. This film is just so beautiful and pristine. Charlize Theron has that commanding voice you would follow to the ends of the earth. And Matthew McConaughey voices Beetle as playful and as proud as Tim Allen did Buzz Lightyear. So it's a combination of outstanding stop motion animation, excellent voice talents, a well-told story and strong characters that make KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS one of my favorite this year. -- Rama's Screen --

Reviewed by Donna May 17th July, 2016

Beautifully done, action-packed, great story

Attended a pre-opening screening of Laika's stop motion animated movie "Kubo and the Two Strings" yesterday and I have to say I totally loved it! The story is set in ancient Japan, where a young boy named Kubo cares for his ailing mother in a seaside Japanese village. He is a beloved storyteller who plays a magical shamisen (Japanese 3-string instrument). A spirit from the past turns Kubo's life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta. In order to survive, he sets out on a quest to locate a magical suit of armor once worn by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior. He makes friends and allies, encounters monsters and evil demons, and learns important lessons along the way. Visually, this is epically incredible and a game changer for stop motion. The action and excitement kept me on the edge of my seat. I wouldn't recommend it for really small children, though. There are times it's scary and the monsters are very well done! There's an excellent moral to the story and delightful humor, so children and adults will both enjoy it. Well done Laika. Best one yet!