Kubo And The Two Strings: "If You Must Blink, Do It Now"

Director: Travis Knight
Writer:     Marc Haimes
                Chris Butler
                Shannon Tindle
Starring: Art Parkinson
                Charlize Theron
                Matthew McConaughey
                Ralph Fiennes 
                Rooney Mara
                George Takei
Rating:    ****

Release Date: Out Now

I am, and have always been, a stickler for the art of stop motion, and I have yet to watch such a film that I haven't loved. In fact, one of my all time favourite films is the Wes Anderson version of Fantastic Mr Fox. This years latest family adventure comes in the shape of Kubo and the Two Strings, an exciting journey that is intense, emotional and great for all ages.

Kubo & Monkey
Kubo (Parkinson) lives a calm and fairly normal life in a minute village; that is until two spirits from the past flip his life upside down by stirring up an ancient feud. This creates all sorts of havoc as monsters and Gods pursue Kubo who, just so he can survive, must find and secure a magical suit of armour that was once worn by his late father, a  legendary and heroic Samurai warrior.

Something that can really help to push an animated film ahead of the others is having the correct voice cast. Kubo and the Two Strings luckily can boast of their success. Charlize Theron as Monkey weaves warmth and love through her voice, whilst keeping monkey tough and straight to the point. The character takes no nonsense and knows her job is to protect Kubo; she is a multi-layered character and Theron brings her to life with subtlety and elegance.

Matthew McConaughey as Beetle shows that he is able to let loose and actually have fun in a role. He can be known for taking himself too seriously, but in this film he really lets loose and that is clear to hear in his voice. His work is sharp and funny, and he too shows a fatherly fondness toward Kubo with small inflections in his voice and well thought out acting choices. 

Kubo is full of life and excitement thanks too Art Parkinson. He is more than capable of showing his anxiety and loneliness through his voice. It is quite a complex story for him to lead, but Parkinson does it with gusto and childish giddiness.

The stop motion animation is more beautiful than I ever remember it being, and the amount of detail and passion poured into each character, location and scene is what truly forces it to the forefront.  It is so packed with emotion and intense action, that for the majority of the film I was sat on the edge of my seat eagerly awaiting the next adventurous feat. There were times where the energy in the film dropped slightly, and that is a real shame because, despite those moments Kubo and the Two Strings was film making at its finest. 

Despite not being made by the usual animation titans, Kubo is a fantastic family film, and should definitely be enjoyed on the big screen to really appreciate the amazing visuals.

 Kubo and the Two Strings - Trailer