Kubo and the Two Strings
Length: 101 minutes / 1.68 hours
We live in the future, and it is incredible. I’ve found stop-motion animation to be a fascinating medium, not only for its “dirtiness” when compared to CGI, but also because of the painstaking care it takes to produce a full-length feature with this process. Animation studios like Aardman and Laika are really starting to take advantage of all the tools at their disposal to create some awesome stop-motion movies. We’ve come a long way since the films of Henry Selick, the most famous one being The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). Through Selick, we now have a handful of fantastic films through the Laika brand.
While their previous work, The Boxtrolls (2014) had started the trend away from more morbid themes and plots, Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) shows just how capable the stop-motion medium is to tell a fantastic story. With an origami motif existing throughout, Kubo and the Two Strings is a fantastic example of what 3-D Printing can do for the stop-motion animation industry. In fact, the almost transparent qualities of the characters allowed the light to more realistically interact with their bodies, immersing the viewer even further into the story. People who haven’t had much interaction with 3-D printing probably didn’t notice it, but I certainly did.
Even though the plot may have been a bit “video game”-ish at times, the structure was almost faithfully that of a classic fairy tale. The themes of love, loss, family, duty, and honor are all present in this Japanese setting, thus hammering home the emotional impact of the characters’ actions with each turn. I was certainly in tears during several segments because of how touching they were. With this plot, the style of animation, and the technical achievements to make it a reality, I would be shocked if Laika does not win their first Oscar for Best Animated Feature next year because of this film.
A visually stunning, modern fairy tale that shows off the amazing talents of the Laika team, I give Kubo and the Two Strings 4.5 stars out of 5.