Kubo and the Two Strings represents one of those highly anticipated films carrying the burden of living up to lofty expectations. Prior to the actual film release numerous articles were written about it building the hype to stratospheric levels. In a world driven by social media, the average movie fan’s ability to tune out such influence is exceedingly difficult. After viewing Kubo and the Two Strings with my two favorite movie reviewers aka my kids, we left the movie theater in a state of disappointment. All that was left for me to do was to process what went wrong.
How’s the Story?
Directed by Travis Knight, Kubo and the Two Strings feels like a short film extended to a feature length movie. The opening sequence captivates you with its visually haunting splendor. Yet the story that follows drags on and never quite picks up the pace with the exception of the action sequences. Normally movie studios don’t want kids in the audience muttering “this is boring” while they’re watching an action-adventure film yet that’s exactly what I overheard from my offspring as well as many children in the theater. A thoughtfully edited short version would solve the problem, especially since there are several poignant moments in the story. Perhaps Focus Features should have considered Disney-Pixar’s winning short film strategy of placing a short film preceding a feature film.
How are the Special Effects?
Frame after frame of remarkably crafted visual artistry graces the screen. The attention to detail captivates you with breathtakingly beautiful images delivered on an epic scale. In my opinion, the stop-motion animation wizardry represented in the movie places the film in the running for a technical achievement Oscar. It’s not hard to discern that Kubo and the Two Strings was a creative labor of love for the production team. Much like Tim Burton’s A Nightmare before Christmas, toys based on the movie will quickly become beloved collectors items.
Are there any opportunities to take a Bathroom Break?
With the exception of the action sequences, pretty much the entire movie offers ample chances to answer nature’s call.
Overall Grade: B
Recommended for ages 8 and up.
Pros: Exquisitely beautiful scenery. Remarkable stop-motion animation.
Cons: The story drags on to the point of boredom. Wooden dialogue. Attention-challenged kids will not sit still for this movie.
Official Trailer for Kubo and the Two Strings