*I thought I’d try something a little different for this review. Expect a return to normal next time.
Every once in a while, a movie like Kubo and the Two Strings comes along…
A movie that is smart, exciting, entertaining, beautiful, imaginative, and breathtaking.
A movie that is a perfect combination of familiar and fresh.
A movie where the story is fantastical and mythic and also rooted in genuine human emotion.
A movie full of childlike wonder and innocence that still manages to avoid pandering to children or alienating adults.
A movie that is thrilling and action-packed while retaining a strong moral compass.
A movie where every shot is a work of art that effectively enhances the narrative, and even the end credits are captivating.
A movie that truly understands the role music plays in storytelling and uses it brilliantly.
A movie that is funny but also avoids the crude humor and other pitfalls found in so many other children’s films.
A movie that trusts you enough not to spell everything out for you, letting you put things together on your own.
A movie where every moment pays off down the line.
A movie that represents the pinnacle of what the stop-motion medium is capable of.
A movie that reminds us why we watch films in the first place.
I think you get the idea. Kubo and the Two Strings is a genuinely wonderful film in a year full of middling and disappointing releases. The folks at Laika — a studio already known for its high-caliber stop-motion-animated films — have pulled it off again. I dare not spoil the story for you, because experiencing it firsthand is part of the magic. All I can say is that it is well worth the price of admission, and this is the kind of motion picture that deserves our financial support. Kubo and the Two Strings is a true diamond-in-the-rough movie that should be remembered and discussed for years to come. Go see it.