We follow the story of a young boy named Kubo (Art Parkinson), who spends his days telling stories to the local town, much to their enjoyment. But when the sun sets, evil is abound, and Kubo is forbidden from stepping foot outside of his home. Except one day he does, and he's approached by his mother's two evil sisters (both voiced by Rooney Mara). After a series of mystical, heartbreaking events that shall remain unspoilt, Kubo is separated from his town and his mother. Aided by a Monkey (Charlize Theron) and a Beetle (Mathew McConaughey), Kubo is given the daunting challenge of collecting an ancient armour worn by his father, and if he does so, he will have the power to take down the threatening Moon King (Ralph Fiennes), who is the man behind all this evil.
Taking us on this moving journey are a trio of heroes, all of whom kick some serious ass and each have a unique and loveable personality. Right from the opening scene, I was already attached to Kubo. It's impossible not to be, and you'll see why. He makes for a fascinating and layered character, and the voice work by Parkinson is excellent. His two companions, Monkey and Beetle, needed a bit more of an introduction before I was fully invested in their stories, but the more time we spent with them, the more I fell in love with them. Beetle, to me, was the more likeable of the two, but goddamn, Monkey made me incredibly emotional, and I definitely loved what they did with her.
Few films are made with stop motion nowadays, and that's simply because it's too time consuming, especially when in comparison to 3D animation, and as we've seen in recent years, 3D animation is at the top of its game in terms of the quality of the animation. As a big fan of animated films, I love stop motion. I think it's a wonderful art form, and when a film comes along like Kubo and the Two Strings, I just have to see it. I need to support it. And I'm glad I did, because this is truly some of the most breathtaking stop motion I have ever seen. Laika have stepped their game up for Kubo and the Two Strings, and I loved the visual style of the whole thing.
While not on the same level as Coraline and Paranorman, but ranked just above The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings is a delightful and adventurous tale that's thematically deep and emotionally investing. The animation is beautiful, the characters are great, and while the finale isn't as great as it thinks it is, I still really enjoyed this movie.