Stop motion is a rare film medium that needs to be shown off more to the public eye. The imagination and patience it takes to craft a stop motion movie is enough to make you want to support them, but when their end product is actually something to admire you can only stare in amazement at the accomplishment. The film is directed by Travis Knight and tells a story that’s too fascinating to just summarize, but what you need to know is this, it’s a magical journey through a world we have never seen with twists and turns you could miss if you blink.
Bringing the cultures of medieval Japan as well as Chinese concepts to life, we journey with Kubo, a young one eyed shamisen player with a unique family tree faces what could be his greatest journey yet. From the beginning sequence, the film brings you into the world through vivid color and tension filled mystery surrounding the characters we meet without ever revealing it’s enthralling secrets to us like idiots. Everything allows itself to manifest into an organically grown storybook with chapters you wish lasted longer and longer.
It’s difficult to take the time to animate such a meticulous style of storytelling like stop-motion and I have to assume that it’s that reasoning the films aren’t longer. I could stayed in my theater for two more hours just to see the journey’s and stories they live through in more illustrious detail. It was being transported into a flowing origami lesson if Akira Kurosawa and Hayoa Miyazaki chose to give the creators of Paranorman some concepts to run with. The samurai influences and details produced funny and witty humor as well as compelling action that goes above and beyond the usual stop-motion action (due to constraints of time and level of difficulty I’m sure). While there are magical beasts and talking animals, the small details to add hints of realism really stood out to me and I’d love to hear if you catch them.
Through the realism and magic, you were given a gorgeous looking story with an even more beautiful and original plot. The richness of colors only enhanced the richness of it’s story which may leave some in tears of sorrow and joy, but not before Matthew McConaughey has you cracking up at his one liners during his scenes. Newcomer Ray Parkinson and acting juggernaut Charlize Theron give excellent voice performances as well respectively, but you’re not going to forget McConaughey in this one. Another thing I won’t forget are the intimidating visuals of some of the villains. With each scene of the mysterious floating women (voiced by Rooney Mara) you will be weirded out in a really good way, but not weird enough that kids can’t enjoy this movie, this is far from Sausage Party.
At the end of the day, this is one of the best movies you guys and gals aren’t seeing says the box office, but you need to. It’s a visual experience that has substance as well while presenting a more adult look into themes that kids movies rarely have outside of select Disney movies while also differentiating itself from tropes that we see in kids films. This is kid friendly, but not just for kids and parents will be better for seeing it as well. The nature of the story is enough to make you want to fade into a corner with just memories of certain people and things which is where Kubo and the Two Strings resonates the most beyond it’s gorgeous scores and soundtrack. See it!