Sunday, 9 April 2017

Film Review | USA | Kubo And The Two Strings

The 2016 film Kubo And The Two Strings is a feature length animated piece directed by Travis Knight, an animator from Laika Entertainment who has also worked on films such as The Boxtrolls and ParaNorman. Kubo And The Two Strings tells the story of Kubo, a young boy who sets out an adventure with two companions in order to defeat an evil spirit who has Kubo and his family in their sights. With the help of magical abilities past down from his family, Kubo takes on foes and challenges that out weigh his abilities greatly, making for a consistently interesting tale.

Fig 1: Movie Poster, Kubo And The Two Strings

As far as traditions go in the states, companies across the country have always been extremely modern and often pushing to create the next big thing. With names like Disney and Pixar on their roster it is easy to see how this 'boundary pushing' attitude has affected their creations, with the first ever fully 3D animated feature coming from Pixar in the shape of Toy Story there is no doubt that studios have always had an eye on the future, and Kubo is no exception, pushing boundaries in all directions.

In terms of filmmaking, Knight has worked on features that have gone on to meet critical praise and capture the imagination of audiences all over the globe. Knight has previously worked as a lead animator at Laika on films such as The Boxtrolls and ParaNorman, making it clear to see just what Knight brings to a feature, a unique sense of movement and character that gives these films the potential to go out to audiences and deliver memorable moments and creations.

Fig 2: Screenshot, Kubo And The Two Strings

Kubo at its core is essentially a coming of age story, depicting the events that Kubo must go through in order to become a stronger character, whilst facing demons and monsters certainly changes Kubo, its the underlying messages of community and family that help the character become a stronger person. Audiences first meet Kubo as he is washed up on a beach with his mother, instantly making the character vulnerable, something that the film then picks upon and seeks to shape as the film goes on, as Kubo is continuously faced against strong opponents that test the young warrior. This idea of difference and vulnerability are what essentially make up the entire plot, casting characters in lights that highlight their individuality whilst enemies hover over them like vultures.

Fig 3: Screenshot, Kubo And The Two Strings

In the opening scenes alone audiences can instantly see a unique style of animation that effortlessly blends the techniques used in both 3D and stop motion animation. As shots play out in front of audiences that make it hard for them distinguish what is a physical prop and what isn't, the plot mirrors this style of unpredictability and constantly adds to characters personal development, meaning that both the story and the techniques constantly have the full attention of the audience.

 As a feature with clear intentions to deliver a message, Kubo And The Two Strings definitely succeeded in showcasing this message, a message that celebrates difference and shows the lengths a strong willed person will go to in order to achieve their goals. With a combination of unique characters, a unique visual style and a story capable of wowing audiences, Kubo is definitely a must see. 

Illustration List

Fig 1: Movie Poster, Kubo And The Two Strings,, Accessed on: 09.04.17

Fig 2: Screenshot, Kubo And The Two Strings,, Accessed on: 09.04.17

Fig 3: Screenshot, Kubo And The Two Strings, on: 09.04.17


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