Kubo And The Two Strings

****1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Kubo And The Two Strings
"A journey you have never travelled before"

When you stray too far from Frozen distributors worry. Will the kids appreciate a new way of doing things, as if animation should be locked in The Funny Room with Buzz, the Minions and Paddington forever? Change is scary. It opens the gates of perception.

The first thing that strikes you about Kubo And The Two Strings is its strange beauty. The second is its imagination, unchained and dangerously original. The third is its courage. Who else would attempt to tell a story about a one-eyed boy, a bossy monkey (called Monkey), a samurai trapped in the body of a cockroach and a mute origami warrior? Also, it takes place in Japan - a dream world resembling Japan.

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For once magic has meaning. Instead of being used as a weapon of mass amazement whereby the protagonist can shape shift, or disappear behind invisibility spells, Kubo's magic involves everyone, the good, the bad and the disadvantaged, as if life itself is an hallucinatory adventure.

Kubo's mother who saved him from the angry waves in a shipwreck scenario has been driven mad by the shock of survival and the fear of what is out there in the vicious night. Her mind has been vaporised into a mist of half remembered terror, aware always of the dangers that stalk Kubo.

Her sisters, the wicked twins, have powers beyond reason, nocturnal and black wracked, immortal in a human sense, as they persevere with their quest to return the child to his spirit family to be blinded and saved from humanity's seductive delusions.

Explaining the inexplicable, like here, now, in this review, creates a shell of confusion that might turn you right off. Wait!

The film is exciting and funny and unpredictably wild. The animation touches on genius at times. The characters balance above the abyss, sure footed and silver lined, to do battle with the powers of the night. It is a journey you have never travelled before.

Listen.

"Magic is not supposed to be easy. Don't mess with the monkey."

Reviewed on: 08 Sep 2016
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Kubo And The Two Strings packshot
A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armour worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.
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Director: Travis Knight

Writer: Marc Haimes, Chris Butler

Starring: voices of Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Brenda Vaccaro, Cary-Hiroyuri Tagawa, Meyrick Murphy

Year: 2016

Runtime: 101 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US

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