I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for stop-motion animation. To see it on the big screen is always eye-watering and oddly courageous. Directing wise, I can imagine it to be a true hell. Wes Anderson has done it, twice, and I can’t exactly think of anybody else that has taken on such a large and time-consuming project. Until now, of course, with Kubo and the Two Strings.
Kubo and the Two Strings was piled into my Netflix backlog, tucked away between The Butler and Okja. The only reason I actually ended up watching Kubo and the Two Strings was that, at three in the morning, me and a friend decided we had a hunger for a decent animated movie. What I wasn’t expecting though was how truly great this movie is.
With some strong and excellently prominent performances from both Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey, the two are great supporting characters for Art Parkinson’s Kubo. The trio have some brilliant chemistry with one another and as expected it’s notably visual in how it presents the relationship between the trio. Rooney Mara and Ralph Fiennes both appear briefly as villains, but going into the details of that would spoil the movie.
Aside from the obviously strong performances, Kubo and the Two Strings manages to raise the bar of stop motion animation. Arguably better looking than Isle of Dogs and the Aardman collection, the detail of these characters and locations is vivid and truly mesmerising. Director Travis Knight does an incredible job of making the flow of the movie bind nicely with the style of the animation.
Visually stunning and with a very strong cast, there’s not much more to say about Kubo and the Two Strings. It reminds me somewhat of Kung Fu Panda and I’m not entirely convinced that’s a good thing. Still, it’s a very strong animated feature and probably is one of the best stop motion animations out there. Give it a go if you’ve got nothing else to watch, a somewhat lacking story will prevent you from getting too invested but shouldn’t hurt all that much.