Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

You are my quest. You always have been.

What a year for animation films huh? We had some great films like Zootopia, Finding Dory, and Sausage Party and not so great like Secret Life of Pets and Ice Age: Collision Course. Now, we have the best of the best in animation this year: Kubo and the Two Strings. Kubo and the Two Strings is the 3D stop motion fantasy animation directed by Travis Knight in which the story is set in ancient Japan and follows a young boy named Kubo (Art Parkinson) who takes care of his mother and unfortunately is also missing an eye. He lives a humble life, telling folktales to the village but unfortunately his quiet existence is interrupted when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Suddenly on the run from gods and monsters, Kubo’s chance for survival rests on finding the magical suit of armor that was once worn by his father. Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling adventure to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father. With the help of his shamisen, a magical musical instrument, Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the evil Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Rooney Mara) to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family and fulfill his destiny.

Kubo and the Two Strings is a fantastic film from top to bottom and it crushes all competition. Laika continues to be a major presence in the animation game. This film’s animation is breathtaking and at times, I would forget that this was all done in stop motion. The animation is so fluid, it’s probably the best animation I have ever seen. The film has an amazing voice cast including Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, George Takei, and standout Art Parkinson. The film has incredible visuals and an amazing story but the performances bring it to a whole other level. Kubo’s story is a basic “Hero’s Journey” but it’s executed magnificently. It has so much emotion mixed in with great timing laughs, and lovable heroes. The score, which was composed by Dario Marianelli, is pure bliss and is majestic. It brings an epic feel to the fights and brings another depth of emotion for scenes with Kubo and his loved ones.

Overall, Kubo and the Two Strings is what I wanted in an animation film. It has lovable characters, a well-crafted story, and the best animation out there. Easily, my favorite animation film of the year. I’ll catch it again this weekend but this time not in 3D, it didn’t play a big factor. Laika does it again! SuperSam Rating: 10/10.

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