Magic, mystery and art are woven into a heroic Samurai tale in the new film, Kubo and the Two Strings. This action adventure story takes us on a dreamlike journey through ancient Japan. It’s visually stunning with a blend of stop motion animation and CG techniques. The film’s heartfelt messages about kindness, compassion and finding one’s own path in life add emotion and drama. Kubo’s serious quest is punctuated by some laugh-out-loud moments. Here’s the official trailer.
Produced by Laika stop motion studios, directed by Travis Knight, written by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler, it debuted on August 19, 2016. Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara and George Takei lend their voices to the film.
Kubo’s Gumby Connection
A number of former Gumby animators and creatives worked on Kubo. The animation and sets were so lifelike. Stop motion has come a long way since the earliest days of Gumby in the 1950s. While the basic process is still the same (taking photos one frame at a time), the technology has evolved. Check out these fascinating behind-the-scenes videos to learn more about how the film was created:
Daniel Alderson. Stop Motion Animator
Kubo, a young boy, climbs down from his mountain cave home where he lives with his mother to dazzle crowds in town with his dramatic story telling each day. He conjures up origami characters that come to life as he plays his shamisen. His inventive tales center on battles that Hanzo, his missing Samurai warrior father, wages with monsters. The stories spin out of control, and Kubo goes on a classic quest to find the magical armor that will allow him to defeat vengeful spirits from the past.
The film is getting great reviews.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the film has an approval rating of 96%, based on 121 reviews, with an average rating of 8.3/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Kubo and the Two Strings matches its incredible animation with an absorbing — and bravely melancholy — story that has something to offer audiences of all ages.”
Michael O’Sullivan of Washington Post gave the film 4/4 stars, stating that the film is “both extraordinarily original and extraordinarily complex, even for a grown-up movie masquerading as a kiddie cartoon (which it kind of is).”
Glenn Kenny of The New York Times wrote that “the movie’s blend of stop-motion animation for the main action with computer-generated backgrounds is seamless, creating what is the most visually intoxicating of all Laika’s movies.”
It’s fun for the entire family. Check it out!