This movie is a wonderful work of cinematic art that is difficult to review without spoiling the ending. In essence, it is the story of an origami folding, guitar wielding, magical boy whose only pleasure in life is to listen to his mother’s bedtime stories about a legendary warrior that fought the Moon King and perished. He recreates the story daily for his fellow villagers via an origami theater coordinated by the music of his two strings until sundown starts. At that time he has to flee back to the safety of his cave and his mom’s embrace, who is slowly fading away due to a curse placed on her. Kubo knows bits and pieces of his past and by a twist of fate, has to embark on a quest to find out who he has to become in order to fullfil his destiny.
What makes the Japanese anime like story precious is the execution of the individual character elements. Half CGI half actual puppetry, what you get to witness in 3D is a mix of old school meets the new. It feels and flows like a beautiful kabuki theater piece. Each character is manipulated frame by frame to bring the art to life in front of a green screen to the tone of glorious Japanese music. The meaning of Kubo’s two strings will floor you, and the story’s ending will give you the feels. I think that the narrative is very straight forward and well explained but the lesson may be too abstract for some to realize without some assistance. Kids however will love it and enjoy it for what it is: an incredible magical adventure.
Check it out and let me know what you think. I cried during the ending because it touched me and reminded me about the power of love when faced with adversity. We all take out of these types of movies what we need so its meaning may be different for you. It doesn’t hurt that Academy Award winners Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron co star on this flick. The effort they put into their performances paid off and had me feeling the rapport between the characters who are funny, dead serious but yet charming. It is truly a lovely story.