From such a simple thought as origami springs the spectacular world of Kubo and the Two Strings.
With the threat of misguided spirits from the sky, Kubo must learn to control his magical art to collect three pieces of armour previously hunted for by his late samurai father. But even with the aid of an agile monkey and a beetle archer, the journey to collect the armour will not be easy.
Kubo and the Two Strings is an aesthetically magnificent stop motion film with a beautiful style I haven’t seen before. As the film opens, it’s hard not to be taken by the rolling waves and lone woman floating upon a raft. The water is especially spectacular as it creates a solid wall of impending doom (and I write that dramatically because that stuff terrifies me!). The origami magic that Kubo creates with his shamisen (a three stringed, Japanese guitar) is beautiful, especially with the dancing, colourful origami. And the stories that the characters share about the world only enhance its beauty.
Although I cannot attest for the film’s accuracy to Japanese history, Kubo’s story emanates a fantastic ancient feel with its witches and gods, warriors and magic. Few, if any, pacing issues arise when showing Kubo’s magic at the start, and although the target audience of ‘children’ is prominent in its simple plot, this film has managed to send chills down both children’s and adult’s spines. These come in the form of two sisters who travel in dark smoke with raven capes and deadly weapons.
Beyond the deadly sisters are a great variety of interesting characters. Kubo himself, although tasked with an enormous journey, does not let up his childishness when he can. Kubo proves very early on that he is mature beyond his years, but the simple longing for his mother’s touch and laughter at an old lady’s folly helps create a very rounded character.
Monkey is another brilliant addition to the motley crew. Her steadfast seriousness is balanced lovingly with her protective presence over Kubo. However, she is quick to release the warrior within when threatened. This quickly made her my favourite. As the source of comedic relief, Beetle created many laughs for the audience but he was also so much more. At the surface, he seems naïve and stupid, but as our heroes travel further along their journey the audience finds this character is full of love.
With very few draw backs, Kubo and the Two Strings has created a heart-warming story that reflects the importance of family. The film’s villains are wonderfully disturbing, and the pops of origami colour will put audiences in a trance. Even with its simple plot, Kubo and the Two Strings gets 8.5 strings out of 10 and, no doubt, many people who will be wanting to cosplay as its characters.