Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

The animation of this film is extraordinarily beautiful and compelling. Truly stunning. It’s worth seeing the film for the animation alone. The second act of the film is also pretty great, with the voice cast doing their best work in some excellent comic sections.

A lot of work definitely went into this movie, but I don’t think everything paid off. A lot of the story work, particularly in the second act, is very messy. The titular character has barely any arc. The story is painfully “this, then that”. The ending is completely bizarre, and not in the sort of way I like. The film touches on issues of family and loss of memory very well for the first two acts, then does a pretty horrifying act at the end that is played as a good thing. I found it honestly disturbing. I appreciate the value of stories and the way they can improve people and communities, absolutely, but intentional lies framed as truth doesn’t sit as well with me as a positive force for change. Still, I applaud how the film deals with adult themes without talking down to ostensibly the primary audience (children).


It’s worth watching the film for the visuals, I just wish the narrative work was as strong as the animation too. I give it three actual strings, and a manipulated memory.

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