Kubo and the Two Strings | Review

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS is one of those animations – cute kid, great powerful story filled with messages and an embracement of magic and samurai. It makes KUNG FU PANDA successful beyond belief and it helps this is being made by Laica, the peeps behind CORALINE, PARANORMAN and THE BOXTROLLS. And the CEO/ President of Laika has a lot of confidence in this one, Travis Knight also directs and produces it. Another great connection is the Stark from GoT connection – Kubo is voiced from the now much alive Rickon Stark, oh I mean Art Parkinson.

Sadly I missed this one for the preview on Sunday but as part of the day job played it to the audience :). Sitting in the audience was Kernel Alistair who now reviews it for you. KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS is releasing this Thursday 18th August in Australia from the peeps at Universal Pictures Australia. It runs for 101mins and is rated PG – get the entire family to this one – it will be much loved!!! All the best……………..JK.


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“The Way of A Warrior is based on humanity, love and sincerity…for the power of the body is always limited” – Morihei Ueshiba

It is by this mantra that KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS weaves together a magically animated adventure of daring escapes, frightening villains and rare sincerity. Ancient Japan is where our young hero Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson, GAME OF THRONES) begins this adventure, and it is here that we are given a taste of the wonders that are too come. In an industry where films are pumped out with an almost production line mentality, this movie stands out in its visual splendour and dedication to the creation of real emotion between the characters and viewers alike. We expect nothing less from Laika Entertainment, the masterminds behind the equally masterful stop-motion features CORALINE and PARANORMAN. Their obsession for picture perfection and a story crafted with the heart in mind has come to shine in KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS.


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From the beginning, we are enchanted with a vision of fantastical Japan, where great lengths have been run to ensure the viewer is drawn into the stories eager arms. It starts off like any story does, with an opener – “If you must blink, do it now” – and you are then taken on a thrilling ride to one of the world’s most ancient lands, accompanied by the soothing tones of a shamisen. The women weave their baskets, the children laugh and play and families pay their respects at the local graveyard. To top it all off, we are delighted by the instrumental wizardry of poor young Kubo who weaves a story almost as well as the one we are being told, with nothing but little sheets of paper and one eye.


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However, like any story with a beginning, there must a be a moment of calamity to thrust our hero upon the path of self-discovery.  The destruction of Kubo’s home town by his magically villainous aunties serves as just this thrust. It is here the the stories Kubo tells in the local marketplace of the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS) and his heavenly powerful family, come to life. Accompanied by a Monkey (Charlize Theron, MAD MAX) and a Beetle (Matthew McConaughey, INTERSTELLAR), Kubo goes on a quest to find an ancient set of armour to defeat the Moon King and free himself from the constant fear of persecution.

The ability of the film to capture the reality of relationships is what gives this odyssey a surprising amount of humanity and real emotion, while amidst a whirlwind of towering skeletons, giant eyeballs and eerily creepy witches. Monkey and Beetle exemplify this ability, with a perfect balance struck between Monkey’s sassy, hardline, attitude and Beetle’s loveable buffoonery. You would be happy to catch such chemistry in a film with live actors.

An uncompromising attitude towards the film’s targeted audience also provides a refreshing change of pace. Despite being marketed to children, the film features many dark elements and macabre themes. The loss of one’s parents, the killing of family, drowning and even Kubo only has one eye because his grandfather stole the other one when he was a baby (hectic). However, these moments seemed to be lost on the younger audience through a tapestry of colourful characters, daring adventures and fantastic animation.


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Overall, it is the passion for the story and love for the craft which sets KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS apart from the other animations in 2016. It pays homage to the great animation classics of yesteryear, like THE LION KING and PINOCCHIO, through its unrelenting pursuit of a moral lesson via an intricate web of fabricated magic and wonder. For Kubo, that lesson is one hard learned. Confronted by his grandfather who wishes to take Kubo’s other eye, he learns that humanity is as much about love, happiness and joy as it is about loss, grief and sorrow. These memories are what make a person human, and stronger through time – a Warrior is based on humanity, love and sincerity…for the power of the body is always limited. A great ending to a great story.

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS is a truly touching story of discovery, loss and triumph which will appeal to all ages.


4 Pops




Kernel Alistair has been and will be a lover of movies from when Marlon Brando first amazed as Stanley Kowalski to the day that we see the 100th Marvel film. They can amaze, excite, incite and ignite the viewer and here’s hoping he can help you find which ones.

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.


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