Movie Review: Kubo and the Two Strings

"If you must blink, do it now. Pay careful attention to everything you see, no matter how unusual it may seem. If you look away, even for an instant, then our hero will surely perish."

These are the opening lines of Kubo and the Two Strings, which definitely grabbed my attention. Kubo is a stop-motion film produced by Laika (for Focus Features), and it's really not a children's movie, even though it's being marketed as such; there were some scary scenes throughout, especially with the 3D effects, that I'd recommend for children no younger than 8 years old.

Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson, Game of Thrones) lives with his mother, who isn't quite right - during the day, she is wonderful and can speak with Kubo and tell him stories, but at night, she mentally "checks out." During the day, Kubo goes to the nearby village to tell stories using the 3-stringed instrument he has - he can make origami dance to illustrate the story, too - but he must always return home by nightfall, otherwise bad things will happen, says his mother. One night, Kubo stays out a little too late, and finds himself being chased by his mother's sisters (Rooney Mara), immortal beings who want his eye to bring to his grandfather, also an immortal being. His mother uses the last of her magic to protect him, and he then finds himself on the run from the Sisters, and on a quest to fulfill his destiny.

The voice cast in this film was great. Matthew McConaughey plays Beetle, someone that Kubo encounters while on the run, and Charlize Theron plays Monkey, who helps protect Kubo on his journey. George Takei has a cameo at one point, too, as does Ralph Fiennes, and Rooney Mara plays the Sisters, who were very creepy (their mouths don't move!) and reminded me of the twins in The Shining, actually; they want to harm Kubo, too.

Yes, see this movie, and see it in 3D if you can - the 3D at the beginning of the film was just okay, but soon, images started to pop off the screen, and it was very good. I really think this is more of a movie for adults than kids, although kids will appreciate the great visuals; there's a scene were a dragon of sorts chases Kubo, and that really popped off the screen too, so I'd think that younger kids might get scared. There was also light humor throughout, which I liked, and Kubo's adventure is an interesting one; the film reminded me of a traditional Japanese tale being acted out, which in a way it actually was.

Kubo and the Two Strings
is in theaters today, August 19th, and is rated PG with a runtime of 101 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

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