Update: I have come the the realization that the score I have given Kubo and the Two Strings is in fact very much appropriate. Kubo is a testament to art and its place here in the movie medium. I am of course referring to the stop motion portion of movies. In the initial review I said the the story was "sound and a safe bet", this holds true, but there is more context to be added. The story is not what you would go see this movie for, its the animation. The story is average and its one good hidden symbolism is given away by the movie later on. But more importantly is that my opinion doesn't change that you should go see the movie. If the story is generic and doesn't necessarily hurt or help the movie, then the main draw is the stop motion animation. If the stop motion was scored just by itself, it would be a 10/10 because the artists at Laika really have outdone themselves.
Original: The summer movie going season has been very dry compared to years past. It seemed to have started off strong, but has taken a bland turn for the worst. Enter Laika's Kubo and the Two Strings. I had seen the trailer and initially thought it was just another claymation movie from Laika, but after seeing the movie I understand what that statement means now. Kubo is not only the most advanced movie Laika has made yet, but also the most adventurous. That's good since the movie is one big adventure.
Kubo and the Two Strings starts off with a voice over from Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson) and it is here where the nuanced genius of the movie starts. The movie takes the road of subtle storytelling progression to heart and subtly lets you in on it's secrets. This movie will not only pull on your heart strings, two of them in fact, but also surprise you along the way. This movie has a couple of surprises up its sleeve that I never saw coming, and am glad that I was not looking for them either. From a storytelling perspective, this movie is sound and a safe bet with your time.
Kubo's quest is a simple one, acquire three mystic items to fight in the last act. From the beginning of the movie to obtaining the first item, this movie was perfect. The pacing, the story build up, and world building were just right. The first signs of danger come after the first item has been found by the main character. Here is where pacing becomes a little rushed, not really giving the second piece it's due diligence. Now to be fair, there was an action sequence during this time in which the movie drops a little hint to the audience that is invaluable. This subtly in the movie helps push the story forward while still remaining focused on the action at hand. It just felt like a little more time could have been taken to give that piece, and the dangers surrounding it, a little bit more screen time.
Other than the dependencies and praise stated above, this movie had some great humor. It kept the feeling light and an overall good vibe throughout the movie. There isn't too much holding this movie back from being really great and just comes down to personal preference. This is a perfectly solid movie that might make you cry, and to be perfectly honest I might have too if I didn't go see it with my friends.
I don't know why this movie didn't really resonate with me, but I am definitely going to see it again. I would hope that you don't just look at the score I give it because I don't think that it is representative of the work of art that I saw. Just a warning since the score is low. I will update this post if I see it again and have a better response to it.