Overall Rating: 4/5
August 19, 2016
Dir. Travis Knight
Rated PG (for thematic elements, scary images, action and peril)
Kubo may be the single best animated feature of the year and for many reasons. Receiving two Oscar nominations, this film utilizes a mixture of animation techniques including CGI and stop-motion to create something really cool visually. The mixture of CGI with such carefully created physical artwork (such as whole sets, miniatures, matte paintings, etc.) creates a stunning environment– one that helps tell this mythological tale.
So lets talk about the story. Most of what makes this film so great is its expert writing. The story is fairly simple, yet it stands out in so many ways. As far as children’s films go, Kubo is uniquely grave and thought-provoking, bringing a lot to the table for adults. However, it is very conscientious of its younger audience members as well, keeping the action scenes exciting and scattering in just the right amount and kind of humor at the appropriate moments (Matthew McConaughey does an excellent job of delivering this comic relief). The action scenes, while fun to watch, are actually my main (and maybe only) complaint about the film. It felt a tad too “cartoonish” at times, somewhat detracting from the heavy subject matter and adult-oriented appeal of the film.
Kubo has a star-studded cast with excellent voice-acting from all, incredible (and memorable) animation, and, above all, a great story. A must-see for all ages.