“Kubo and the Two Strings” #ConTENders 2016 *Spoiler-Free

I just witnessed one of the best-animated films of 2016 and a #ConTENder for the Top Ten of 2016; period. That film is the fourth feature from acclaimed stop-motion animation company, Laika:


Kubo and the Two Strings has big shoes to fill, as the preceding films from Laika; Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls, all proved that there was room amongst the stronghold that other companies such as Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks commanded over the animated feature film realm.

The film follows a young named, you guessed it, Strings, as he takes care of his catatonic mother and supports her by telling stories in a nearby village. But there is a magical element to the family, and his two aunts and grandfather hunt for Kubo nightly, in hopes that he will join them in their plane of existence.

Kubo is thrust from his home and befriends a monkey named Monkey (okay, the Strings joke was cute, but this is actually the monkey’s name), a samurai warrior beetle named Beetle, and a small, paper samurai. Together they hunt for the three pieces of armor that can defeat the enemy.

But how they do it is what makes this film really shine. The movie’s themes and overall message are what truly elevates this film from the mediocre crowd of other animated films. Laika has consistently crafted a phenomenal story for each of their films, culminating in what I believe to be their best thus far.

Not only has the storytelling “improved” in this effort, but the animation is flawless; featuring gorgeous vistas, meticulously crafted characters, and brilliant art design.

Hard to believe this film is stop motion.

Kubo and the Two Strings has some adult undertones, but it’s a kid’s movie through and through. Kid’s movies these days almost always speak to the entire audience, the embodiment of the four-quadrant movie, and Kubo perfectly treads that line.

And in light of that fact, I highly recommend you take your entire family to see this film, as the message they will receive will be a positive and uplifting one to counteract the face of this negative news cycle in which we find ourselves drowning. These types of films not only renew my desire to make my own films, but they replenish my hope in quality storytelling for future generations.

-Jamie (@GuyOnAWire)

Keep up to date with which films may make my Top 10 of 2016 by clicking here.

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