Kubo and the Two Strings

by Justin Johnson

Kubo 1In case your time is short, let me start of by saying go see this movie.  Its easily one of my favorite movies of all time.  Kubo and the Two Strings tells the story of a young child who as an infant in the opening scenes is on the run with his mother and attacked by some mysterious force.  Later in life, Kubo is tending to his mother who appears to be suffering from some sort of dementia.  When Kubo is not tending to his mother’s needs, he goes to town to tell his amazing stories and use his magic to bring Origami figures to life.  Every evening, Kubo must return by Kubo 3sun down to tend to his mother who seems invigorated by the moon and yet still suffers from some mysterious illness.  When attacked again, a story of adventure and discovery is set in motion. Kubo will travel across many a mysterious land to discover his identity and in doing so, learn the greatest story of all.

And that is what this movie has at its core, one of the greatest original screenplays in a long time.  Adventure, mystery, discovery, comedy, delivered in such a meaningful format.  Had the film gone with live action or CGI, it would have lost some of its depth.  Instead, using stop motion animation, the film comes to life in a way that only can be done by Laika studios.  Having seen 4 of the previous Laika productions, it’s easy to see a maturing of their skills in using stop motion .  The result is one of the most beautiful films I have seen in a long time that can easily stand against the Pixar and DreamWorks animation studios. It’s well worth staying for some of the credits to watch the behind the scenes footage.  I for one look forward to the Blu-ray behind the scenes footage because of how good this movie looked on the big screen.

Kubo 2Back to the amazing story.  So we have a story teller, discovering his greatest story, and in doing so discovering himself.  In one dramatic moment the mom chastises the fear of death, for what is death but the end of one story and the start of an even bigger story.  What an illustration of our Christian faith!  Having discovered that we are each part of the greatest story ever told of a Father who so loved his children he sent his only Son to die for them, do we not discover our true identity in Christ?  And having discovered our true identity, do we not look forward to the bigger story to unfold in the life to come?  And that is where Kubo sends us. On an adventure of discovery and storytelling that can inspire our own journey.

7 out of 7 – yes, you heard it here, a perfect score.  This movie is rated PG and if you have seen previous Laika productions you know to expect some darker, perhaps even scary scenes as our hero fights for his story.  Kubo is an Asian tale and as such has plenty of eastern mythology and religious elements that can prove good discussion points for the older kids.