Featuring The Voices Of: Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, George Takei, Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa
Directed By: Travis Knight
Plot: A young boy named Kubo (Parkinson) embarks on a quest to find three pieces of armor. He is accompanied by a monkey (Theron) and a beetle warrior (McConaughey), and is fleeing from his aunts (Mara) who are looking to take his eye. Kubo possesses magic, but doesn’t really know how to use it.
What Works: Beautiful stop-motion animation. Talk about lovingly created. Laika always does great work. Their best work is probably Coraline, and not Kubo though. Kubo is definitely inventive, and highly original. There’s a great story in here about family, and what you make of it. I think at times, Kubo gets caught up in its originality, and the story would be a little hard for kids to follow at times. This is the kind of film you could go to the bathroom and come back confused. But, I give it points for originality and also execution. Stunning visual work.
What Doesn’t Work: Sometimes it’s hard to figure out, and sometimes you see something coming a mile away. It’s a give and take. I figured out who the monkey and beetle warrior were a long time ago. It’s a little dark for a kids film. I know that could be said about Coraline too, but I liked Coraline a bit more. It’s a strong animated work, for sure, but in a year that gave us Zootopia and Moana, there have been stronger works.
Final Word: Kubo is an OK addition to Laika’s collection, and will be remembered more for how it looked than how it actually played out. I’d be careful showing this to little ones, as it can be scary, and sometimes traumatic for them. If you wouldn’t show them Coraline, I wouldn’t show them this. Older kids might enjoy the adventure though.
Final Grade: B