Kubo is a gifted musician, with his guitar he can make his stories come alive for the townspeople who gather and are instantly enthralled by the epic journey’s of his characters. But as soon as the bell tolls – signalling the setting sun – Kubo stops everything and heads of home where his life isn’t as animated as the stories he tells.
Kubo is a fantastic character. You route (root?) for him to succeed at every step. You feel for him and his home life, the sadness and disappointment he feels over his mothers condition and inability to fully care for him. The way he steps up to take care of her, and the youthfulness that still penetrates everything he does – as strong as he has to be, he is still just a confused little boy.
Another of my favourite characters was Mr Monkey, Kubo’s protector. What’s so great about her is that she isn’t that bumbling sidekick that you expect to see. She is strong, straightforward, funny and no nonsense, keeping the group grounded and focused and never hesitating when it comes to keeping Kubo protected.
The story is actually a little chilling when you think about it. The details are a little vague but the thought of having to run for your life because the Moon King wants your other eye is enough to freak anyone out. Coming off of this point, I love that there was no explanation for anything. There was no “why” to Kubo’s magic, there was no “why” to the Moon King, or the fantasies that existed in the world – it all just was, which made you simple except the way things were and enjoy the story.
Kubo and the two strings feels like a fable, and with every fable there is a beginning, a middle, an end and of course a moral. Expertly told in 102 minutes this film hits all the right beats of a fable woven together with Eastern Asian style music that was present throughout. Coupled with the animation it often reminded me of one of my favourite shows; Avatar: The Last Airbender.
That being said… For me, the ending fell incredibly flat, a patch up job to bring the film to it’s conclusion. Which was a let down, but at the end of the day, the moral of the story was clear and for the films target audience I doubt they would bat an eyelid at the way things concluded… but for me and the three other adults that were in the cinema… they could have put a little more effort into it especially after the whirlwind adventure and emotional connections we built with the characters.