Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings Review: A flawless piece of animation, story and creativity

The Animation Society of India (TASI) brought Laika’s phenomenal animated feature to India with the special screening of Kubo and the Two Strings today morning at Anifest India 2016. The movie from the well renowned studio received tremendous response as the Whistling Woods auditorium was packed with around 250 people to witness the first ever screening of the film on the Indian soil.  A story which has a number of stories entangled within it. With each strum of the string, a new mystery is unveiled, an unknown world is discovered and incomprehensible magical power is emerged. When you anticipate and predict the story, the plot throws another story at you to increase your curiosity and ignite your memory bulbs to connect all the dots. Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings is undoubtedly a movie with immense thought process on the storyline. Kubo and the Two Strings 4 When magic, innocence and a warrior at heart blend with each other the lead protagonist boy Kubo is born. Though he looks at you with one eye throughout the film, you will always have your eyes all over him right from his hair to his shamisen. Washed away to the shore along with his mother, Kubo grows up as a child with a bunch of unanswered questions. His traumatised mother is his constant dilemma while his long lost father is a mystery left unresolved. Rules are meant to be broken as they say and breaking the rule of returning home before dawn puts Kubo into trouble. What follows next in the plot should not be revealed or rather cannot be revealed easily in a few words. The plot just like the waves shown in the film has frequent highs and lows for it constantly makes you revive the backstory of Kubo and his parents. The past has enormous relevance in the present to change the future of the warrior boy’s journey. Kubo voiced by Art Parkinson and the Monkey voiced by Charlize Theron have an aura of their own. The distinct fur of the Monkey, her sulky attitude and witty perspective lead to creating a character which seems appealing both to the eye and the mind. While Kubo drives away the audience with his innocence, his magical art does the spell on the viewers and you literally wait to see more of the paper art (read: origami) to happen, more strings to be strummed and new creatures to be formed. You just can’t have enough! Kubo and the Two Strings 3 The other primary characters like Kubo’s mother, the Beetle voiced by Matthew McConaughey, the sisters voiced by Rooney Mara and the grandfather voiced by Ralph Fiennes enhance the story as the backstory of each character blends profusely to keep the interest level going. At few occasions, you may wonder some scenes are random, slow and a bit confusing but convince yourself with the fact – If you can understand it completely then it is probably not ‘Magic’. Walking the extra mile or experimenting what seems difficult to create has been Laika’s policy to ultimately produce something new. But in this movie, Laika has taken stop motion and puppet animation to another level as huge sets, models, puppets, background and props were created manually. Each character has been specially worked upon in terms of hair and fur creation. The paper art, costumes especially of the two sinister sisters, weapons like bow and arrow, shamisen, swords ad warrior equipments have number of real life models lying at the studio for each prop has been altered minutely to suit the bill. Kubo and the Two Strings 2 Laika has created everything in this film right from water, wind, snow to fire. In fact the scenes like the paper ship created by Kubo, birds formed out of the paper art, sinister sisters’ introduction, storm in the sea, skull skeleton battle and the lamps floating on the water will take your breath away. The list can go on because magic has no boundaries and this film has crossed the boundaries of both creativity and  technology. Animation wise it is flawless. The background score is quite intriguing as it helps build up the story and trigger the anticipation. Directed by Laika CEO Travis Knight (directorial debut), this film is well written by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler. Laika has definitely entangled many story strings to make a phenomenal collection of stories in just one movie Kubo and the Two Strings. If it was to be defined in short Kubo and the Two Strings is the perfect product of a captivating story and impeccable animation resulting out of extensive creativity and smart technology.
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