Review: Kubo And The Two Strings (2016)


The studio behind Coraline and ParaNorman return with the magnificent Kubo And The Two Strings, their most ambitious stop-motion feature yet. Set in a fantastical Japan, young Kubo (Art Parkinson), troubled by his father’s mysterious death and mother’s illness, embarks upon a quest to locate a sacred suit of armour and defeat the powerful Moon King (Ralph Fiennes), aided by his magical shamisen and some helpful companions. The narrative is deceptively simple, the real depth drawn from the themes of loss and humanity that are tackled as Kubo’s exploration leads him down a path of thrills, adventure and discovery. Moments of humour and suspense are neatly interlaced, the latter in the form of some terrific action sequences made all the more impressive given the stop-motion medium. There’s pronounced beauty in the animation here, which stuns from its widescreen vistas to smaller, more intricate details. This is no small achievement, and Kubo And The Two Strings, with its glorious visuals and emphasis on the power of storytelling, is one of the best films of the year.

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