For Reel

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
October 2, 2016, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Travis Knight
4.5 Stars
kubo-and-the-two-stringsAs outlandish as the concepts of many American animated films become, they are often rooted in a sense of sameness—that is, rather than marveling at a world entirely unlike our own, films like Finding Nemo bring the audience pleasure in identifying the creative similarities between the animated world and our own (such as the morning routine of getting to school). What Kubo and the Two Strings takes from animation greats like Hayao Miyazaki is that it is committed to telling a highly immersive fairy tale wherein the only consistencies are the emotional truths. And, in retreating from the sameness of representing ordinary living, it all the better highlights its themes of grief and sorrow, and particularly how memories continue to define and guide us. Beyond its heartfelt emotional core, the film is visually arresting at every turn—if sometimes the use of computer-enhanced images seems to counteract the joy of stop-motion animation (there are scenes where the hand-crafted nature is all but lost), its smallest moments and gestures (including Monkey’s inventively created coat of fur) are what sticks.

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