Pixar are the kings of computer animation, but when it comes to the over century old film technique of stop-motion animation, Laikia Films are the masters at their craft. Over the last decade, Laikia has revived the animated style that almost went extinct in favor of computers with films like Coraline, ParanNorman and most recently The Boxtrolls. The animation studio proved there was still an audience for this lost art that was a cultural phenomena with TV Holiday programing in the 1960s and 1970s. Now Laikia is not only showing they are the best at what they do, but also a force to be reckoned with in the future of film animation with their new film Kubo and the Two Strings.

For those looking for an original story not based on a comic, book or previous film, look no farther than Kubo and the Two Strings. Set in the mystical world of ancient Japan, the film revolves around a young boy named Kubo (Voiced by Art Parkinson) and his mentally unstable mother. Kubo spends his days using his music and magic to tell his stories to the crowds in his village as a street performer. Looking for answers to his family’s mysterious past, Kubo awakens and evil that threatens his life. Kubo, along with his monkey protector (Charlize Theron) and a half man/half beetle samurai (Matthew McConaughey), must set out to find a magical suit of armor that will help vanquish this evil force hunting him down.

Kubo and the Two Strings is the type of movie that deserves to be talked about when it comes to cinematography and Oscar Buzz. Yes, the environment is controlled by the stop-motion animators and factors like weather and nature never come into play, but the fact is Kubo and the Two Strings is the most beautifully shot film of 2016. The size and scope of the ancient Orient world created in the film is something to visually behold. You will stare at the screen as if it was a huge kaleidoscope of colorful images dancing around in a gorgeous visual feast.

From the snowflake on a monkey’s whisker to the battle scenes with some of the best choreographed fights on-screen this year, Kubo and the Two Strings is a wonder to watch. This is not a film to go cheap on. If you can afford the 3-D ticket, pay the extra money and enjoy the beauty on-screen. The only negative to the film would be the final act and the message it attempts to deliver. After seeing numerous magical fights between Kubo and his enemies that surpass many of the big budget live action films in theaters, the film flounders a bit in its lackluster climax that doesn’t live up to the rest of the film’s big moments. Even with a somewhat “that’s it?” type of ending, you can’t ignore the stunning spectacle Laikia delivers with Kubo and the Two Strings. In this film’s case, one can survive on beauty alone.

Overall, I give Kubo and the Two Strings 3 out of 4 stars.

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Read all T.M.’s reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell


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