“If you must blink, do it now,” the titular character begins in Kubo and the Two Strings, a warning viewers will be eager to heed, as they won’t want to miss a second of Laika’s latest masterpiece.
The magical story follows a young boy named Kubo (voiced by Game of Thrones’ Art Parkinson), who weaves spellbinding stories in his village with his shamisen (a Japanese guitar) and impressive, origami creatures who come to life through his tunes.
Kubo lives an exciting, fantastical life through his stories, while his reality is a bit more bleak and restricted.
He lives with his ill mother – his father having perished some time ago while trying to protect the two of them – in the cave of a cliff, secluded from the nearby village.
Kubo’s life is quite isolated by his mother’s strict rules, which have been set in place to protect him from vengeful spirits that wish to do him harm.
As with many great adventures, the story begins as Kubo, frustrated by his mother’s strict rules, breaks the most important one – not to stay out after dark – unleashing a danger the young boy didn’t think possible.
He sets off on a journey to find a magical suit of armor that can help protect him from his foes, joined by an enchanted, origami warrior, a talking monkey (voiced by Charlize Theron), and a beetle samurai warrior (voiced by Matthew McConaughey).
The film is the fourth from dazzling stop-motion animation company Laika, which has already wowed audiences with Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls.
And they did not disappoint with their latest tale, with Travis Knight’s Kubo putting the company’s sizable skills to use to an unforgettable effect.
Shortly after leaving the theater you’ll find yourself already wishing you could see it again. And special exhibitions at Universal Studios Hollywood and the Japanese American National Museum only add to the fascination surrounding the stop-motion picture, and the unbelievably impressive work that went into it.
Picture: a flock of origami birds shrouded in mesmerizing, soft, rainbow lighting and handmade clothing so tiny you’ll lose time trying to fathom how it’s possible to have imbued them with such detail.
If you can find yourself at one of Laika’s displays, I would highly recommend it. Seeing the pieces in person only solidifies the wonder and amazement at such beautiful creations. Otherwise, the least you can do is get to your local theater as soon as possible because if not, you’ll kick yourself for not having seen this work of art in the theater.