There is no two ways about it, Kubo and the Two Strings is a special film. I thought that I’d be watching a bog-standard kids movie (the huge number of toy adverts at the start added to this belief) but left the film enchanted, trying to deal with emotions that I didn’t expect I’d have to manage that day. Like… honestly, this could well grow to be one of the best animated film of modern times. The film is that real.
Kubo and the Two Strings is essentially about how a kid deals with loss – particularly the death of his parents. I’m going to be upfront and say this core theme is why this film hit me so hard. I couldn’t help but think about my father, and how I miss him almost every day while I was watching this.
The other thing that hit me was that this film is so dark and unnerving that it surprised me that it’s being pitched as a children’s film. It’s not only the subject matter of death, but this film stands apart thanks to its villains (the two aunts in this film will give you nightmares) and the dangers Kubos faces (the water monsters with the huge eyes…yuk). Those images are so nightmarishly dark and achingly creepy that I couldn’t help but think of how my four year old would react to such images (she’d be in floods of tears).
Despite this, there is a warmth and a charm that manages to thaw every moment of darkness that the film presents. Charm is the optimal word I can use to describe this film: the animation, the characters, the voice acting… damn near everything is charming. There were never moments where I laughed out loud, but there were several where the film touched my heart and I smiled or thought about my loved ones.
This film made me think about the time me and my father celebrated Tony Adams’ title winning goal against Everton in 1998. I don’t know why that was the particular memory that came to mind, but it made me smile.
To top it all off, the film ends with one of the best covers of While My Guitar Gently Weeps that I have ever heard.
Special – this film is incredibly special and is definitely worth your time.