Director: Travis Knight
Runtime: 1h 41m
Release Date: August 19th, 2016
Stars: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Matthew McConaughey
Synopsis: A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
"If you must blink, do it now. Pay careful attention to everything you see no matter how unusual it may seem. If you look away, even for an instant, then our hero will surely perish."
I went to go see this movie with some of my friends for one of their birthdays. Because of this, I had seen maybe one ad, and knew next to nothing about it. I wouldn't have seen it on my own, probably ever, but I am glad that I did. It was a really fun outing.
The animation, of course, was amazing. I have so much respect for stop motion animation, and this film executed it magnificently. For the first few scenes, I was blown away by how crisp and beautiful everything looked. My favorite parts of the film were the fight scenes, and the scenes where Kubo used some of his magic. The animation was just so stunning that it was hard for those not to be my favorite.
The character designs were also quite impressive. Since the movie was stop motion, they all looked so physical and real (which they were), and there were all these little details that I really appreciated. I think my favorite character design was Beetle. His samurai armor made him look like a beetle! Honorable mention goes to the aunts, who had the creepy mask thing DOWN.
But, as pretty as the movie was, it was flawed. The movie went for a fairytale vibe, but by doing so it lost so much. It's just too simple. Each event leads straight to the next one, but not in a good way. There were barely any characters, but the main thing that bugged me was that there was barely any backstory! You give me a fantasy world, but I don't get any backstory, or anything explained to me at all! The people who have magic just have it. You want to know more? How did they get these powers? What's this place where the people with magic live like? What are the limitations? Too bad! No answers for you!
And I get that the no backstory thing was all part of the simple fairytale vibe, but it just didn't mesh with what I wanted.
The movie also had quite a few plot twists, but since there were so few characters it was pretty clear to me what was going to happen. To be fair, I saw this movie with a friend and she was honestly shocked at every twist, so that might just be me. To be even more fair, one of the plot twists actually did shock me.
One last complaint, Monkey's character motivation for keeping things from Kubo made no sense.
The movie's aesthetic was also very nice. The sets were great, and I loved the Japanese style that the movie was going for. Most of the movies I see are set in Western settings, so it's nice to mix it up!
To sum it up, this movie is beautiful and skillfully done, but the plot just didn't really do it for me.