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Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) *****

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) *****

Kudus to Kubo, or, more precisely, to the storytellers behind this fine piece of animation.
Directed by Travis Knight to a screenplay by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler, Kubo and the Two Strings is based on an original story written by Shannon Tindle and Marc Haimes. This 3-D stop-motion fantasy-adventure was produced by Laika, an American animation production company located in Oregon.
What sets Kubo and the Two Strings apart, aside of its extraordinary animation, is its story; a tale that feels at once ancient and original. While one will find in the film’s plot familiar elements that range from King Arthur to Indiana Jones’ Raiders of the Lost Ark, the subliminal context includes concepts pertaining to Eastern philosophy, and, of course, plenty of references to the Japanese culture, whereof the fable takes place. Ultimately Kubo and the Two Strings is a coming of age tale, yet, it follows a darker storyline where the ending does not necessarily include the formulated happy-ever-after.
Kubo and the Two Strings is Travis Knight’s first film as a director. A great debut. As trivia, Knight, who is also Laika's CEO, is the son of Phil Knight, Nike co-founder and chairman, who owns Laika.
Voices to the characters in the film were provided by Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara and George Takei; all performing impeccably and with much heart.
I also love the ending song selection -- a version of George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps wonderfully performed by Regina Spektor.
While a kiddie film, I recommend this animated story to anyone who loves fables or just enjoying a good piece of filmmaking. If I had to guess, Kubo and the Two Strings is a serious contender for the Oscars this year.

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