Kubo and the Two Strings - Gently Weeping
| Kubo and the Two Strings is a piece of absolute beauty. It's story is deceptively complex and magical. The thing that struck me the most while watching Kubo was the way it respects its audience. There isn't a moment in Kubo that panders or condescends. The idea of it appealing to an audience made of all ages, never once leads it to dumb down its story, restrain its emotions, or tame its fantasy. It doesn't explain itself. Instead it revels in its beauty.
Laika, the animation studio behind Kubo rivals Studio Ghibli and Pixar for making truly beautiful films, both in terms of their visuals and their stories (and throw music in there too). For most of the film I just sat there aghast at how gorgeous everything was I was watching. After sitting through a trailer for the latest CGI kiddie film hitting multiplexes, to then experience a film a visually lush as Kubo put this into stark relief. There is very little better to go see than a Laika film and Kubo is a stunning addition to their oeuvre. For those interested, I am sure that watching extras about how this film was made on the bluray will be almost as remarkable as watching the film itself. But for those who just want to be overwhelmed by beauty, find the biggest screen you can find it playing on.
But the depth of the beauty here isn't limited to the visuals. This truly original story, told in a traditional hero's journey style, is inspiring. It's the kind of tale that doesn't simply move from plot point to plot point. It requires reflection. Not everything that occurs in Kubo is concrete. Instead there is a rich density to the plot which asks you to sit with it. Having said that the film with it's sense of loving warmth and dashes of charming humour, remains entirely entertaining.
Kubo and the Two Strings is the sort of magical film which a young child will grow up remembering (like my generation might remember Labyrinth) fondly, perhaps as an early introduction to just how magical film can be. That film isn't just a time filler, a baby sitter, it can be something transformative. For those of us a bit older, it is just simply a beautiful experience to be savored.
And Regina Spektor's divine cover of As My Guitar Gently Weeps is equally mesmerizing.