I don’t often review movies here but I had a pretty strong reaction to this movie I saw on Sunday and had to share what I thought.
What The Movie Is About
Kubo is an eleven year old boy. At the beginning of the movie, we see his mother risking her life on a small boat in a terrible storm trying desperately to save them both. That’s because Kubo’s grandfather is the Moon King, trying to take Kubo’s eyes, so he can live in darkness and reign over that world. The grandfather has already taken one eye and won’t rest until he takes the other.
Also, Kubo’s father, Hanzo, is dead – we presume, from fighting Moon King.
Kubo’s mom hides them in a cave atop some rocks. She rarely speaks or does anything else – her spirit is too broken. Kubo even has to feed her. During the day, Kubo treks to the village, telling magical stories with origami figures to make money but he must get back home before dark lest the moon king attacks him. But you know he’s going to be out in the dark, right? Because without it, there’ll be no movie.
The drama happens when he tries to summon his dead father’s spirit and instead calls on his evil aunts.
What I thought about it
There was definite entertainment value. Kubo’s music sounds like it would make a great soundtrack. The animation had a very Japanese anime feel, like I wasn’t just Disney TV cartoons but instead, a quite theatrical production. I liked that Kubo was very patient with his mother, that he was very respectful to his elders, and that he did what he had to without complaining. That’s a lesson I think kids should learn.
But some of the themes weren’t what I think are appropriate for children:
- Kubo lost every single person in his life before the movie was over – some of them multiple times.
- There were comparisons between the evil grandfather, Moon King, and God – both lives up in the sky, both offering immortality, both requiring something from you.
- The fact that for Kubo to live, he had to annihilate his grandfather and evil aunts. I just couldn’t understand why there wasn’t another way. I understand, not everyone sees life the way I do. I don’t expect movies to align with my philosophical and religious beliefs. But I think that this was a little heavy for the kids the movie is marketed to.
- But the main issue I had with the movie? It was misnamed: Kubo and The TWO Strings when it turns out Kubo needed THREE strings to do what he needed to do. Talk about misleading title.
Overall, the movie did its job to keep the kids entertained. I know kids don’t see the same themes I do as an adult, and the things that bothered me, they probably didn’t even notice. But it wasn’t a movie I would recommend to parents after seeing it.
Rating: 3 stars
The movie opened last weekend. Have you seen it? Will you?