Kubo lives a quiet, normal life in a small shoreside village until a spirit from the past turns his life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta. This causes all sorts of havoc as gods and monsters chase Kubo who, in order to survive, must locate a magical suit of armor once worn by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior.
George Takei's character is named Hosato. Takei's real-life full name is George Hosato Takei. See more »
When Kubo flies upward to return home he is missing his sword. When he lands, his sword is at his side. See more »
If you must blink, do it now. Pay careful attention to everything you see and hear, no matter how unusual it may seem. And please be warned: If you fidget, if you look away, if you forget any part of what I tell you - even for an instant - then our hero will surely perish.
His name is Kubo. His grandfather stole something from him. And that really is the least of it.
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The Focus Features and Laika logos in the beginning are formed by folding/unfolding sheets of paper, representing Kubo's origami figures. See more »
I expected big things from Kubo. Those expectations were met on a purely superficial level. The film looks beautiful and the meticulousness of the stop motion craft is clear for all to see, but the story had major problems.
After the striking opening of mother and son caught in a tumultuous storm that dashes them against rocks and washes both ashore, we have a watchable, if slightly dull 20 minutes of exposition and establishing character goals before it quickly devolves into a predictable rehash of the 3 act hero structure. The young, one-eyed, but infinitely resourceful Kubo sets off on a quest to find 3 fabled pieces of armour so he can do battle with his evil grandfather up in the heavens, who just can't stand humans and their silly "feels" (but you know of course that 'feels' are exactly what will triumph in the end (cue eye-roll)).
The ease in which Kubo finds these items in such quick succession doesn't really feel suitably epic and there's no real sense of how far he actually has to travel, he just always conveniently ends up right where he needs to be. There's no real sense of danger either, despite the odious threat of his sinister aunts coming to steal his good eye so they might blind him to humanity, you never once feel like this might actually happen.
Overall, it felt to me like the writers thought up a bunch of cool set pieces they could throw at the viewer, and then tried to weave a script around those. The 'banter' between Kubo's companions Monkey and Beatle, serves as empty filler between action sequences; Their constant squabbling is over-played and annoying. It also bugged me that despite the lovingly realized visual depiction of ancient Japan, the characters acted and sounded so American.
The menacing twin aunts (voiced by Rooney Mara) and the fantastic origami action were high points and very entertaining. However, mostly I was bored and consciously predicting lazy story arcs. It just wasn't a satisfying experience and it's a shame for Laika to spend so much time and effort crafting animation for a contrived, generic story which failed to deliver any emotional weight.
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