Mr C and I came out of Sunday morning’s advance screening of Kubo and The Two Strings and both found ourselves a little bit speechless about what we’d just seen. Kubo is quite simply one of the most artistically stunning films I’ve seen in a long time, but boy is it dark too.
Kubo is a small Japanese boy who lives with his ill mother in a cave just outside a small village. As a young baby he lost an eye at the hand of his Grandfather, Moon King. Every day Kubo goes into the village and tells magical stories mainly about a Samurai warrior called Hanzo (Kubo’s missing father) that are acted out by magnificent origami creations. But, as soon as the bell rings to signify sunset Kubo rushes home. His mother has taught him that if he is out in the dark his evil Aunts and Grandfather will come to remove his remaining eye.
One day Kubo learns about a ceremony in which people can talk to deceased loved ones. He decides to go to the cemetery in an attempt to talk to his dead father, but his father does not respond. Kubo is angry, but he’s also broken his mother’s golden rule and has been out after dark. In what is probably one of the scariest parts of the film, Kubo’s Aunts arrive as a pair of identical floating witches and they try to take his remaining eye.
As his Aunts destroy the village Kubo’s mother uses her final power to send Kubo away and she tells him to find his late father’s armour which will protect him from his grandfather.
Kubo awakes in a snowy scene and finds himself with Monkey who takes it upon herself to guide him in his quest to find the armour. They are joined by “Little Hanzo” one of Kubo’s origami creations. Little Hanzo guides them to where to find his father’s armour and they are greeted by Beetle, a samurai who claimed to have served Kubo’s father. Together the three of them embark on a further adventure to try and find the rest of the armour and the answers to many questions that Kubo has.
As I mentioned before Kubo and The Two Strings is a dark, dark film. Right from the start where you see a small baby having lost an eye at the hand of his grandfather there is almost a sense of threat hanging in the air throughout the whole film. The witch-like Aunts are quite frankly scary, and some of the other scenes involving a giant skeleton and other monsters had the kids squirming in their seats a bit too. But, both kids came out saying how much they had enjoyed the film too and since they’ve not spoken about any scary bits, only what they enjoyed.
Kubo and The Two Strings really is a stunning film with wonderful stop-motion animation and as an adult I really enjoyed the storyline which really had me quite caught up in it. Having been there with my (very nearly) four and six year olds though the film was a bit old for them, and I luckily think that some of the scarier bits of the storyline went over their heads somewhat. That PG certificate is obviously there for a very good reason, and I can see how older kids would absolutely love the film, much as Mr C and I did.
Kubo and The Two Strings is out in cinemas in the UK on Friday 9th September 2016 and had a PG certificate.
Disclaimer: We were invited as guests to the Kubo and The Two Strings Screening and accompanying Fun in the Foyer event. All opinions remain my own.