I spy with my one eye…
A supernatural instrument, talking animals and creepy aunts galore – Kubo slices in as the fourth addition to LAIKA’s animated line-up, following Coraline and ParaNorman, and it’s another gorgeously peculiar tale.
Young Kubo (Art Parkinson) spends his days using his magical shamisen and origami to bring extraordinary stories to life in his small town. Much to the dismay of the story-devoted townsfolk, he never seems to provide an ending. But when he accidentally summons a vengeful spirit from the heavens, Kubo begins to live out the tales himself.
Armed only with his mystical instrument, Kubo and his allies – the protectively cynical Monkey (Charlize Theron) and the fearless yet childish Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) – embark on a journey to collect the three parts of his late father’s mystical armour, in order to defeat the spirit and the monsters that stand in his path.
Straight off the bat, Kubo blows its LAIKA predecessors out of the water in terms of beauty. Stop-motion is a charming medium that the studio has dominated since 2009, and once again it creates a magnificent land to explore. But unfortunately many of the jokes don’t quite land with an older audience, being predominantly aimed at kids. However, the film is not short of heartfelt moments.
A surprising highlight comes in the form of the Sisters, voiced by Rooney Mara. If you’re looking for some of that trademark Coraline creepiness, this is where you’ll find it – her spine-chilling laugh alone will haunt your dreams.
Aside from the mildly flat jokes and generally predictable plot points, this is as magically charming as LAIKA’s previous offerings, with the divine music of the shamisen bound to lift your spirits.
In cinemas: August 18, 2016
Starring: The voices of Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Art Parkinson
Directed by: Travis Knight