Monday, August 22, 2016

Kubo (further in the long series - movies reviews no one is waiting for)

Yes, I did get to see Kubo and the Two Strings yesterday.

Some quick comments:

* While I knew that there would be a heavy emphasis on magic, I didn't realise it would be quite as mythological as it is.  

* I wasn't sure while watching the movie, but on checking afterwards, the matter of how it presents the Japanese tradition of welcoming the spirits of dead ancestors (and releasing them again) is entirely accurate - see these entries on the Bon Festival and Toro Nagashi at Wikipedia.   (I should explain - while I knew that there were countries that did the river lantern bit, I wasn't sure that it was done in Japan, and in this specific context.)

* I get the feeling that the theme of loss of memory might come from some particular story in Japanese folklore too, but I haven't found it yet.  And I could be wrong.  As for another explanation, as someone at a Reddit thread said, it seems quite possible that one of the writers may have personal experience with a parent with Alzheimer's.

* There are some story gaps which I would have liked to see filled.   For example, the underwater experience - it seems there should be more revealed about Kubo by the experience, but it doesn't happen.  

*  But overall:  yes, the movie looks and sounds great, and is often touching.   But I really want to see it again in better viewing conditions (there were a bunch of 12 year old boys completely uninterested in what was going on in the movie some distance in front of us, and they were distracting.)   I hate to say it, but I doubt it will be a break through financial success for Laika - the themes are too melancholic for children below about mid-Primary school level, I think; some teenagers (who really should see it) will think they are too cool to do so;  and while Laika has lots of adult fans, I'm not sure there are enough to help it make a lot more than $100 million per movie.

*  So - even if you think there is a chance you might like it - do so at a cinema now.   I'd like to see this art form by a studio with real beauty, heart and soul survive.

Message to Tim:   you would like it, I am pretty sure.

Update:   here's the top guy at Laika, saying that their next movies will be quite different.  He suggests that Kubo is like the end of a cycle.   I would say that I could see his point if it weren't for Box Trolls, as Coraline, Paranorman and Kubo all do show a great interest in supernatural, after-life issues.  


TimT said...


TimT said...

I was just saying to the Baron this morning we should see it.

Steve said...

Yes, you!

Steve said...

By the way, my daughter said it was better than her expectations, but the expectation had been very low...:)

I know my son liked it too.

TimT said...

That's a good strategy from your daughter. Can't have the parents getting too complacent. :)

TimT said...

We saw it last night and enjoyed it though we found the plot holes a bit much, too (the ending in particular made no sense). But it was good to see a hero who's main powers seemed to be music and origami and some really nice folk-taley touches to the story. I also approve of their 'no sequels' rule.

Steve said...

Glad you enjoyed it.

As for the ending: I see the aim of it - the whole movie is about storytelling*, and ends with storytelling being used to make a more positive reality. But the problem is with the speed with which the villagers understand and join in with this task. There should be more hesitancy, or something, to make it more credible.

* about 50% - maybe more - of the reviews began by quoting the opening line, which is, indeed, a very clever way to start the movie. I also quite liked the final line, too.