Kubo and the Two Strings ★★★½

Living with his damaged mother on the outskirts of a small town Kubo is a boy who grew up on stories of his warrior father, Hanzo, who died to save Kubo and his mother as well as Kubo's remaining eye fro the Moon King. Empowered with a string guitar and a stack of paper Kubo goes on a journey to finish his father's work.

I loved the stop animation and puppetry that was used for this animation. It was so beautiful and even if the story suffered some the movie was well worth the watch for the craftsmanship alone. I loved the way the look of the characters were developed to the leaf paper ship to his 2 scary mask wearing aunts to the dragon at the end. Wow!

I was taken with Kubo and his mother right off the bat. I loved how he loved and supported her through this rough time. His master storytelling was born out of a love for his parent, even a father he'd never met. This relationship and the time here in the beginning together was the bedrock of the entire movie to me. Then we meet this monkey and the beetle warrior who is creepy and funny and heartwarming all at the same time. I figured out the little twists here (it really is a very simple and basic story) but it wasn't about the pit stops so much as the journey Kubo went on to learn about his family and his parents.

I didn't like the ending much. I wasn't impressed by the stupid reasoning of the grandfather nor the subtextual bashing that went part and parcel with his reasoning. Poor Kubo wasn't a part of that and so I forgive him the end!

BOTTOM LINE: Beautiful and charming Kubo and his quirky parents are a must!