There is nothing quite like the love of a mother and no limits to what mothers will do to protect their children. This is the introduction to Kubo (Art Parkinson) and his life of seclusion. His mother looks to keep him safe from the watchful eye of her father, Raiden the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and her evil sisters. Kubo is allowed to go out to the local village and share his unique story-telling ability, but must return each night to the cave where they reside. One night he is distracted and puts himself in jeopardy but is protected by his mother with her siblings. In the fight between good and evil, tragedy strikes and Kubo finds himself on a quest to find a magical suit of armour that will protect him from the powers of his grandfather and his immortal ways. Along the journey, he is accompanied by Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) who work to guide and protect him in his pursuit.
Kubo and the Two Strings caused a struggle on and off screen. There is a brilliance to the storytelling style from the studios of Laika, who have produced the animation behind The Boxtrolls and Coraline. The cutting edge combination of stop-motion and computer generation methods provides a veritable visual feast. Audiences will marvel at the story from the opening credits. This animation is in support of captivating folklore from a Japanese tradition. A narrative that will capture the imagination of everyone from the avid anime fan to the parent who is looking for a safe option for their children. The voice talent is good, but can become distracting due to the Western accents being added into an Eastern storyline. This does not derail the film, but causes some confusion within the clash of cultures. Within this fascinating mix of talent, animation and dark tale within the Japanese tradition, Laika delivers a lesson on how to deliver an intense concept through the medium of animation.
The struggle off screen comes from the underlying message of the script. The westernised spin on Shintoism and ancestor worship causes a spiritual struggle. Kubo battles with the entities from the physical and spiritual realm on screen, but families will have to contend with the what they are willing to expose their children to. Even though this is not a pure depiction of the Eastern belief system, it could be an opportunity for parents to educate their children on one of the world’s belief systems. Due to the complexity of the religious and spiritual elements, this film is best suited for children past the age of 10 years . Also, it is a film best seen as a family and to allow for conversation afterward.
Kubo and the Two Strings is brilliant storytelling and a joy for all who appreciate creative ways of sharing cultures. The animation makes this worthwhile for audiences to consider, but with a warning to not disengage their brains when considering what the underlying message attempting to convey.
What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?
Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
It can be said, that God created mankind, but to say He created fathers and mothers, is not too much of a stretch. God is able to specifically convey some of his marvellous traits through the beautiful role of mothers. The role of the mother in Kubo and the Two Strings provides a depiction of motherhood that is one of love wrapped in protection, care and sacrifice. People may have different experiences with their mothers, but in God’s original plan, it can be seen that the wonderful traits of mothers are a reflection of His traits to care and love for his children.
Where do you go in the Bible to find the answers? Genesis 1-2, Proverbs 22: 22-25, Proverbs 31, Ephesians 6:2