It’s a shame that more people didn’t see this movie in theaters, because it has some of the coolest visuals. This is by far the best film that Laika, the studio behind Coraline, Paranorman, and The Boxtrolls, has ever made. Unfortunately, it didn’t get the best box office numbers, but hopefully it will get what it deserves now that it’s on DVD/Blu-Ray.
This movie is about the young boy Kubo, a one eyed storyteller who has to go on a quest to collect several mystical artifacts in order to fight against an ancient evil from his past that has resurfaced.
Spoiler Warning: If you must stop reading, do it now
The lessons in this movie are one of the best parts of it. Kubo being just a mere storyteller at the beginning is an important detail throughout the movie, showing us that people may die, but stories and memories of them live on. Kubo had no memory of his father, but felt like he had known him due to the stories that his mother told, and passed on those stories to the other people in the village, so that they could remember him as well.
At the climax of the movie, Kubo, the spirits of deceased villagers, and the magic of memories cause the villain, known as The Moon King/Kubo’s grandfather, to gain a human form, losing all of his own memories in the process. Instead of telling him of the evil being he had once been, the villagers show their forgiveness & compassion, and one by one tell him about how he is the kindest man in the village and has helped them all in various ways.
Memories really do hold value, unfortunately sometimes we get a bit obsessed with trying to relive our old ones because of how often our lives change. It’s more beneficial to make new positive memories as a way to honor the old ones that we believe are so important to who we are and who we become. Kubo only had his family back together for a brief period of time, not being able to make many memories with them, but realizes that they will still always be with him in spirit. Knowing that, he feels he can continue on with his own life and his own story, creating new memories along the way
The villain loses his memories, but this is a good thing, since his own memories and negativity seem to have been what caused him to be evil and have a warped view of the world. The villagers choose to create positive memories for him so that he can live a much happier life alongside his grandson.
Bad memories can cause us to be negative about many different things in our lives, but since we can’t change them, we should try our best not to dwell on them. We have to be able to learn from our past experiences so that we can improve those in the future. Eventually our many positive memories will outnumber the bad ones, and while we shouldn’t ignore them, we should always remember the bad ones, so that our positive experiences will feel even better.
I highly recommend Kubo & the Two Strings to anyone interested in film, stop motion animation, animation in general, or even those who are just curious and want to look into it more.