Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

(On Cable TV, April 2017) At a time when streaming media (and I include recording cable TV movies on a DVR to be streaming) has taken over physical media as a way to see movies, I think that two factors can motivate a physical media purchase: Beauty and replayability. Is this something that’s worth seeing in high resolution, over and over again? Fortunately, Kubo and the Two Strings makes the grade on both aspects. From a visual perspective, it’s never less than astonishing. The mixture of stop-motion and CGI provides both the physicality and the scope required for telling an epic fantasy story. The wizards at Laika have done it again in raising the bar of what’s possible on-screen. But what makes Kubo and the Two Strings their best movie since Coraline is the sustained interest of the plot. While not groundbreaking, the Japanese influence on the film is a refreshing change of pace, and there’s enough in the film to hold our interest from beginning to end. (Paranorman ended much stronger than it started, while The Boxtrolls was dull throughout). Once you’ve got exceptional visuals and a decent plot, the rest takes care of itself. Unusually melancholic for a kid’s feature, Kubo and the Two Strings may be best appreciated by older children … and their parents. For everyone else, though, it’s a powerful demo disc for high-definition TVs. You will want to see this one more than once.

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