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Kubo And The Two Strings: LAIKA Studios Edition Blu-ray Review

“Kubo And The Two Strings” is another visually stunning LAIKA film.

Directed by Travis Knight, 2016’s “Kubo And The Two Strings” revolves around the titular character who is a one-eyed kid. When he’s not taking care of his ill mother Sariatu, Kubo plays a stringed musical instrument and tells stories with origami about his samurai father (Hanzo). Alas, he never has an ending to the story because he doesn’t quite know what happened to his father. Sariatu has forbidden Kubo to stay out after dark so as to avoid his apparently evil aunts and grandfather. Alas, Kubo does stay out of dark and soon finds himself encountering his evil aunts. Sariatu saves the day and sends Kubo on a quest to find the fabled special armor and sword which can protect him. Aiding him on his journey is a toy snow monkey come to life and a samurai turned beetle (both of whom aren’t quite what they seem). Can Kubo find the armor and sword and survive his aunts and grandfather who have their own evil agenda?

From a visual standpoint, “Kubo And The Two Strings” is arguably LAIKA’s most stunning movie. The towering monsters (ala the giant skeleton), the character designs, the character outfits and the numerous natural environments represent stop-motion animation at its finest. It’s truly remarkable how director Travis Knight and the entire LAIKA staff were able to make these creations. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of tireless work that went into each and every frame. 

Story wise, the script by Chris Butler and Mark Haimes certainly deserves credit for being both original and cerebral. This is not your usual animated feature. It’s a complex and magical story about grief, storytelling, life, humanity, fear, memories, and family. It’s complexity is also a bit of an issue as the movie can be a frustrating blend of reality and fiction that lacks the fun of LAIKA’s other work. It’s a bit too self serious to a fault. Still, there’s plenty of adventure, rich characterization and humor to liven things up.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.40:1 1080p. How does it look? The splendid visuals look even more splendid in 1080p. Great transfer.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? In a word, dynamic.

Extras:
* DVD copy
* A booklet with photos and a review by film critic Charles Solomon
* Commentary by Travis Knight
* “Kubo And The Two Strings” trailer
* Feature-length storyboards
* Character art, concept art and behind the scenes still galleries.
* “The Myth Of Kubo”- An extra about themes and scale of this movie.
* “Corners Of The Earth”- A look at the epic sets/locations.
* “Kubo’s Journey”- A multi-part extra that features an intro and epilogue by Travis Knight that explores the film’s inspirations, monsters, animation underwater and music.
* 2 new “Inside LAIKA” extras titled “Confronting The Epic Challenges Of Kubo And The Two Strings” (about the technical stop-motion issues) and “Revisiting The Puppets With LAIKA’s Animation Team.”

October 4, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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