With the internet it’s hard to discover a film by accident these days. But when I went to see The Jungle Book earlier this year I saw a trailer for Kubo. I hadn’t heard of it before and the trailer blew me away. Maybe it was the animation, maybe it was the cover of Georgie Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps?” Either way, I wanted to see it.
It was worth the wait. It was brilliant. A hard film to categorise though. I’ve seen tweets and reviews where people have commented that their children found it quite frightening and I’m not surprised. Just because the film is an animation and the main character is a child doesn’t mean this film is for kids. It’s a dark film, with chilling creatures and avoids Saturday-morning-cartoon language like “destroy” and “finish” and uses terms like “kill” and “die” fairly freely. Kubo doesn’t hold back and because of that it has more depth and the stakes in the film feel much more real. The plot is fairly predictable but that doesn’t diminish the story at all. The characters are fun and well rounded and excellently performed by the actors and animators and the score is sublime.
But above all, the animation is the real star in this film. I can’t praise it enough. It’s amazing. I don’t know how they did half of it. It might as well be the magic that Kubo performs in the film for all I can comprehend. A mixture of all kinds of animation crafts seem to have been fused together to create a beautiful and flawless world. I sometimes forgot I was watching an animation because the world they’d made was so convincing. Breathtaking work. And the credits contained an impressive little preview to how they created one of the more spectacular scenes. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all, the animation team really doesn’t mess around. I really hope there’s tonnes of behind-the-scenes stuff on the blu-ray.
“If you must blink, do it now.” The most appropriate opening dialogue of all time.