Saturday, September 03, 2016


© by Gerald So | | 5:00 A.M.

Tropical Depression 9/Hurricane Hermine blew away our planned family road trip to Florida, from where I would have gone on to New Orleans and Bouchercon, so instead my brother and I spent his second of ten days off watching the latest stop-motion animated movie from Laika Entertainment.

Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson) is born from a love affair between one of the Moon King's immortal daughters (Charlize Theron) and the mortal samurai Hanzo. For her defiance and for attempting to shield Kubo from the Moon King, Kubo's mother is banished to earth. Lucid only for moments each day, her fuzzy memories become stories she tells Kubo. In turn, Kubo tells stories with origami that magically come to life as he plays his shamisen.

Still very protective of Kubo, his mother warns him never to stay out past sundown or the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) will see and steal him away. One day, while trying to pray to his father, Kubo does stay out too late, and the movie kicks into gear as he breathlessly tries to escape the Moon King, aided only by a monkey charm imbued with life by the last of his mother's magic and by a samurai-turned-beetle they meet (Matthew McConaughey).

Poignantly acted, beautifully animated, boldly original, Kubo and the Two Strings unfolded in ways I couldn't predict and had to watch.

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