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‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ Review Roundup: Critics Rave Over Laika Triumph

Critics have great things to say about the star-studded animated feature, directed by Travis Knight.

Kubo and the Two Strings

“Kubo and the Two Strings”

Focus Features

In animated feature “Kubo and the Two Strings,” a young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past. The film, directed by Travis Knight, boast a starry voice cast including Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Matthew McConaughey, and Rooney Mara. Thanks to critics’ raves, the family film has been building buzz ahead of its August 19th release.

Here’s what they’re saying:

IndieWire’s David Ehrlich gave the movie an A-grade and called it a “stop-motion masterpiece… Kubo” is “staggeringly beautiful and immensely true, the best animated film of 2016 — one of the year’s best films of any kind, really — is a stop-motion fable about a one-eyed boy in mythical Japan that was made by a team of gifted visionaries in an Oregon warehouse.”

READ MORE: Review: ‘Kubo And The Two Strings’ Is A Stop-Motion Masterpiece

Peter Debruge of Variety agreed: “With its staggering visuals and genuine heart, Laika chief Travis Knight’s fantastical samurai adventure puts the emotion in stop-motion…With such awe-inspiring artistry, designed so as to never distract from the material it serves, ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ stands as the sort of film that feels richer with each successive viewing, from the paper-folded Laika logo at the beginning (an early taste of the stunning origami sequences to follow) to the emotional resonance of its final shot.”

“A thoroughly engaging animated adventure,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter’s Michael Rechtshaffen. “Representing a dazzling artistic leap forward for LAIKA, the stop-motion animation studio’s fourth feature — and first full-blown fantasy — is an eye-popping delight that deftly blends colorful folklore with gorgeous, origami-informed visuals to immersive effect.”

READ MORE: ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ Trailer: Charlize Theron’s Talking Monkey Encourages the Young Hero Not to Die

Sam Adams of The Wrap also gushed: “‘Kubo’ outshines virtually everything that the major studios have put into multiplexes this year.” While the movie is not flawless, he adds, “there’s real magic in it, and that’s more important, and no less rare, than perfection.”

The Verge’s Bryan Bishop also raved: “The movie is a huge swing, and delivers a level of visual wonder and magic that the likes of Pixar or Disney Animation simply can’t match, not even when they push themselves with something like ‘Inside Out.’ Part of it is the nature of stop-motion animation itself; there’s something about the physical reality of frame-by-frame puppeteering that will always create a tactile sense of wonder that can’t be duplicated in any other way.”

“It offers a powerful metaphor for the manner in which we carry the memories of our departed inside ourselves,” stated Slant Magazine’s Oleg Ivanov. “Kubo’s music is his greatest weapon in his fight against the powers that tore his family apart, an apt metaphor for the film’s underlying message about art’s ability to provide personal healing while treating larger social wounds.”

READ MORE: ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ Interactive Featurette: Explore the Vastlands of Laika’s Animated Adventure

“Kubo and the Two Strings” will be released in theaters on August 19.

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