“If you must blink – do it now" … because otherwise you might miss one glorious microsecond of this magical film.
Kubo and the Two Strings opens with baby Kubo and his mother being washed up, Tempest-like on a strange shore. The two make their home in a cave and the years pass. By day, Kubo goes down to the nearby village where he entertains the locals with tales of a strange quest, aided by magical origami paper. By night, the cave becomes a place of terrifying magical dreams.
One day, Kubo fails to return home before dark, which triggers a series of events that leads him into a dangerous real-life quest for magical armour and answers about his own past.
Kubo and the Two Strings somehow manages to be as familiar as The Odyssey and as fresh as tomorrow's tech. It draws on traditions of knightly quests, witches, demons and Japanese ancestor worship with nods to The Journey to the West, but is as modern as the search for personal identity.
The film uses traditional stop-motion animation and draws heavily on the ancient Japanese art of paper-folding, but every scene is filled with a creativity that stands out even in this golden age of animation. And it's full of magic.
This will be the best film you see this year. Don't miss. And do not – on any account – blink.