Kubo and the Two Strings
September 12, 2016
I have to be honest, my favorite part of this may have been the first line: “If you must blink, do it now.” It’s a storyteller’s first line — main character Kubo is a storyteller, and the line gets repeated twice more through the movie. As an attention-getting intro, it worked splendidly, and I started thinking about the idea of a one-sentence prologue. A single line that’s sharp enough to hook a reader, that may not necessarily flow straight into the next line or even the rest of the story. A storyteller’s summons. “I sing of arms and the man…” So I do appreciate any piece of art/creativity that gets me thinking about technique and purpose and art in general, and the serendipity of encountering a piece of art that starts me thinking in a new direction that may impact my own work. How these chance encounters can sometimes become so meaningful.
The film itself had a lot of visual impact. The story was a little rote, a little predictable, and a little too long — most scenes dragged just a little bit. There seemed to be an impulse to make each battle a little longer, each character interaction a little slower, to show off the animation. The overall pacing suffered, I think. And one finds oneself asking the question of why does a Japanese story set in Japan have an all-white primary cast?
It’s a decent movie, really. I wasn’t disappointed. But I wasn’t blown away, either. Except by that first line.