Kubo lives in a cave with his mother, who he cares for in her semi-catatonic state. For short periods she revives and tells wonderful stories about warrior heroes on brave quests, stories acted out by origami figures. Life is hard, but good – until Kubo breaks the one rule: he must always be back in the cave by nightfall.
He has never known why this rule was so important, but now he discovers what he was being protected from. Now that protection is gone, Kubo must set out on a quest of his own, accompanied by a magical monkey figurine that comes to life, and a warrior cursed to be a (six foot!) beetle, but stripped of his memory so he remembers nothing of why he was cursed or how he might break it.
I had completely assumed that this was an English-language version of an existing movie, which made it very confusing that the amnesiac beetle looked a bit like Matthew McConaughey – but of course, I was wrong and this is the original version. I think that’s all the more impressive, as I have to say, this movie is gorgeous. Every scene is just so well drawn, the imagery just lovely. My particular favourites were the origami battles, and the ship made of leaves, mirroring the origami, both just lovely to look at and so well done.
The plot is also far deeper than we tend to expect from a ‘mere animation’. You might guess where we’re going to end up, more or less, but there are enough layers to keep interest.
Released: 9th September 2016
Viewed: 12th September 2016
Running time: 101 minutes
My rating: 9/10