Film Preview: Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Page Revisions:

(May 15, 2016) Original
(July 10, 2016) New Trailer (#4) / New Poster (#13)
(August 14, 2016) New Poster (#14)

Release Date:

August 19, 2016


From IMDb: “Kubo lives a quiet, normal life in a small shoreside village until a spirit from the past turns his life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta. This causes all sorts of havoc as gods and monsters chase Kubo who, in order to survive, must locate a magical suit of armor once worn by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior.”

Poster Rating: B (5) / C / C (3) / C+ (3) / B- / C+

Review: (#1-#5) A series of setting shots that give us a gorgeous look into the myriad locales on display in the film. Each is varied, distinctive and visually alluring. (#6) Getting your primary characters together is grand, but doing so in such a mediocre way is not. (#7-#12) Two sets of three character posters differ from one another just enough to be distinctive, but not enough to be compelling. The second set is just slightly more richly detailed than the first.

(#13) Animated films suffer from a creativity problem with poster designs. Some are so brilliant that they compliment the film. Others remove the complexity and inventiveness of the film in an effort to be more broadly appealing. This latter approach seems in evidence for this film with another poster to exemplify it.

(#14) This is another in a long line of decent, but shockingly simplistic designs. Not much else to see here.

Trailer Rating: B / B- / B+ / C+

Review: (#1-#3) A richly detailed universe of fascinating imagery is given a solid first trailer, a weaker second trailer and an excellent third trailer. Although each of them present the story in their own ways, they share several common images and all of them have their successes and drawbacks. The most recent one is the one I saw originally in the theater and it was a gorgeous experience on the big screen suggesting a film that needs to be seen there.

(#4) The visual splendor of the production is what should sell the film, but we don’t get much of that in this trailer. Sadly, it seems lost in world building and appealing to young audiences and not to artist and adults who will be more fascinated by the creativity involved.

Oscar Prospects:

There is a lot of competition this year and with Disney and Pixar alone counting for two of the contenders and with GKids in the hunt as well, there isn’t a lot of opportunity for other films. However, one studio has managed to secure nominations for every single one of its animated features: Laika. Not even Pixar has managed that. The powerhouse animation studio might have tougher competition this year, but the outstanding visuals on display in the trailer suggest that it’s sure to be in the thick of the race.

Trailer #1

Trailer #2

Trailer #3

Trailer #4


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Poster #13Poster #14

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