Once I saw the trailer for Kubo and the Two Strings back in 2016, I was hooked as I loved the look and the fact they were going for a Asian- themed, fantasy-action piece. Shout Factory has re-released the film on Blu-ray with slightly better visuals and new special features to get you caught in its strings of fun.
Taking place in what looks like feudal Japan, the plot follows a young boy named Kubo (Art Parkinson), who has one eye but doesn’t let that stop him from living life and playing his magical shamisen which has the power to make origami come alive and entertain the local village for money to live off of. Without giving too much of the story away, something terrible happens that causes the evil Moon King to attack their village and forces Kubo and his mom to leave.
It falls on Kubo to go on an epic quest to stop the Moon King and to learn more about his family and his mysterious lineage. As with any good story, he soon meets some friends along the way with Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) joining him as they all learn about themselves while also tackling the issues they carry and will need each other to overcome.
Just as Laika did in some of their earlier works such as Coraline and ParaNorman, I love how they confront serious issues like death, sadness, fear and more that both kids and older people can relate to. Doing this is no easy task, but Laika has it down to a science and I think that’s what makes all of their films so beloved by many.
As with the other Laika titles Shout Factory released, the visuals come in a little better thanks to the higher bitrate on the Blu-ray, and the Dolby DTS audio is still intact from the original release that sounds fantastic. There’s also quite a few new special features they’ve included, starting with “Inside LAIKA” that goes into the challenge of bring the world of Kubo to life, revisiting the puppets they used in the film, and more.
There’s also feature-length storyboards that play along with the film’s audio, an image gallery that shows off a lot of cool concept art, character designs, etc. Then we have audio commentary with director/producer Travis Knight that goes over the production of the film while sharing his thoughts, along with some other bonus featurettes that go even further into the making of the movie and more.
Kubo and the Two Strings is a great family film that anyone is sure to love as it has a little something for everyone. There’s plenty of humor, action, and tender moments that will play a number on your heartstrings. Here’s hoping for a 4K release of this adventure along with Laika’s other titles that can’t come soon enough.