Kubo And The Two Strings

kubo and the two stringsrating 3.0My next choice to watch with my five-year-old was Kubo And The Two Strings, largely because of the impressive stop-motion model work done in the film. They're not really making movies like this anymore and it seemed thematically more interesting than your average kid's film.

Not that I'm a "kid's film" kind of person. Very much the opposite. I don't do Pixar movies or rush out to see the latest Disney garbage like all the 30-something toddlers running around today, buying Funko Pops and going to Disney multiple times per year even though they don't have children. I largely don't allow my child to even watch Disney's shitty, mindless pabulum, filled with bad lessons and terrible role models. I work hard enough to disabuse her of the notion of princesses being something anyone would want to be without shoveling that garbage into her brain.

So this was a nice, straightforward change of pace from the average children's film. It's not hellbent to shave all the sharp edges off of reality or eliminate anything that could be theoretically scary to your overly-sheltered garbage-ass spawn. It's perfectly happy to start with dark tones and feature violence, scars, children in genuine peril, caretakers that are often gruff and unfriendly, and creatures more in line with The Nightmare Before Christmas than Cars or Angry Birds. More importantly, unlike most content for children, it doesn't treat them like babies and talk down to them. The constant condescension from children's media has lead to generations of exceptionally stupid people, too mentally fragile to manage their lives. Nothing leads to a brighter, more stable child than talking to them like tiny adults, who might be able to handle any concept you want to talk about as long as you explain it in a way they can understand without dumbing it down.

All that said, the movie isn't too complicated. It takes Asian mythology, throws in some sword fights, magical musicianship, and some good voice work from Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey. (This may actually be the most likable I've ever found McConaughey in any role.) It's pretty, it's adventurous, and children seem to like it. It avoids being full of itself or aiming for being too high-minded in an attempt to chase an adult audience. If anything, my only complaints is the movie's pseudo-spiritual bullshit, but it's hard to make an Asian mythological film without some spiritual bullshit in there. The marvel of stop-motion figures mixed with some digital effects will be lost on a lot of people, but it's worth the price of admission to see it handled so smoothly, with an art style you won't see in another film.