Kubo and the Two Strings

Out Now On-Demand

Be bold, be brave, be epic.

Stop motion animated fantasy adventure from Laika (ParaNorman), set in ancient Japan, following a boy who must find help when a vengeful spirit is released. Features Oscar-winning voices Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey, as well as nominees Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes and Brenda Vaccaro.

Clever, kindhearted Kubo (Art Parkinson, Game of Thrones) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Akihiro (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and Kameyo (Vaccaro). But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta.

Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Theron) and Beetle (McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen – a magical musical instrument – Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Mara), to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family, and fulfill his heroic destiny.



Best Animated Film, BAFTAs 2017

Directed by



Adventure, Animated, Kids & Family, Fantasy


Rating: PG Violence & scary scenes


Laika Entertainment is an animation studio to be adored. From Coraline to ParaNorman to 2014’s stupendous The Boxtrolls, they are continually pushing themselves as well as cinematic stop motion art in general. This trend hasn’t changed; Kubo and the Two Strings is the most beautiful film Laika has created.

As with the studio’s previous films, Kubo has a maturity that caters to older kids without going overboard. It can be scary but it’s never too scary. There is violence but it’s never too violent. The story can get dark but it’s never horrendously grim. These same important qualities made a number of family fantasy adventures of the ‘80s stand out, like The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and – on a lower level – Return to Oz.

But what really gives Kubo that old-school feel is how much attention they give its lead characters: Kubo, Monkey and Beetle. The majority of the film focuses on just them, which becomes agonisingly essential to the story’s conclusion. Modern animated family films tend to cram in as many characters as Toys-R-Us can shelve, so to have one that focuses purely on three is a welcome contrast. As a result, their enriched relationship is one of the most memorable aspects of the film.

The only real drawback comes with particular character reveals that I won’t spoil, but can safely (if vaguely) say that they leave weird gaps in the trio’s bond that don’t quite get filled out. It’s nothing huge, but it’s noticeable.

Then there’s the visuals. My God, the visuals. From the striking environments to the vibrant facial expressions, this film throws every synonym for ‘beautiful’ in a blender and makes a new dictionary. Only wizards and witches could have created this in stop motion, proving that Disney and Pixar aren’t alone in creating animated magic.

Empire (UK)


Yet another success for stop-motion giants Laika, Kubo boasts big laughs and effective scares in a typically gorgeous animated tale.

The Guardian (UK)


I'm not inclined to give a pass to a family film that indoctrinates an irrational belief system just because it's novel.

Variety (USA)


With its staggering visuals and genuine heart, Laika chief Travis Knight's fantastical samurai adventure puts the emotion in stop-motion.

Hollywood Reporter


An eye-popping delight that deftly blends colorful folklore with gorgeous, origami-informed visuals to immersive effect.

Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)


Tolerably thrilling for primary age children, the dark-tinged, dreamlike Kubo is a welcome antidote to the usual brash and sometimes brusque traditional Hollywood animated fare.

TimeOut (USA)


Despite the occasionally laboured writing (with attempts at humour that are dry and distancing), Kubo and the Two Strings is swoonworthy in its vibrant visuals that span across unruly seas, lush landscapes and vivid seasonal colors.

New York Times


Knight has put together a picture that hits a lot of all-ages-entertainment sweet spots while avoiding hackneyed conventions, and ends up delivering what feels like a sincere family-friendly message.

NZ Herald (Francesca Rudkin)


Both Theron and McConaughey are excellent and, along with Game of Thrones' Art Parkinson, who voices Kubo, they're an endearing trio.

Kubo and the Two Strings is easily one of the best animated film in 2016.

Kubo and the Two Strings is a stop-motion animated movie produced by Laika (ParaNorman, Coraline)starring Art Parkinson, Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron.

Hunted by his Grandfather his daughters, Kubo must find three items to protect him from The Moon King. Accompanied by a monkey and a samurai beetle Kubo goes into a life changing journey that deals with death and acceptance.

Like previous Laika projects, Kubo looks incredible. The stop-motion animation is amazing as usual and it’s easily the most visually impressive film they’ve produced. Along with the stunning visuals, the voice acting is also great. Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey were great in their roles and numerous times, they’re humorous.

This movie lives up to it’s genre as this is also a great action adventure film. The action scenes are incredible and the movie has also a lot of heart and emotions in it. This is a very maturely written film and for an animation that is amazing.

There’s not a lot of complaints about the movie other than the fact that it follows the same beats a quest story would have and it does make the movie monotonous at times.

Overall Kubo and the Two Strings is easily one of the best animated film in 2016. The amount of work put into making the stop-motion is staggering and makes the film a lot more impressive than it already is. The story has heart the action sequences are thrilling and the characters are likable. The movie is a lot of fun in general and at times of emotions it’s effective. Highly recommended for all ages.

Charming but lengthy.

Easily as good as the reviews have suggested and well worth the ticket price. The combination of claymation and origami felt very special. I did find it overly long and some of the American actors seemed out of context. George Clooney seemed to have modelled his character on Buzz Lightyear. I was a bit confused about the 2 string aspect as the musical instrument Kubo played clearly had 3 strings. Perhaps I missed something?

Overall a charming little film with magical moments. A strong message about valuing ancestors will probably be lost on younger viewers though.

Charming and poignant

Going in to "Kubo" I had no expectations. On watching it, I found it to be enchanting and engaging. This is what animation should be striving for - a rich story and mythology, nuanced characters, conflict and solution. The story is simple enough for children, but deep and engaging enough for adults. And the artistry of the film is fantastic. Some spooky moments may make the film a bit unsuitable for particularly sensitive children, but I think that most children would be fine.

If you're looking for a film with a beautiful, touching story this is what you're looking for.

There have been some complaints about "whitewashing," and it's true that the voice actors are generally white. Had this been a physically acted film, I'd be on board with the complaints, but in this case the voices are right for the audience and characters. An American-born Japanese voice actor would sound the same. Perhaps look at it as though it's been translated for this audience.

Enjoyable and Intelligent Movie

Everyone enjoyed the movie from the 7 year old's to the adults. Good story line, well made and well worth going. Would go again.

Kubo and the small Guitar, Monkey and Amnesiac Beetle

Kubo and The Two Strings

Beautiful story that was a wonderful reminder to me about the children’s films that really rock us. Reminding me of ‘Never-ending Story’, ‘Labyrinth’, ‘Dark Crystal’, and ‘5th Element’ with hints to 'Star Wars’. Truly lovely story yet even with stop motion children feel to it, it’s very dark and quite evil in parts, may scare a few younger kids, even adults may struggle with this beauty, being very emotional too.

Gerne : Adventure, animated

5/5 : I’m bias with animated films, especially stop motion for the time it takes, they generally have fantastic stories to go with the amazing graphical display. Truly tugged at my heart strings.

Both beautiful to watch and surprisingly meaningful, a rare gem

I took my family to see this and we all loved it, which was an amazing feat bearing in mid it was my four and a half year old son's first ever film at the cinema. It certainly delivered, and was an almost flawless package. The animation is an interesting blend of puppetry and CGI which is quirky yet simply spellbinding to watch, the characterisation and voice over artistry is superb and utterly engaging. The story itself tackles some pretty tough topics of life, death and the ways of the world both good and bad, all wound into an epic tale of love and family. Scary in places, funny in others, awe inspiring elsewhere, you'll leave the cinema with that warm glow that's so hard to find in amongst our modern day one trick ponies.

Loved it!

Captivating from the very start. A beautiful film, both visually and through the story it tells so well. Highly recommended for all ages. It even makes Matthew McConaughey likeable, which is the highest praise I can give it. Stick around for the credits which gives you a little behind the scenes treat.


What an amazing film, the best I have seen in a long time. It didn't matter that it was animated, the film pulled you in to an exciting storyline that the more it went on the more you wanted. An incredible boy who has a story to tell. I will be recommended this film to all my friends. If you have to blink.... do it now!

Superb family entertainment

What an amazing film. My family and I went in knowing nothing of the story and within seconds of it starting, we were mesmerised. Beautifully made animation and fantastical storytelling delivers the perfect blend of humour, horror and heart. Definite parental guidance required for younger viewers, but my 5 yr old thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm so happy to have seen such a wonderful work of art with my family. Superb.

Beautifully Engaging

Right from the opening scenes this film is beautifully animated, with an engaging story.

Our hole family loved it. Scattered with laughs and beautifully deep moments. Well worth a trip to the movies to see it, regardless of age.