Kubo and the Two Strings: An absurdly beautiful, hand-made hero’s tale.


What it is: The latest from the stop-motion wizards at Laika, whose other films include 2009's Coraline and 2012's woefully underrated ParaNorman.

What I’ve watched: Watched the movie last night.


Is it good? Yeah, it’s really cool. A few things kept me from loving it quite as much as the first act made me think I would, but it’s a gorgeous and good-hearted movie.

Quick thoughts: I went in knowing absolutely zero about it and liked it a lot. It’s an unusually fluid film, shifting its lore and storytelling goalposts in and out of focus in a way that forced me to simply relax and go with the flow. The whole thing is light and ever-changing, which makes for a pleasant viewing experience even if it robs the story of some dramatic tension.

Laika’s stop-motion magic is more ridiculous than ever, and they’ve stepped up their game with regard to action sequences. One particularly cool battle is a straight-up Dark Souls boss fight involving a hand-made monster that, as it turns out, really was room-sized. My one real gripe is that the tone shifts about 30 minutes in with the addition of a wisecracking comic relief character, while I would’ve preferred it if the screenwriters had stuck with the mysterious and awed tone of the first 20 or 30 minutes. Still, a really neat movie. I’m glad the people at Laika are able to do what they do, and so well.

Party Chat is where we talk about things we’re reading and watching when we’re not playing video games.