Friday, December 30, 2016

Conservative Movie of the Year: Kubo and the Two Strings

Conservatives often complain that Hollywood makes no Conservative films, and when they do, we either don’t notice, or we let them bomb. The first Atlas Shrugged was good. It bombed. The two sequels lacked the budget to be good as a result. In Kubo and the Two Strings, we have an even bigger cinematic tragedy, because here is a great movie, one that is surprisingly Conservative and without beating you over the head with it, and it tanked, badly.

The truly bizarre part is that, despite its inherent Conservatism, the film was actually well loved by critics. Certified Fresh at 97%, with an audience score of 87%, meaning viewers and critics alike really enjoyed this colorful, vibrant and imaginative movie. How is it that a movie with so much universal praise can utterly fail at the box office? I don’t know, but honestly, we need to do a much better job at finding movies like this and helping them to succeed.

The story centers around a young demi-god named Kubo, whose mother, a moon goddess, is trying to escape the wrath of her father after falling in love with, marrying, and having a child with a human named Hanzo. She barely escapes with her life, and we are led to believe that Hanzo is dead. Her father has stolen one of her son’s eyes, also, though we are not told why in the beginning.

Over the course of the next several years, Sariatu, begins to lose her grip on reality. Paranoid, freaked out, she warns Kubo to never stay out after dark, but doesn’t explain why. Soon, however, Kubo is celebrating a ritualistic day of remembrance, and prays to his father for guidance, only to not receive an answer. He becomes frustrated and loses track of time. Once the moon “sees” him, he is immediately beset upon by his aunts, both of whom are powerful witches bent on bringing him to his grandfather. His mother seemingly sacrifices herself so that he is able to escape, during which he is able to grab a piece of her hair.

Kubo awakes later to find the monkey charm he had been given as a child has sprung to life, and is
now serving as a guardian, alongside an origami samurai, and later on a beetle warrior. (Spoiler Alert) as the story progresses, Kubo begins a search for a magical set of armor and an unbreakable sword. He finds them, but more importantly, he learns that the monkey, and the beetle are actually his parents. Magic has brought them back so they could be together once more. Tragically, both are felled over the course of the journey. Kubo takes his mother’s hair, and his father’s bow strings as mementos as he prepares for the final battle with the moon god, his grandfather.

As the battle precedes, Kubo finds the magic armor and sword are not doing enough against the dark powers of his grandfather. He restrings his guitar using his hair, his mother’s hair, and his father’s bow string, and using the power that is generated from that, is able to defeat his grandfather. The thing is, his two parents and their love give him the power to overcome adversary. The villain’s daughter and her husband’s love also give him a clean slate and the opportunity to find redemption. Family saves the day. A two parent structure, saves the day. The two strings are Kubo’s mother and father. The film ends with Kubo first lamenting the loss of his parents, only for him to be reunited with them as they take spirit form to be there with them, because he needs the both of them.

Most films in Hollywood these days will have a widower father or a single mother. Rare is the movie which stands up and boldly proclaims that kids need their mothers and fathers.  The film is bright and colorful, and the stop-motion animation technique looks better than ever, and especially so in 3D, if you have the capabilities. That said, seeing it in 2D won’t ruin it. 3D adds a layer of depth to the already imaginative world, but isn’t critical to the experience, it just adds a layer of polish. The film is not overtly political, not even close. The idea that a kid needs a two parent home shouldn’t be political, but has become so in our era of un-enlightenment. With so many movies centered on broken families, and celebrating those fractures, it’s beyond refreshing to see a movie which not only tells a beautiful and imaginative story, but does so while stressing firmly that you need your mom and dad, and unfortunately far too many of us don’t even realize just how much until it’s too late.  Go buy this movie, then give your mom a hug, and spend some time with your dad. Let them know how much they mean to you.

Be warned though, that Laika Films has a tendency to include imagry that is a bit creepy and this may not be good for very young children. Though children ver the age of ten should be fine. Kubo and the Two Strings is available on DVD, Blu Ray and 3D Blu Ray.

4 ½ out of 5 Stars

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