This past week, my daughter and I rewatched what I consider to be one of the best movies of 2016 (and one of my new favorite animated films): Kubo and the Two Strings.
Honestly, this movie has one of the best beginnings ever. Really. As I sat and listened to the beginning voice over, I was immediately pulled under the narrator’s spell.
“If you must blink, do it now.
Pay careful attention to everything you see and hear, no matter how unusual it may seem.
And please be warned,
if you fidget,
if you look away,
if you forget any part of what I tell you, even for an instant,
then our hero will surely perish.”
How much do we as writers slave over our beginnings to achieve this level of instant engagement.
“If you must blink, do it now.”
Gives me chills! This is so finely wrought it’s almost painful. It sets the tone of the story, a mythic scale with overtones of the fantastical that make everything that follows fit into a tale at once grand and simple. The story is relayed with humor and a sense of mystery.
And the end… well l don’t want to spoil it for you, but it was not the solution I expected. Which delighted me to no end. The final battle fit the genre of heroic fantasy and yet was a completely new twist. At least for me. I totally loved it.
You know, lately the trend seems to be to take a bestselling novel and put it on the silver screen. And while I don’t disagree with this practice, I dearly love to see fresh stories told. Ones written for the medium of film. Then the depth of the story doesn’t need to be truncated to fit the time, as is often the criticism of book to screen endeavors.
Kubo is definitely a unique story and one I loved from the very first minute. I heartily recommend it to anyone who loves classic animation, like that of Coraline, or fairy tales.
“His name is Kubo.
His grandfather stole something from him.
And that really is the least of it.”