Who’s in it and what’s it about?
In ancient Japan, youthful Kubo finds that his magical powers are increasing with his stature. At first focused on caring for his mother, his powers awaken a spirit from the past and he is called upon to accept his family legacy and overcome the creature once and for all.
The English-language original features Art Parkinson, previously seen in “Game of Thrones” as Rickon Stark, and in action movies “Dracula Untold” and “San Andreas,” as Kubo.
He is joined on his journey by a monkey (Charlize Theron, “Astro Boy,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,”) and a beetle (Matthew McConaughey,”Sahara,” “Interstellar.”)
The cast also includes George Takei (“Star Trek”), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (2001’s “Planet of the Apes”), Branda Vaccaro (“Johnny Bravo”), Ralph Fiennes (five “Harry Potter” films) and Rooney Mara (“Her,” “Pan”).
Who’s behind it?
Oregonian production company Laika has been on a roll since its feature film debut in 2009; “Coraline,” “ParaNorman” and “The Boxtrolls” have all been nominated for Oscars.
Its CEO and President, Travis Knight, is making his directorial debut with “Kubo,” having served as a lead animator on the three prior features and as a producer on two.
Is it any good?
Very much so. Reviews started trickling out mid-August and the early signs are promising: an appreciative 93% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes is based on a 7.9/10 average score, while for RT’s Top Critics it’s a must-see: 100% and 9/10. Metacritic divines an 80% average review score, while 300 IMDb users together sculpted an 8.3/10 pre-release average.
When’s it out?
PG-rated “Kubo” debuts August 18 in Australia, Israel, Hong Kong and South Korea, and on August 19 in the US and Canada, as well as Taiwan and Vietman. The Netherlands bridges a release schedule gap on August 24, before Septeeber sees wider roll-out including Singapore (Sept 8), the UK (Sept 9), and France (Sept 21), with Brazilian theatres screening from October 13 and German from October 27.