Sariatu and her young son Kubo are living in feudal Japan. There home is a mountain cave near a village. Kubo goes to the village to earn money to keep them alive by magically manipulating origami with music. He plays a shamisen (Japanese guitar) for the people in the village and tells a story about his missing samurai warrior father Hanzo. Sariatu has warned her son to return home before sunset but one evening he is late because of the Bon festival that allows them to speak to deceased loved ones. The sisters of Sariatu, Karasu and Washi rush in to attack Kubo but his mother comes to protect him. She uses her magic to send him far away to look for his father’s armor.
The animation is very intricate and beautiful. It’s inspired by Japanese mediums such as ink wash painting and origami. There is also a lot of depth to the story and a moral message. I'm not sure about later scenes but the shamisen in the beginning has three strings? 3 1/2* (I liked this movie)
101 min, Animation directed by Travis Knight with the voices of Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Brenda Vaccaro, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Meyrich Murphy, George Taki, Rooney Mara.
Note: Imdb 7.9 out of 10, 97% critic 87% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 1/2*, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 1461 reviews.
Special Note: The Skeleton Demon is based on the Gashadokuro of Japanese folklore and is the largest stop-motion puppet to be built at 16 feet tall and 400 pounds. This is the longest stop-motion film to date and beating out Coraline of 2009 by one minute. At least 145,000 photographs were turned into stop-motion.