Kubo and the Two Strings: A Review

So I watched Kubo and the Two Strings on Sunday, and I think I loved it. We begin the story with Kubo narrating his story as his mother is escaping from her family to a little village. The animation is beautiful! I cannot say this enough. You can see the forms of the face and the movements in the clay. I can’t imagine how the paper folding had to be done by hand. I also think this is a plot where a bard is the main character. Kubo plays his guitar and his magic flows from that.

The plot is a little slow at the beginning. It takes a bit of backstory and seeing how far into magic Kubo could go. It was sad to see his mother had episodes where she had no idea about the world around her, only when the sun went down would she come back to Kubo. He played his songs and the paper did their dancing. It was all well until the twins came. Can I just say how they are probably my favorite character designs in the whole movie! They were “perfect” and from the mother’s family in the sky. It was interesting to see Kubo’s mother and her sisters fight because her magic was blue, and Kubo’s too, but their magic was black and smokey. I believe they were twins, they fought and looked the same, but could’ve just been jusks used by the family to be “perfect.”

When Kubo flies away and we meet monkey. I don’t know about children, but I think most adults will question the relation to him. I wasn’t completely positive at first, but as soon as we found Beetle, I had a suspicion that Monkey was Kubo’s mother, and that Beetle was his father under a curse. You eventually find out who they are, but through the subtle dialogue and nuances between Monkey and Beetle, you can see the relationship. The reveal was well written, yet sad, but kind of predictable. As soon as the audience finds out about his mother and father, they die to break him and make it more likely for Kubo to control his magic. Against what logic says, this is how it works, like killing off Quick Silver in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. He died to break the Scarlet Witch, and bring her to her most powerful form.

If you like stop-motion animation and a well written story, watch Kubo and the Two Strings. It’s well worth it and you might cry, but who doesn’t? It was so beautiful!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: A Review

So I bought the play: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yesterday and immediately began reading it in the car. I actually almost cried in the second scene in the first act. The nostalgia and just coming back to characters that were a big impact on who I became as an adult was just too much. I think Jack Thorne, John Tiffany and J.K. Rowling did a great job in bringing back the magical world of Harry Potter. From the very beginning, we knew it was going to be a play, we knew it wasn’t completely written by Rowling, so going in expecting this to be exactly like her seven books on Harry Potter was ridiculous. Was the hype for it needed? Honestly no, but it also doesn’t deserve the hate it’s been getting, or J.K. Rowling because it’s not another novel.

The first couple of scenes were good. They were well written. But then I got to Act One, Scene Four, and I became slightly confused. This is the dubbed transition scene. It literally covers three years in a few pages. The transitions are a bit jarring for a reader, and my only hope is it translates better on stage. This can be a problem when reading a play versus seeing it being put on visually. Until Harry Potter and the Cursed Child comes to NYC or somewhere closer, this is all I have.

Other than scene four in act one, the play went well. I am one of those people who believes they should’ve put Scorpius and Albus together, but we can’t have everything. I also had the feeling half way through Act three that Scorpius was going to die, and personally I would’ve thrown the book if this had happened, but he didn’t. We find out Voldemort had a child with Bellatrix. She’s just as insane as her parents, but trying to meet her father is kind of admirable, albeit in a psychotic sort of way. I also think this play goes well with time theories, and how it is done in the Harry Potter universe. We first encounter these talks in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when Hermione received the Time Turner for her classes, then used it to save Buckbeak and Sirius. We learned that witches and wizards that meddled with time don’t end up in a good place. Scorpius figures this out first hand. The first meddling didn’t do much to hurt the present, but the second time threw Scorpius into the worst possible future for everyone. The future Delphi was looking for.

I reached the end at two this morning, just in time to hopefully see the meteor shower that didn’t show up. I read the ending, and it just didn’t feel, done? I’m not sure if it was because I had expected someone to die, but the ending kind of just happened, and then I didn’t feel fulfilled as an ending should make you feel. I think the climax and falling action kept climbing and then the resolution just fell flat for me. I am glad Albus and Harry finally made up in the end, but I think it was kind of just wrapped up in a bow a put out.

Through everything, I think Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a well written farewell to the Harry Potter lineage. There are a few places that could’ve definitely been worded better, but the play as a whole went well I think. It kept you going through act two and three and then slowed you down to the ending of act four. I enjoyed reading it, even with my writer brain acting up, and I’m glad I bought the play. I’m not sure if it’s worth thirty dollars, but I got it for twenty, so hopefully people can get it at the cheaper price. I would recommend it for Harry Potter fans, but if not, read the originals first.