“If you must blink, do it now.” That’s the first line of “Kubo and the Two Strings, spoken over a dark screen, and it’s good advice, because what follows is a visual feast that you won’t want to take your eyes off for even a second. Director Travis Knight and the LAIKA animation team have seamlessly blended stop motion and digital animation to create a movie that doesn’t look like any other.
Young Kubo is a storyteller with the magical ability to make paper turn and fold itself into swirling origami images of the tales he’s telling. It’s thrilling to watch, and the way he tells stories is not all that different from the way his story is told. I don’t think anything but Kubo’s origami is actually made out of paper, but there is, nonetheless, a tactile sense to the animation, that gives it both a sense of gravity and wonder.