Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings is such a beautiful film. One could write thorough and layered essays about the wonderful thematic and cinematic devices at play in this film (uncommon for animation.) My favorite things about it: the breadth given for a sweeping score, the nonverbal storytelling, the meticulous details, the melancholic and earnest tone, the dynamic range of light and dark, the grit and stakes, and the sense of magic. There is an almost Life of Pi-esque blurring of metaphor and reality as a coping mechanism for the tragedies that befall the protagonist, and a compelling play at where truth, memories, and dreams overlap. This is one of the most rewarding American animated films to come along in a very long time. It’s a commendable progression from where Walt Disney left off with films such as Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Bambi. Can’t wait to see it a third time.