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Kubo and the Two Strings | 2016 | PG | - 0.4.1

Animated tale about a young boy (voiced by Art Parkinson) who finds himself caring for his ill mother (voiced by Charlize Theron) after they must run from their home when his father is killed. Also with the voices of Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Brenda Vaccaro, Rooney Mara and Matthew McConaughey. Directed by Travis Knight. [1:41]

SEX/NUDITY 0 - We hear about how a man and a woman fell in love and see origami figures dancing together and the man caresses the woman's face tenderly as we hear that the man gave her a child.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - Ghostly voices are heard coming out of a thick forest and two figures float toward a young boy (they resemble women wearing china masks, large brimmed hats and dark cloaks); the figures chase the boy and they exude smokey/snake-like tendrils that barrel down on him as a woman uses magic to give him wings and he flies away while she transformed into a monster and the figures fight on the ground and we see a flash (we understand that the woman has been killed). A beetle throws a sword and it strikes a ghostly figure who then stabs the beetle in the back (we hear a crunch and he falls over) and raises a sword over a monkey.
 Many bones on the floor of a cave float into the air and come together to form a giant skeleton that attacks three characters: they move around it avoiding being crushed under its foot, they dangle from a sword in its skull and he pulls out many other swords from its skull. A woman paddles a small boat during a storm and a giant wave looms in front of her until she separates the water using magic and sails through safely only to be capsized as the wave crashes down on her; we see her thrown under water and we hear a crack as she slams her head on a rock; she awakens on shore with a gash on her head and face (no blood visible) and a swaddled infant cries nearby.
 A storm blows a paper ship around in large waves as a ghostly figure floats around and threatens a monkey on board: they fight with swords and the monkey is injured (we see blood on her side), then wrapped in a chain; a beetle and a ghostly figure fight until the monkey wraps the ghostly figure in a chain. A large beetle grabs a young boy and takes him into a cave; a monkey chases them, picks up an animal bone lunges toward the beetle (she does not hit the beetle). A beetle is thrown into a wall by a ghostly figure; a boy strikes the figure in the face and the chin of a china mask it wears breaks off. A monkey and a ghostly figure fight and the figure kicks the monkey and slashes at her with swords. A young boy throws a rock at a ghostly figure of a man and holds a sword to him as the man yells at the boy, then transforms into a large-toothed dragon that flies around the boy and he slashes his sword toward it; it grabs the boy and throws him as a wave of light surrounds the creature and transforms him back to a man.
 A young boy swims under water and is surrounded by many large eyes; he hears voices whispering to him and he seems to be entranced as he sinks toward what looks like a mouth until an eye is shot with an arrow (it oozes something into the water) and all the other eyes disintegrate (the boy is taken to the surface and is shown unconscious but then revives). Three characters find a cave opening that is shaped like a skull with a large, open mouth; they fall through a hole in the ground (they are unharmed). A young boy is awakened in a blizzard and he and a monkey take refuge inside a whale carcass; they talk about the smell and we see pieces of the whale floating in a soup.
 A young boy is shown with a patch over one eye and we understand that someone "stole" his eye. A young boy asks his mother what his father was like (the man is dead) and she tells him that he died protecting them. A woman talks about being able to "speak to those who left us behind." A young boy speaks to his father's grave and puts a lighted paper lantern in the water (he is told they contain the souls of the dead and that they sing about what happens when we die). A monkey tells a young boy, "They will kill you and take your other eye." A monkey bares her teeth at a young boy. A character says, "People die all the time."
 A story is told about three women going to a temple to kill warriors. Three characters enter a fortress in rubble and we see paintings on the wall that depict a quest. A young boy tells a story in a marketplace accompanied by origami figures that twirl in the air and act out the tale; one character is a warrior that jumps in the air with a sword and is attacked by a giant insect until the warrior cuts off all its legs, the warrior is then swallowed by a shark and he cuts his way out leaving the shark in ribbons, and a giant chicken shoots eggs at the warrior and he jumps into the air to cut it down (we see red confetti spurt into the air and the audience like blood). Two origami warriors leap into the air and fight with swords, then turn back into their original sheets of paper with no injuries shown. A young boy creates many origami birds that fly around him and a monkey; he has one bird swoop down and poke the monkey on the bottom; he tries this again with paper mosquitoes, but the monkey catches them before they hit her.
 A young boy sleeps in a cave and wakes up in a start when origami papers swirl in the air above him. A young boy sleeps in a cave, awakens and builds a fire to prepare food (he flinches when he gets near a boiling pot), then wakes his mother who appears to be in a near catatonic state and feeds her.
 A young boy shoots an arrow into a fish in the water and we see the fish bob at the surface with the arrow sticking out of it. A monkey cuts a fish into many pieces and a boy and a beetle eat them noisily.
 An elderly woman begs in a market and tells a boy she got some coins and a lint ball.
 A man in an audience gags when red confetti spurts on him after a warrior in a story kills a giant chicken (he does not vomit). A monkey picks a bug off its fur and eats it (we hear a crunch). A boy smells a bowl of whale soup and gags, then drinks it and spits it out from the temperature (we see soup dribble down his chin).


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LANGUAGE 1 - 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (monster, filthy ape, weird, talking cockroach, ridiculous, coward, stupid birds, hideous monster, witch, show off), exclamations (oh boy).


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SUBSTANCE USE - None.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Death of a parent, greed, magic, sacrifice, heroes, stories, immortality, memories, magic, selflessness, humiliation.

MESSAGE - Immortality isn't worth sacrificing those that are important to you.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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