Questions on Kubo
- List Some of the Symbols used to represent Kubo’s family and ancestors in the film
The movie uses symbols to represent Kubo’s family such as the magic that is passed down from generations as something very important in their family something that keeps them safe.
- What are some of the cultural symbols of Japan that are used in the story? How are they used?
Some of the symbols used include the robe that Kubo wears throughout the entire movie (seemingly very sacred in Japanese culture) as well the armor and sword Kubo is searching for throughout the movie. They are used to show protection mostly and emphasize how important memories are. These are all things that will keep Kubo safe (eg. the monkey charm he keeps by his side at all times or his instrument).
- How is body language used as part of the description of the main character’s personalities?
Body language portrays a lot of Kubo’s childish qualities, or emotions in certain situations. The way he acts or runs or tells story shows a very imaginative young boy. His body language also shows how he is feeling at points where he loses his parents he looks down and gazes at the ground showing sadness. His body language shows Kubo as a dynamic and driven young boy.
- Describe some of the kinds of picture conventions used during the animation (film language). Example: extreme close up shots, wide landscape panoramics, quick cuts and scene changes, slow moving camera, dissolves (one image dissolves into another), extreme scale differences, distortion of image, blurred or partially hidden images.
Some of the techniques they used to show the characters personalities are some long shots such as the beginning when none of the characters had spoken yet and there is simply long scenes showing the mother staring into mid-air. The focus on a lot of detail in the movie such as filming the paper men the boy makes and filming little details that go on throughout the movie – it is very detail oriented.
- In what ways are landscape and weather used to play a part in the storytelling?
The weather in Kubo plays a big part in adding to the dramatic effect of the story. Generally, there are dramatic weather changes (such as when they are in the middle of the sea with a big storm) it allows for more tension to be built as well use anticipation to see if the main characters will survive. In Kubo, the weather plays a part in emphasizing the powers as well it shows certain strength in the characters.
- What are some of the main story themes of the film?
A main theme includes: Memories. The memories in this film are shown to be very important, they are supposed to be what keeps you human and in touch with your spirituality. Kubo’s mother emphasizes how important it is to keep memories in tact and how it’ll make Kubo stronger. Another theme in the film includes morality. The question of how you know whether you are moral or not. Kubo’s mother goes against her father and sisters wishes to kill Kubo’s father and she does this because she thinks this is the moral thing to do. However, how do we know going against her family is the right thing to do? Overall, we question morality; Kubo’s mother was lost with her level of morality for a while and finally found her way. Another theme includes family; there are a lot of problems within family members as well as a lot of love that keeps the characters going throughout the movie.
- Does this story relate to other myths or folktales that you know? Explain.
I think this is a very original story that does not relate to many myths that I know (at least not in my culture) and it is very focused on their specific culture and their beliefs and incorporated this to make some sort of magical realism story. Although they had many elements of magic they also stuck to their basis of realism.
- Describe the most dynamic scene of the movie and how the animators created that excitement through the visual language of design, shape, color, graphics and/or symbol.
One of the most dynamic scenes is the one where Kubo is underwater with the eyes starring back of him. The irony of these gigantic eyes gazing at him although he has lost one eye is very striking. The animators made a scene that was mesmerizing with these beasts made of simply eyes to be staring at someone. Something so big surrounding Kubo and sucking him into their trans.
- What was the most emotionally compelling scene? And how was visual language used to convey the feelings?
One of the most emotionally compelling scenes in the movie includes the point where the monkey that was originally a charm comes to life and is fighting off her sisters. I felt at this point we see everybody’s motivations and true feelings towards one another. Hanzo (or the cockroach) who is starting to have feelings towards the monkey and vise versa, and goes to save Kubo because he begins caring about him. The fight between the monkey and one of the sisters reveals that the monkey was in fact the mother all along, she also shows that love made her stronger – and this is a powerful message throughout the movie.
- Did you like the animation? What would you have done better, if anything?
I felt the animation was beautiful in various ways, it combined sounds visuals and concepts which tied together perfectly. Although being a children’s film, it had many idea’s behind concerning family, love and morality that should apply to everyone – a good message to be passed onto children growing up.