Now there’s “Kubo and the Two Strings.”
“Kubo” would be an extraordinary film no matter where you saw it. Laika — the studio that produced “Coraline” and “ParaNorman” — is firing on so many cylinders here that Pixar must be nervous. Laika’s dedication to stop-motion animation has always been admirable and the results beautiful; with “Kubo,” director Travis Knight has easily surpassed the studio’s previous efforts. It’s a spectacular film on every level, and it deserves to be seen at its best. That’s where the technology comes in.
I was lucky enough to see “Kubo” in Dolby Cinema. This combines Dolby Vision, which gives better contrast, color and clarity to the image, and Dolby Atmos, which uses speakers all over the place, including the seats, for an immersive sound experience. Dolby Cinema was launched in 2014, and “Kubo” is the first stop-motion animated film to be available in the format, which made a great film transcendent.
The simplest example: Early in the movie I got irritated because a baby was crying in the theater somewhere behind and to the left of me. Except it turned out the baby was in the movie. The richness of the color means the frame conveys a three-dimensional depth, but you don’t have to wear the stupid glasses.
The extraordinary visuals of “Kubo” will still wow you if you wait for Redbox, but they won’t make you gasp. The sound will be fine in any other theater, but it won’t envelop you and pull you into the world of the film. You can watch “Kubo” anywhere; to truly experience it, you need Dolby Cinema. (There is one exception — the sensory experience might be too much for kids younger than 7, but I wouldn’t recommend the film for anyone that age anyway.)
I’ve seen other films in Dolby Cinema and I’ve never once insisted people pony up the (often substantial) extra cash for the premium experience. The visual and aural magic of “Kubo,” though, demands it, because there has never been a 2-D film that has created such a three-dimensional world.
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