Today's Recommendation Is Actually More Of An Assignment Than A Recommendation

STEP ONE: Watch Kubo and the Two Strings, currently streaming on NETFLIX INSTANT.

STEP TWO: Marvel at Laika Entertainment's extraordinarily complex, vibrant, and lovingly detailed stop-motion animation; appreciate the (often under-or-even-unappreciated) quality and performance of the voicework, particularly that of McConaughey and Theron, who are a real pleasure to; be swept away by a fantastical, clever story and an artistic and cultural environment simultaneously foreign and familiar; be bold; be brave; be epic! (Oh, wait. That's the tagline.) 

STEP THREE: Come back and explain to me how it is that the ending does not fatally undermine the film's most fundamental message. Because I really, really want to love this one, and I really, really can't. I just don't understand the sudden change of direction it takes during those last few seconds. At the very moment when everything is rushing along towards its wonderfully-satisfying (and logically-consistent) conclusion, it betrays itself; it blinks.

In feudal Japan, a one-eyed boy with musical magic powers searches for his father's enchanted armor, pursued by his evil grandfather, the Moon King.
Attribution(s): All posters, publicity images, and stills are the property of Focus Features and other respective production studios and distributors.