Arrival: The Sci-fi We’ve Been Waiting For

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Victoria Arbour, Staff Writer

.   .   .

1 hr 58 mins
Science Fiction/Mystery
PG-13

In the movie Arrival, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner whose mission is to make contact with one of 12 alien objects that have touched down on Earth.

Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer, is told from the point of view of Louise Banks, a linguistics professor who must race against time to communicate with the aliens before tensions across the globe reach breaking point.

The movie meaningfully delves into the concepts of communication and time. “Language is the first weapon drawn in a conflict,” is one of the quotes from the movie and is featured on its Twitter page. The film also daringly plays with time and perception in a way that leaves the audience pondering their own lives and decisions.

The film, based on a short story by Ted Chiang called “Story of Your Life”, is a transformative experience. The image of an oblong-shaped spacecraft levitating in the middle of an open field is haunting. Arrival is so expertly crafted and realistic that one feels as if he or she is getting to peak into a real-life alien invasion. Suiting up in radiation-proof suits, terror and fear in the eyes of the crew, and fingers brushing against the unfamiliar material of the spacecraft send shivers down your spine. The foreboding atmosphere is misty and overcast.

When a character asks what the aliens look like, “You’ll see soon enough” is the enigmatic reply. When the aliens are revealed, they are shrouded in a white smoke that lends a welcome aura of mystery.

“Language is the first weapon drawn in a conflict.”
Arrival

The music by two-time Oscar nominee and Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson is other-worldly and eerie and the question throughout the movie, “what is your purpose here?”, echoes in the mind of the audience.

The biggest complaint regarding the film seems to stem from the insecurity of the audience itself. With movies like Interstellar setting the precedent for confusing endings and complex—sometimes even pretentious—intellectual speech, moviegoers seem less assured as to whether they grasped the concepts conveyed. Perhaps this is a reflection on the scientific community failing to keep the changing genre of science fiction accessible.

Some movies are meant to take up just an hour or two of your time and very little mental energy; Arrival is not that; Arrival will occupy your thoughts long after your departure.

Leaf Peepers Unite: The Ultimate Weekend Trip

Monday, November 7, 2016 (Issue #2)
by Erica M. Stevens, Arts and Entertainment Editor

.   .   .

One weekend, 230 miles, and a carnival of autumn brilliance.

Hordes of leaf peepers flock to New England each autumn determined to discover the brilliant colors that many of Robert Frost poems set out to describe. Those in the Connecticut Foothills understand the magnificence of autumn, but fail to explore them beyond their backyard. This year, set aside three days and discover a taste of what New England has to offer.

October
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
—Robert Frost

Spend your first day driving north to Amherst, MA, but try to keep your eyes on the road; you will find yourself lost in a sea of scarlet and sugar maples, ash, birch, beech, dogwood, tulip, oak and sassafras trees all more beautiful and vibrant than the last. Stay at the charming Allen House Victorian Inn, and travel back in time whilst enjoying modern amenities. Built in 1886, The Allen House overlooks The Emily Dickinson House, and touts a made-to-order hot breakfast, antique furniture, and exquisite views. Take an evening stroll down the street and dine at the famed Lumberyard, a romantic modern bistro serving grass-fed and organic, local beef.

Rise early on day two, and experience the morning sun reflect off the kaleidoscope of color on the screened-in balcony. After a hearty breakfast, stride across the street and take a tour of the Emily Dickinson Homestead. Recently restored to its original glory, visit Emily’s bedroom and examine her bed, writing desk, famed white dress, and more. Step outside and stomp through her garden, a sanctuary where many of her poems were written. Read aloud one of her many autumn poems while sitting on her very own bench. Later, hike a few blocks down the road and visit her grave, write her a note, or leave a small gift like so many continue to do. Enjoy the Dickinson mural adjacent to her grave. Finish your day off by taking a 30 minute drive to Aerostat Promotions and fly away in a hot air balloon at sunset over the gorgeous honey dipped trees and rolling hills.

Autumn
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.
—Emily Dickinson

Sleep in on day three, and pack up your car after one final, mouth-watering breakfast. Drive a short distance to the Berkshires’ multi-colored utopia, and spend the day at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Beautifully manicured grounds surround the creamy building that contains some of the most important American work of the twentieth century. Explore Rockwell’s studio, and have a picnic lunch surrounded by panoramic views. Don’t forget to ring the Allen Bell and let the staff know you have had a wonderful time! Drive South back to the foothills, taking a short detour at Kent Falls State Park, walk through the bright red covered bridge, and enjoy one final glimpse of your most memorable harvest season yet.

Your October Prescription: One Shot of Adrenaline

Monday, November 7, 2016 (Issue #2)
by Erica M. Stevens, Arts and Entertainment Editor

.   .   .

Lake Compounce is carving out fun this month letting us eat, drink, and be scary. Ghastly roller coasters, a chilly, crisp breeze, and haunted ghouls and goblins unfold into an evening of nefarious delight. The Haunted Graveyard at Lake Compounce is back for its 17th season, enticing both children and adults to the biggest Halloween trail in New England.

Roam the mile-long trail, meet over 200 eerie actors, and scream your way through an unforgettable evening. Said General Manager Jerry Brick, “The Graveyard is nine separate areas, and takes almost 40 minutes to go through it.” He went on to say, “The Graveyard detail at night is amazing. The guests often get dressed up as well, so it has such a great feel throughout.”

The Graveyard started 23 years ago when a father’s daughter was diagnosed with diabetes. Unable to go trick-or-tricking, he was determined to give his daughter a memorable experience. He built a display in his yard, intriguing friends and passerby alike. Six years later, it had grown so large, it was moved to Lake Compounce, and continues to intrigue adrenaline junkies throughout New England.

The Haunted Graveyard is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout October from 6:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. Tickets for the Graveyard are $25.99 for adults, $20.99 for children under 11. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.hauntedgraveyard.com.

Five Aspects Logan Cannot Adapt

Monday, November 7, 2016 (Issue #2)
by Kyle Venditti, Staff Writer

.   .   .

With the recent release of the Logan trailer and its inspiration from the “Old Man Logan” 2008 comic book arc apparent, the question is just how much can James Mangold and his team borrow from the arc that inspired the film’s direction? While there are some heavy strokes from the book present in the film version, there are some wacky extended universe decisions that just will not work for the film.

  • 1) Hulkland: In print, Logan lived with his family on a blighted piece of land in California now known as “Hulkland”. More on the supervillain overlords will be explained later, but at some point in the future, the Hulk overthrows Abomination’s rule, taking over his territory of the United States. In the time since, Hulk has inbred with She-Hulk and created an entire incestuous hillbilly clan of Hulk-people, some of whom are Logan’s landlords. Hulk is a Marvel owned property under Disney’s control, and one that Fox won’t be able to access, so he’s out. Aside from that, their incestuous family is just something I don’t think most viewers would accept in film.
  • 2) Old Hawkeye: Hawkeye was a key character in the book, giving Logan a mission to escort the now blind superhero across the country to New Babylon to deliver a mysterious package. Hawkeye runs into the same property issue as Hulk since he is owned by Marvel, not Fox, though it seems his role has been filled by another character: Professor X. Now old and battered, it seems Professor X and Logan are all that’s left of the X-Men, and as such, they take care of each other and try to stay out of the public eye. For the films, this makes more sense since Logan and Charles have had a relationship throughout the X-Men film universe (retconned timeline and all), so it seems fitting to end Jackman’s final portrayal of the character with one who ultimately is his most trusted friend.
  • 3) Venomsaurus Rex: Remember the wacky part I mentioned? Along Hawkeye and Logan’s journeys to New Babylon, they get chased by a massive T-Rex with the Venom symbiote bonded to it. Venom, who hasn’t been on the big screen since 2007’s Spider-Man 3, is a Sony property and could not show up alongside the X-Men property owned by Fox. That aside, this is just an odd science-fiction plot point that would kill the dramatic character driven approach the film is going for. This could never work in the film adaptation, though a direct to video cartoon adaptation might be able to pick this element up easier.
  • 4) Supervillain Overlords: This is one of the elements I feel will be slightly present, though changed from the comics. The comic arc featured villains, such as Dr. Doom and Red Skull, conquering the United States and dividing the territory amongst themselves. While Marvel properties like Red Skull and Kingpin could not be used, I could see Magneto eliminating most of the X-Men and taking control of the territory Logan and Charles live in. However, Magneto has not been confirmed to be in the film, so this will probably not happen. Of all the plot points Mangold could adapt, this is one of the more realistic.

“The comic arc featured villains, such as Dr. Doom and Red Skull, conquering the United States and dividing the territory amongst themselves. While Marvel properties like Red Skull and Kingpin could not be used…”

  • 5) Death of the X-Men: Under the influence of Mysterio, Wolverine kills all the X-Men in the X-Mansion thinking they were villains attacking the heroes. Distraught from his actions, Logan attempts suicide by getting run-over by a train, vowing to never use his claws again and shelving his “Wolverine” persona. While I don’t think Logan will be responsible for the death of the X-Men in the film, I do think something will happen to disband or kill many of them. Logan is not the first person Charles would go to for support, so something severe must have happened to drive the two together. We do see claws in the trailer, so it seems Logan is not totally averse to using his powers. Conversely, Logan’s healing factor is weaker as seen in his open wounds and scars, so perhaps both Logan and Xavier are finally feeling disease and old age hitting them. Either way, the X-Men are gone, and Charles and Logan are all that’s left.

Logan seems to be a grounded, dramatic film centering on Logan’s last days.”

Logan seems to be a grounded, dramatic film centering on Logan’s last days. While many of the elements from the “Old Man Logan” comic will be dropped because they’re ridiculous, some of the broader themes from the book seem to be present in the film, notably Logan’s retirement and the end of the X-Men. Logan releases in theaters on March 3, 2017.

Next Stop: The Girl on the Train

Monday, November 7, 2016 (Issue #2)
by Victoria Arbour, Staff Writer

.   .   .

R, 1hr. 52 min. (Suspense/ Mystery)

~

Buy your movie ticket for The Girl on the Train; you’re in for a ride. Written by Erin Cressida Wilson and based on the novel by Paula Hawkins, the film is a welcome addition to the upand-coming, book-based, suspense/ psychological thriller/mystery genre that blurs the lines between female protagonist and antagonist, often compared to films like Gone Girl and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

I work at a small independent theater and love to hear reviews from moviegoers. “Just put ‘girl’ in the title” one customer told me after seeing the movie. The reactions have been mixed; the film has faced the heat from movie to movie juxtapositions as well as book to movie comparisons.

“Just put ‘girl’ in the
title.”
—Moviegoer

Despite these comparisons, The Girl on the Train brings its own fresh take to the big screen. Rachel Watson played by Emily Blunt is not your typical female protagonist. Barely likable, she is an alcoholic and fits into many other negative, stigmatized roles as the story unfolds. A divorcee, mentally unstable, stalker, child abductor, liar, even murderer, are just a few. Perhaps unreliable narrator is the best way to describe her as she stumbles through the movie from her point of view.

Watson is captivated by the lifestyle of a young woman named Megan (Haley Bennett) and her partner Tom (Justin Theroux) who she observes from the train every day. The couple lives just doors down, from her ex-husband Scott (Luke Evans), Scott’s new wife and former mistress Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), and their toddler Evie. Soon, Watson witnesses an event that sets her life on a runaway train that collides with haunting images and heavy, emotional topics.

“A captivating suspense film with twists and turns that have you sitting on the edge of your seat.”

The Girl on the Train is a gripping, but sometimes-muddled story, that at points has viewers feeling just as addled as its drunken protagonist. Told through flashbacks, the story somewhat haphazardly reveals its intense murder mystery. Two blonde beauties (Bennett and Ferguson) who bear striking resemblance to each other do nothing to aid the viewer in their confusion. And to top it all off, their male counterparts are quite villainous, with little explanation as to why.

The shortcomings, however, don’t stop The Girl on the Train from arriving at its destination: a captivating suspense film with twists and turns that have you sitting on the edge of your seat.

The Magnificent Seven Return With a Bang!

Monday, November 7, 2016 (Issue #2)
by Britta Kallstrom, Arts & Entertainment Editor

.   .   .

The story of the Seven Samurai has been told again. And not just as another movie, but as another western:

PG-13, 2hr. 12 min. (Action/Adventure)

~

Metro Goldwyn Mayor, Columbia, and Village Roadshow Pictures Productions have released a remake of the western film The Magnificent Seven (1960).

Directed by John Sturges, the original western tells the story of a Mexican village which recruits a gunman (Yul Brynner) to help fight off a group of bandits and their leader, Calvera (Eli Wallach). But, needing more help, the gunman recruits other sharp-shooters and cowboys to team up with him and save the poor village.

The story for the movie was written by William Robert, but the original film itself was based on the story of Seven Samurai, telling of a farming village during the Warring States era of Japan: In need of protection from bandits who seek to steal their crops by the end of the harvest, the village gathers a group of samurai to combat the bandits and drive them off for good. This famed story was originally created by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, and Hideo Oguni in 1954.

The latest remake, The Magnificent Seven (2016), portrays a similar story, but is also a very different one. Cold-hearted industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) and his men torment the people of a peaceful mining town named Rose Creek, driving them to mine their mountains out of gold. Seeking revenge for Bogue killing her husband, and for the other lives he has ruined, Emma Cullen (Hayley Bennett) leaves to find a skilled gunman to help them fight off Bogue.

She finds Sam (Denzel Washington), a ranger and bounty hunter, who is willing to help fight Bogue, because of a longtime grudge against him from his youth. But, knowing he can’t help them alone, Sam recruits old friends, new friends, and even a few men he knows of with bounties on their heads. Sam’s crew includes Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), a gambler with a smart mouth who’s fast on the draw; Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), a Mexican outlaw; Goodnight Robicheaux, also known as Goody Goodnight (Ethan Hawke), a legendary sharpshooter; as well as his friend Billy Rocks (Lee Byung-hun), a knife-throwing assassin; Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), a hunting woodsmen and unbelievable tracker; and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier), a Comanche Indian warrior.

Director Antoine Fuqua, along with screenwriters Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk, portray the story in amazing ways that both follow along the same lines as the original western and give the audience something different to expect, especially if they’ve actually seen the original.

In the 2016 film, Sam, the leader of the seven, holds a long-time grudge against Bouge because of something horrible he did to him and his family when he was a child, and so he is keen to take the job in helping to fight him.

In contrast, the 1960 film’s leader, Chris, had no grudge and didn’t know anything of Calvera beforehand. Sam’s grudge against Bouge imparts a deeper meaning, and provides a moral, for the film: Goody Goodnight said to Sam, the night before the fight, “Make sure you fight the battle in front of you, not behind.” Meaning, of course, that Sam shouldn’t get caught up in revenge when they’re fighting to save and protect the town.

Something the filmmakers didn’t change, however, was a big part of the ending, when four out of the seven are killed during the final battle. Viewers are unsure why the makers did so in the original, and were heartbroken to see it again in the remake.

Because Rose Creek was a mining town, the people and the seven had access to dynamite. This, therefore, gave Fuqua, Pizzolatto, and Wenk the chance to write in plenty of explosions during the big battle scene. The only explosions in the original western were those from their guns.

Even with the different ways the story is portrayed, with different sorts of characters, different action scene techniques, even a somewhat different ending, the biggest common element of both films is the signature line of the villains (Calvera and Bouge): “If God didn’t want them sheered, he would not have made them sheep.” He means that it’s a way of living to take what he wants from people who won’t fight him back. But they did — and a ragtag group of gun-slinging fighters became legends bringing him down. From these two magnificent movies, these seven will stay magnificent for more years to come.

Fall into the Harvest Season

bluejay-harvest
Blue Jay Orchards was founded in 1934 by graphic artist Robert Josephy.
(Photo courtesy of the Bethel Bulletin.)

Thursday, October 13, 2016 (Issue #1)
by Erica M. Stevens, Arts and Entertainment Editor

.   .   .

September has officially changed its brilliant colors into October, marking the beginning of the harvest season.

The farmers who planted countless seeds in June are now seeing the fruits of their labor in the faces of excited individuals searching for the perfect pumpkin to adorn their doorstep.

Those excited individuals in Connecticut need to look no further than Bethel, home of the beloved Blue Jay Orchards.

“We are a picturesque 120 acres founded in 1934 by Robert Josephy. A graphic artist by trade, he purchased many of the surrounding small farms and created the 120 acres we have today,” said Blue Jay. “In 1985, the orchards were purchased by Paul Patterson and his family, and were transformed from a wholesale and processing orchard into a pick-your-own farm and agritourism location.”

Today, Blue Jay offers pick-your-own apples and pumpkins, twenty minute wagon rides through the orchards, and breath-taking scenery.

Browse the market for honey collected from the on-site hives, delicious pies and pastries, crafts, and indulge their famous, mouth-watering homemade cider and donuts.

The farm has transformed from a small, commercial location into a place that families can spend a day looking at great fall foliage and enjoy creating lifetime memories.

Blue Jay is open seven days a week from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. For more information call 203-748-0119 or visit www.bluejayorchardsct.com.

Connecticut Garlic and Harvest Festival

garlic_2
The Festival’s 2016 logo.
(Photo courtesy of the Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival.)

Thursday, October 13, 2016 (Issue #1)
by Erica M. Stevens, Arts and Entertainment Editor

.   .   .

Leave your breath mints at the door! The 12th annual Garlic and Harvest Festival is cooking up all of your favorite autumn traditions at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds on Oct. 8 and 9, 2016.

Stroll through the grounds and discover garlic-cooking demonstrations, learn how to grow the most delicious garlic at one of the many lectures, and taste some of the most unique garlicky creations, including the festival’s most famous delicacy, garlic ice cream.

When you aren’t munching at the food court, walk over to one of the many rides and games, browse the handmade crafts, or sit back and enjoy one of the live musical performances.

“It is always so much fun to see what they have cooking up!” said Diane Hammer, “even my husband has a great time!”

garlic-harvest-fest
Children posing during family-fun activities at the Garlic Festival.
(Photo courtesy of the Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival.)

Garlic lovers unite on Oct. 8 and 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $1 for children under 12.

For more information, call 203- 266-7810 or visit www.garlicfestct. com.

Perfect Imperfections: ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’

kubo
The claymation character Kubo from the film.
(Free image courtesy of Wallpaper.in.)

Thursday, October 13, 2016 (Issue #1)
by Britta Kallstrom, Arts and Entertainment Editor

.   .   .

Laika’s latest masterpiece brings stop-motion animation to life in amazing new ways, with technology you have to see to believe:

PG, 1hr. 42min. (Animated, Family.)

~

If you must blink, do it now. Pay careful attention to everything you read here, no matter how unusual it may seem. If you stop reading, even for an instant, then your understanding of this movie, as well as its hero, may perish.

Focus Features and Laika Entertainment have, in earlier years, brought us Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012), and The Boxtrolls (2014). Their latest film, Kubo and the Two Strings, tells the story of the epic quest of a young boy named Kubo (Art Parkinson), a kindhearted, fun-loving, and clever shamisen (a magical musical instrument) player, who can make his origami creations come to life and tell stories when he plays.

Since losing his eye as a baby, Kubo and his mother, Sariatu, have lived quietly in a cave on the outskirts of a seaside village. But after staying out past sundown, two wicked sisters— his mother’s sisters—find him and attempt to take his only remaining eye. Kubo’s mother spares him by helping him flee her sisters, but this in turn directs Kubo’s aunts’ vengeance towards him and his family. Kubo learns that, in order to save his family, he must go on a journey to find the pieces of a legendary, powerful suit of armor, which will give him the power to do battle with his evil aunts (Rooney Mara) and an angry god, the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes). On his quest he joins forces with Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey), and together they set out to help him find the armor and uncover the secrets of his past. Chief among these mysteries is the fact that Kubo’s fallen father, Hanzo, was the greatest samurai warrior the world had ever seen.

Travis Knight, director of the film, as well as the president, CEO, and lead animator for Laika Entertainment, noted that the production effort for Kubo was larger and more complex than for any of their past projects. However, he also emphasized that Kubo still maintains the same kind of wholesomeness and originality their past films have demonstrated.

“We always want to tell original stories and dive into new genres to explore different aspects of what it means to be human, and we do it in a strange way,” Knight said in a behind-the-scenes interview for the movie. “In our style, we have a way of making our films in a convergence of art, craft, science, and technology,”

Knight’s collaboration with the film’s assistant art director, Phil Brotherton, enabled them both to better envision what they could make happen: how certain changes would look on screen, how much those changes would cost to pull off, whether or not they would be fitting given the story-line, and so forth. Beyond these collaborative alterations, it is the director’s sole decision to make any other changes.

kubo_2
A clay character from Kubo’s village.
(Photo courtesy of Phase9 Entertainment.)

One of the things that makes this film more complex in terms of production than any of Laika’s past movies is their use of more sophisticated, and previously unincorporated, technology.

A notable example is the biggest claymation puppet Laika has ever made: a giant skeleton warrior with swords embedded in its skull. Oliver Jones, the Animation Rigging Supervisor for the film, rigged this massive claymation character to move by using actual puppetry, rather than computer graphics, making use of a series of wires and pulleys, some automated and some hand-pulled.

Georgina Hayns, the film’s puppet fabrication supervisor, and Brian McLean, director of rapid prototyping, worked with Knight to establish his vision of the film in the form of the movie’s characters, as well as bring his interpretation of those characters to their respective figurines—giving them and their personalities life.

On part of this trio—Hayns, Knight, and McLean—one achievement that really stands out is the making of characters’ hair, fur, and clothing. For example, Monkey’s fur was made of actual fur fibers, covered in silicon rubber, just as the hairs on characters like Kubo and his mother were human hair also covered in silicon rubber. This technique was employed so that it would be easier to position the characters’ figurines for shots, and to make them look more authentic.

As for the characters’ clothing, Hayns and her team made their outfits with wires and small weights on the inside, so that the clothing would fit the figurines’ poses in every shot.

Despite the movie’s  complex production methods, replete with hi-tech approaches, it is by no means a perfect film. But that is exactly why Kubo’s story is told best in this unique way. Travis Knight shared his thoughts on how the quality of stop motion animation portrays this story just right:

“We always strive to be as good as we can. We always strive in our heart to be perfect. To make these things as beautiful, as powerful as they can. But we are human after all and we always fail. The entire film is filled with all different kinds of imperfections and failings and it’s something you have to come to terms with and I think there is something beautiful about that, I think that it’s one of the things that make stop motion so unique. It’s crafted by human hands, so it has that raw human quality. It’s frustrating and sometimes maddening to work in this medium because of the imperfections but I think that’s one of the things that makes it inherently beautiful and so we really embrace that side of it because it makes these things human.”

kubo_3
An animation artist sculpts a clay Monkey figurine.
(Free photo courtesy of iamag.co.)

In the film, we witness how the Moon King stole Kubo’s left eye when he was a baby so that he could blind him to all the “ugliness” and “suffering” and “imperfections” on earth, and, furthermore, so that he could become immortal and join him in the heavens,  where it’s cold and dark and infinite and “perfect”. Yet, despite the allure of life as an immortal, Kubo chooses to remain human: To be flawed, and to have a story with an end. And even though Kubo’s family, and really everything he once loved, is gone, and even if his grandfather took his other eye to completely blind him from the world and the souls of other people, he still has his memories, and those make for the most powerful magic. More importantly, it’s in those memories that the stories of everyone he knows or once knew live on.

So it’s not just human flaw that makes the display of the film beautiful; it makes the story of it beautiful as well.