Kubo and the Two Strings makes no bones about its belief in its title character’s storytelling prowess. That is a mighty promise to make, one that would be deadly if reneged upon. Thankfully Kubo, with his oft-repeated mantra of “If you must blink, do it now,” can weave quite the tale. The film puts that quality to fine use in the beginning (as it sets the adventurous tone) and at the end (as the adventure is over and the tone for moving forward is set), but in between is less buoyed by that oomph. Not all is lost, as the body of the film features some intricately devised reveals and the idiosyncratic designs of Laika’s stop-motion animation, but the middle lacks that demonstrableness that says, “you had better pay attention.”

My rating for Kubo and the Two Strings is: I Blinked Only 10 Times in the 102-Minute Runtime.