Are Children Being Fed Humanism?

The Dangerous Philosophy of Writing Your Own Story: 

Behind the Scenes of KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

By Abbie DeHaas, Contributing Writer

Individuality rules our culture. It’s assumed that you will know your own destiny and follow it accordingly. This is a dangerous philosophy for anyone, especially children, since we know that God holds our future, and we need not worry about being in control.

Sadly, this humanistic thought is one of the strong themes and messages of the animated movie KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS from Laika animation studios. At a recent press conference, MOVIEGUIDE® had a chance to speak with the cast and the director of KUBO.

Director Travis Knight, who’s also CEO of LAIKA animation studios, has always been fascinated with Japanese art. He says that’s what gave him the inspiration for his new movie, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS.

“When I was 8-years- old, I went to Japan for the first time,” Knight said. “I grew up in Portland, so being in Japan was unlike anything else I’d ever experienced. It was a real revelation for me. It’s a kind of art that’s lived with me for my entire life.”

Knight described KUBO as his “martial arts movie.” Aside from being a long-awaited project for Knight, KUBO is also in line with LAIKA’s mission to make movies that matter. Knight said LAIKA’s mandate is to “tell stories that were rich, evocative, thematically challenging, and have something meaningful to say about what it means to be human.” They “always want to do new and interesting stories, and explore different aspects of the human condition.”

Those “aspects of the human condition,” as shown in KUBO, are the importance of family and appreciation for the pain and suffering that comes along with being human. Sadly, though, these somewhat positive qualities are coupled with an anti-Christian message that we should simply accept the pain of this world without striving toward eternity. Perfection is portrayed as something cold and evil, as opposed to the joyous gift we are promised through Christ’s saving grace.

KUBO’s cast agrees with Knight that these are important things to teach to children, saying that both children and adults can benefit from the message.

Charlize Theron (the voice of “Monkey”) said, “The story is incredibly moving, really layered and conflicted, and covers a lot of things that we’re sometimes scared to address with children.”

While it is good that children know the importance of facing their fears (another prominent message in the film), they should know that they don’t have to do so alone. With Christ, perfect love casts out fear.

We asked the panel if they came to appreciate anything about their own particular “human experience” through the making of the film. Matthew McConaughey (the voice of “Beetle”) answered, “You’ve got to fight and have courage to write the third act of your own story. You get your happy ending, and it may not be exactly what you thought it was going to be; but usually if you get to the truth of it, that’s a lot happier than not finishing the story at all.”

McConaughey said he believes people have control of their own story, directing their lives as they see fit.

When we start believing, however, that we must “write our own third act,” it’s easy to lose trust in God’s hand on our lives. Instead of resigning ourselves to the imperfections of this world, which came as a result of the Fall, Christians can know that Jesus promises us an abundant life without fear, an abundant life where we can transcend our suffering because we put our faith and trust on Jesus.

Read our full review of KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS here.