Missing Link” is the fifth (5th) feature from the animated film studio Laika. Their previous include “Coraline” (2009), “ParaNorman” (2012), “The Boxtrolls” (2014) and “Kubo and the Two Strings” (2016). “Kubo” being the best of the bunch (I personally believe), followed by “Coraline,” then “ParaNorman,” and lastly “Boxtrolls,” Laika has proven themselves in the world of animation. Their traditional style of stop-motion animation proves Pixar isn’t the only dog with a powerful animated bark and bite around Tinsel Town. With their new release on the rise (Friday, April 12th), Laika seems to continue to be honing their craft by presenting the world with some of the most interesting and unique stories and characters to hit mainstream these days.
Voiced by Hugh Jackman (Sir Lionel Frost), Zoe Saldana (Adelina) and Zack Galifianakis (Mr. Link), “Missing Link” tells the story of Mr. Link, whose passion for seeking long-lost relatives leads him to recruit the unlikely duo of Sir Lionel and Adelina and set out on a complicated journey to the valley of Shangri-La, where Mr. Link believes all of his answers will be found.
I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. It felt like I had seen something like this recently, then it hit me: WB’s “Smallfoot!” Only in reverse, “Missing Link” plants the mythos of Sasquatch back on its feet with a tad of a twist! It isn’t necessarily reinventing the Big Foot wheel, but the story had an interesting approach. I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t mildly entertained. It’s fun and funny in its own way. One of the stand-outs for me was how it serves as a teaching tool in terms of dealing with selfishness, assessing who and what surrounds you, and it even lightly dipped its big, overgrown, smelly Missing Link toe into sexual/gender identity waters. (You’ll know it when you see it.) As an animated feature, I will also say it’s a little harsh in the sense of all the attempted violence (yes, violence) and stern relations among all characters throughout the entire run. However, these days, kids seem to handle and deal with more than adults.
Its other stand-out (and possibly most notable) obviously is the animation Laika uses. To an extent it’s gorgeous and enjoyable to indulge with. As the narrative moves along, you get to soak in crisp environments and scenery. From icy mountain ranges to Asian rainforests, “Missing Link” truly captures the grandeur of its entire existence. In many ways Laika has dug its heels deep within the soil of the business with their own spectacle of style.
While a lot of the humor isn’t necessarily original, sprinkled with some common animation tropes, the film’s enjoyable. The story has its swag and provides a little for everyone, although I do believe its following will mostly come from children. As a whole, “Missing Link” has everything that packages an engaging, animated feature: an adventurous journey, short-comings, triumph, and cute, jovial, colorful characters (including a feisty a Latina)!
Grade: B / Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family / Rated: PG / Run Time: 1:35
Voiced by: Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Zack Galafianakis
Directed by: Chris Butler
Website: Missing Link