Missing Link Review

Missing Link Poster Header

LAIKA is one of the only animation studios in Hollywood that still does stop-motion animation. Film after film, they advance the craft into something that’s both creative and exciting. So it’s kind of a big deal when they release a film. So how does their latest film stack up against the films that came before it?

Although LAIKA essentially does make films for kids, Missing Link is the first truly kid-friendly film that LAIKA has made. Nevertheless, Missing Link is a film that both adults and kids can enjoy.

Missing Link follows Lionel Frost, an adventurous explorer that’s lives for finding the odd and strange. In order to join an exclusive explorer group, Frost must travel to the Pacific Northwest and discover the mythical Bigfoot. However, when he finds Bigfoot, he’s not exactly what you expect.

Missing Link - Zach Galifianakis

Missing Link is such a different film than what we’re typically used to. This is the first time where it feels like you can safely take your kids to this film without scaring them. It’s easily the studio’s most light-hearted affair yet. First of all, Mr. Link/Susan is very reminiscent of Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy. Similar to Drax, he’s very a very literal character. Thus, a lot of his gags stem from his literalness to everything around him. In addition, a lot of the film’s comedy runs off of the ridiculous slapstick nature of having Bigfoot traveling across the world.

As funny as the film is, Missing Link is also very heartwarming as well. It’s not really surprising because that’s one of the fundamental elements of a LAIKA film. Also, Missing Link continues in the long line of memorable LAIKA characters with Susan. He is the heart and soul of the entire film. None of that would be possible without Zach Galifianakis’ performance. He gives Susan such an innocent and naive nature and that’s what makes him so loveable.

Not to mention, Susan’s storyline is why the film is so effective as a heartwarming film. His relatable odyssey is something we all can be sympathetic towards. After all, searching for acceptance and a form of love is what humanity thrives on.

At the same time, Missing Link is also a redemption storyline for the OTHER main character. Lionel Frost is the total antithesis to Susan since he’s not exactly unselfish. He’s kind but he’s kind only for the sake of the advancement of his desires. In fact, Hugh Jackman channels his inner P.T. Barnum yet again for this role. Yet his character progression and Jackman’s naturally charming performance just adds to the sweetness of the film.

Missing Link - Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, and Zoe Saldana

Unfortunately, Adina Fortnight isn’t quite as memorable as the other two. She’s still a fierce character though. But her primary purpose is to advance everyone’s character development with a motherly touch. It’s just a little odd to hear Zoe Saldana’s Hispanic accent—especially since it keeps on coming in and out.

In addition, the film doesn’t quite have an as memorable cast of villains as LAIKA’s other films. The pair of villains are simply one-dimensional as their actions are purely motivated by greed. Not to mention, they don’t produce a lot of conflict for our heroes. Regardless, the film is all about the journey between Lionel, Susan, and Adelina. And what an incredibly beautiful journey it is.

At this point, LAIKA blurs the line between stop-motion animation and CG animation. In other words, a lot of the stop-motion animation looks so seamless that it looks like CG animation. That’s to say that the stutter frame rate isn’t there. However, the animation studio seems to finally is able to blur the line between the two styles of animation.

Overall, Missing Link could easily be one of the most heartwarming films of the year. Admittedly, it’s still early in the year, but the filmmakers and cast have given us a sweet tale of acceptance and family.

Rating: 4/5 atoms

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