Missing Link Review: A charming animated adventure you don’t want to miss out on
Laika Studios, the creators of Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings, brings another stop-motion adventure to the big screen with Missing Link and creates a suitably fun time for moviegoers of all ages.
The film follows explorer Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) as he is recruited by Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis), a sasquatch, to bring him to others of his kind in Shangri-La. With an evil hunter (Timothy Olyphant) on their tail, the two must team up with talented adventurer Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana) to travel across the world to discover new insights about the world as well as themselves.
The easiest way to describe Missing Link is charming. The innocence of Mr. Link and the pure sense of adventurous spirit that comes from Frost are an absolute joy throughout the film and constantly kept a smile on my face. The chemistry between Jackman and Galifianakis is superb and their character’s sense of humor and care is infectious. Honestly, Missing Link is a perfect example of what perfect casting looks like as everyone plays their parts excellently. Saldana captures the fiery spark and sense wit of Adelina with each line and I couldn’t stop chuckling at how perfect Olyphant was at delivering each of Willard Stenk’s vile lines.
Admittedly, where the film did fall a little flat for me was with it’s wittier, but drier sense of humor and it’s tough to say if both older and younger audiences will appreciate the film’s humor. The humor isn’t bad in the slightest, however, because the humor came off a little drier and is more focused on line-delivery than visual gags, the overall does feel a little sluggish at times. I even felt a little bored because of how the humor is structured and I wasn’t really alone in that.
A lot of the younger kids in my theater were unengaged by the witty humor and really only laughed when there were more physical gags or more action-filled sequences, of which there are few. This isn’t to say that younger movie-goers won’t find things they like, but I would definitely say that the film is more geared towards adults and older children.
Now, none of this is to say that these bumps in the road tank the entire experience of Missing Link as the film has stunning animation and great messages for all ages. The stop-motion animation is incredibly gorgeous as the character design and color palette are so visually pleasing that I’m already waiting for some kind of art book to come out for me to take it all in. Not to mention, Missing Link might just have my favorite depiction of the Loch Ness Monster because once he pops up in the film’s opening, I couldn’t but gleefully laugh.
There’re also some nice themes about relationships, being the same at heart with others that don’t look the same, and what “being home” and belonging truly mean. It’s actually really interesting to see Frost and Link’s relationship develop throughout the film and how Frost comes to realize how similar they truly are. They both have this yearning to belong and equate the idea of being around people like them or people that they highly desire to them being in a place they can call home. However, through their journey and adventures with one another, they begin to realize both their own self-worth and the worth of those they surround themselves with. All of these things are great for anyone to learn and are always relatable, which is what makes Missing Link a film that’s truly great for any and all kinds of movie-goers to see.
Missing Link is another home-run for Laika Studios and is another great example of how talented they are at bringing unique stories to the big screen. There’s a quirky wittiness to it, colorful and awe-inspiring stop-motion animation, and, hands down, a truly stellar voice cast.