Directed by: Chris Butler
Premise: An animated film. A bigfoot (voice of Zach Galifianakis) hires a prestigious explorer (voice of Hugh Jackman) to help him find a civilization of yetis who he believes are the last of his kind.
What Works: For whatever reason there have been several animated features about bigfoot and yetis released in the past couple of years including Abominable and Smallfoot. The best of these, by some distance, is Missing Link. This is a very good example of the charm of stop motion animation. There is something about the look of stop motion that is appealing in a fanciful way that computer generated imagery and traditional hand drawn animation cannot quite match. The stop motion animation of Missing Link suits the characters and subject matter especially well. The movie manages to be whimsical but also grounded by creating characters who are eccentric but also possess relatable desires. Missing Link is led by Sir Lionel Frost, a British explorer voiced by Hugh Jackman. He wants to be taken seriously by the fraternity of upper class travelers and he sets out to find the bigfoot in order to make a name for himself. The bigfoot is intelligent and able to speak but he doesn’t understand the nuances of human civilization. Voiced by Zach Galifianakis, the bigfoot is lonely and wants to find more of his own kind who he believes will accept him as one of their own. They are joined by Frost’s former associate Adelina, voiced by Zoe Saldana, and Frost and Adelina must patch up their relationship and work together in order to succeed. Each character’s desire is interlaced with the others, compounding the stakes, and these travelers are placed within an adventure that moves along briskly with action sequences and quite a bit of humor. It’s also a movie about the search for home, a theme common to animated pictures, and it says something a little more complex than the average family film.
What Doesn’t: Missing Link is less ambitious or innovative than some of Laika Entertainment’s other films like Kubo and the Two Strings or The Boxtrolls. The story is warmer than some of the studio’s other projects but it is also a safer and more mainstream film. That makes Missing Link more accessible and this film will play for the family audience a little better than some of Laika Entertainment’s other movies which tended to cater toward an older viewership. But the story of Missing Link is also a little more conventional and not nearly as challenging as some of the studio’s other work.
DVD extras: Commentary track, featurettes, image gallery, trailer.
Bottom Line: Missing Link is a terrific piece of animated entertainment. Although it’s not as bold as some of Laika Entertainment’s other movies, Missing Link is funny and full of great characters.
Episode: #791 (March 1, 2020)