Missing Link is a stop-motion adventure film from director Chris Butler and produced by the film company Laika. It also features an ensemble of A-list actors and actresses voicing the characters.
Set in the Victorian Era, Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) is an adventurer who seeks to join a prestigious club of fellow explorers, lead by the greedy Lord Piggot-Dunceby (Stephen Fry) who constantly mocks Frost. After receiving a letter from America, Frost declares he is headed there to find proof of Sasquatch and connect him as a “missing link” in an evolutionary chain. Dunceby sends the poacher Stenk (Timothy Olyphant) after Frost to prevent him from returning. Upon arriving in America, Frost encounters Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis), a timid Big Foot who desires to go home and be with his Yeti “cousins” hidden in the Himalayas. After meeting up with Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana), whose late husband had found a path to the Yeti kingdom, the unlikely trio head on the adventure with Stenk hot on their trail.
This movie failed at the box office, but I feel for the wrong reason. The stop-motion sets and animation were superb. It was colorful, well crafted, and the voice actors fit all of their roles to perfection. Likewise, the music by Carter Burwell, who has worked on films such as The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, did an excellent job putting it together. It definitely was a smooth ride with stellar artwork.
The problem with the film is the preachiness of it. Science is the answer to everything and only it can provide some sort of meaning to your life. This is manifested in Frost and Dunceby serves as the caricature of the old British stuffed-shirt imperialist who wants to stop Frost from achieving fame because he thinks it will compromise his position. How he makes that leap in logic is beyond me and it makes his motivations incredibly vague.
Now, one message I did appreciate is its denunciation of elitism. When Frost is questioned why he wants to join the adventurer’s club, he says because they told him “he couldn’t.” It was at this point he realized his happiness is not found in the approval of others, but instead his own calling as an explorer. If they had made this the primary message of the film, I think it would have fared better.
Bottom line, Missing Link is a fun, enjoyable, and interesting adventure film with lots of colorful characters and excellent voice acting. It just falls short in its message and stretches the antagonist’s motivation for stopping our hero Sir Frost.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Cartoonish Violence, Peril
FAVORITE QUOTE: He’s had many names. Skookum. Ragaru. Tse’Nahaha. Loo Poo. And most commonly known in a muddled derivation of an old Halkomelen dialect as Sasquatch.
Check out the trailer below:
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