Movie Review Monday: Missing Link
While we could have used our Easter weekend moviegoing experience on a new title like The Curse of La Llorona, we decided instead to check out Laika’s latest stop-motion animated film, Missing Link. The film was written and directed by Chris Butler and follows an English explorer, Sir Lionel Frost, who encounters and assists a Sasquatch-type creature. It features the voice of Hugh Jackman as Sir Lionel Frost and the voice of Zach Galifianakis as the creature, Mr. Link. The other voice talent enlisted for the film includes Zoe Saldana, Stephen Fry, Timothy Olyphant, Emma Thompson, Amrita Acharia, Matt Lucas, and David Williams. Released on April 12, 2019, this is the fifth feature film from Laika.
The film begins with Sir Lionel Frost and his assistant, Lemuel Lint, investigating the claims of Nessie in Loch Ness. Frost hopes to capture proof of the creature’s existence in order to gain acceptance into an adventurer’s club of “great men.” Frost and Lint do encounter the creature, but after a harrowing experience, the two only escape with their lives and no further evidence. The encounter causes Lint to leave, angry with Frost about his selfishness and full focus only on his goal. While Frost wonders what other creature he could find to become a member of this club, he receives a letter about a Sasquatch-type creature in America. He rushes to the club to share his latest venture, but finds the leader, Lord Piggot-Dunceby, resistant to any type of claims. They make a deal that if Frost can provide proof of the creature, then he can join the group; however, Piggot-Dunceby does not intend for Frost to return alive. It is when Frost arrives in America and discovers the creature, though, that the whole trajectory of his journey changes.
Laika has been praised in the past for its storytelling, and that tradition continues with Missing Link. While many might assume that animated films are intended for children, this movie can be easily enjoyed by both children and adults. The animation is gorgeous, and the animators spare no ounce of creativity as they bring cities, forests, oceans, and mountains to life on the big screen. It has some well timed humor with unexpected moments to keep people laughing. It is a light-hearted adventure that features a sweet story with relatable characters and endearing themes. The character of Mr. Link takes the forefront as this lovable creature that takes every word literally and desperately longs for a place to call home.
The real triumph of the movie, though, is the arcs of the characters and the lessons learned along the way. The whole story truly rests upon the three main characters wanting to figure out where they belong. Frost has worked tirelessly for years to be accepted into this club, yet he still remains an outsider. Mr. Link has been alone and desperately wants to find a family to call his own. Even Adelina must figure out where she belongs after the death of her husband, another famed explorer. They face some villains that might be the mustache twirling type in look and behavior, but deep down, they represent a group of people uncomfortable with change who vigorously try to cling to traditions of the past. Frost starts out considering these men as great, but throughout his journey, he comes to embody a whole different way of thinking. Frost is not the only one who experiences a personal transformation, and it’s encouraging to see all three main characters grow throughout the narrative.
Overall, I would say that Missing Link is a fun adventure with a lot to offer. Obviously the deeper themes impacted me greatly, but the humor alone makes it worth a watch. Butler manages to use Mr. Link’s literal nature to the fullest, hilarious extent, and the whole story is full of quickly delivered quips and unexpectedly funny moments. Also, the voice cast only makes these characters all the more lovable. Missing Link is a movie you unfortunately won’t hear much about, but it should be seen in theaters if you love a good story and beautiful animation.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.