Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, Zoe Saldana
Director: Chris Butler
Running Time: 94 mins
Missing Link is an American film about an explorer who sets out to find the illusive Sasquatch, and reunite him with his Yeti cousins in the Himalayas.
Far from the best film from animation house Laika, Missing Link is often frustratingly generic and lacking in emotion and charisma. But even so, what it lacks in that regard it makes up for in gorgeous visuals, pleasant adventure and a fairly heartwarming message, as well as a trio of enjoyable voice performances.
The biggest problem for Missing Link is that it’s stuck in a difficult middleground between easy-going, simple kids’ movie fare and trying to stand out as something a little more memorable. Laika’s legacy of the excellent Coraline and the striking Kubo And The Two Strings means that Missing Link has a lot to live up to in delivering something a little more original, and it’s fair to say that it doesn’t quite manage that.
At first, the film feels frustratingly empty, struggling with poor pacing, average humour and even less-than-stellar visuals. The stop-motion animation is a wonderful feat throughout, but in the early stages, it’s far from spectacular to look at.
As a result, it takes a good twenty minutes or so for the film to really get into its stride, playing on the unlikely friendship between an explorer and the monster he set out to capture. From there on in, the film develops a pleasant and cute heart about friendship, and even picks up with strong humour in the form of an enjoyable back-and-forth between the main characters.
Hugh Jackman and Zach Galifianakis are great in the lead roles, with voice performances that bring a delightful bit of offbeat charisma to what are fairly generic characters. Zoe Saldana also appears later on, and although has less to do, is equally enjoyable as a swashbuckling heiress that joins the others on their adventure.
With all of that, I enjoyed Missing Link quite a bit, but it’s far from the most memorable or affecting animation I’ve ever come across. Its gorgeous visuals notwithstanding, there are few times when the movie has the impact it’s going for, and as such feels like a bit of a disappointment throughout.
It may have put a smile on my face with its cute humour and heart, but it pales in comparison to the striking drama of some of Laika’s best films, and even more so when put up against the likes of Pixar, entirely lacking in surprising or challenging emotional depth.
In that, Missing Link is indeed a lovely film, but little more than another solid kids’ movie. It’s cute, funny at times and visually gorgeous, and despite a rocky start, develops into a thoroughly enjoyable watch by the end. However, it really misses the mark when delivering deeper emotion, proving disappointingly simplistic and forgettable as a whole package, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.4.