I am a big fan of Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), and I like Paranorman (2012) and Coraline (2009), but I still haven’t seen The Boxtrolls (2014). That’s my history with Laika Studios, and despite being mostly a fan, I was unable to make it to the theater to see Missing Link (2019). It even took me a month to finally watch the film after I bought it – though, to be fair, I’ve owned The Boxtrolls for years now and still haven’t seen it. Despite my reservations about this film, I ended up enjoying it.
Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) desperately wants to be accepted and respected by a community of explorers and has dedicated his life to proving the existence of mythological creatures. His most recent failure with the Lochness Monster has set back his chances, but when he receives a letter giving him the opportunity to find the missing link, he is revitalized. However, the surprise is that the letter is from Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis), the Big Foot himself. Together, they set off to help the lonely sasquatch find his long-lost relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La.
Galifianakis is always hit or miss with me. There are some performances and jokes that absolutely crack me up, and then other times I find myself just staring blankly at the screen. In reality, that happens here a few times when the jokes feel forced, and just don’t land. However, the character he is playing is cute and charming enough that I never felt annoyed by those jokes, and the ones that did work were great. I enjoyed Jackman and Zoe Saldana’s performances quite a bit in this movie, and their characters helped smooth over the bad jokes.
Laika always impresses me with their animation style and the heart their stories tell. Missing Link has a ton of heart, and that’s really what won me over in the end. The movie tackles the idea of finding one’s place, and what constitutes a family. These themes are present in Kubo, and I think Coraline and Paranorman as well. I connect with this every time. I don’t think that the look of this film is as impressive as Kubo, but I still like the overall art style. The two combined really help make this an enjoyable experience.
Missing Link is definitely worth a watch. If you’ve enjoyed Laika’s other films, then this is definitely one to check off the gap list. It is charming and sweet, and a positive film from 2019. Missing Link earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.