Laika studios is the unsung hero of animation. As Pixar and Illumination continue to advance with their 3D computer visuals, Laika continue to keep it old-school with their brilliant stop motion figures. As it happens, from Coraline to the Boxtrolls, all of their films have a real edge to them, laced with wit and vibrant visuals. Missing Link follows these previous ventures with Sasquatch sized footsteps. With appearances from Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana and Zack Galifianakis, famed explorer Sir Lionel Frost agrees to help the eponymous Mr Link find his long lost relatives in the valley of Shangri-La.
Missing Link is Laika Studios' Indiana Jones. This globe trotting caper sets our trio of dynamic heroes against a backdrop of exciting set pieces and marvellously orchestrated slapstick. In this heartfelt story about identity, director Chris Butler (who has worked on all of Laika's previous movies) moulds extravagant cinematography with dotty humour, enabling this neither hairy nor scary adventure with its own fabulous style and eccentricity.
We also have Jackman and Galifianakis to thank for this. Sir Lionel Frost is the 19th century British answer to Tony Stark. Blessed with charm and intelligence, this explorer's head is in need of some deflating - if he's not wrestling the Lock Ness monster, he's bathing in the glory of his latest discoveries in the comfort of his study chair. Enter Mr Link, whose endearing innocence and social unawareness leads Sir One-Man-Show to recognise the bigger picture beyond fame and recognition. Mr Link wants to find his cousins - the Yetis - and gain a sense of belonging, whilst Sir Lionel wants to prove the existence of the Big Foot - hoping to gain acceptance from the hoity-toity Royal Society Explorer Committee who gaze down their extra ordinarily long noses at him.
The connection between Frost and Mr Link is more engaging than the narrative, which sometimes stumbles. However there are no major qualms to be had with this light and bright expedition. The excitement levels ramp up in the more action-packed sequences of the film: swinging from snow capped mountain tops, leaping between the corridors of a cruise liner sent through incredibly choppy waters, gunslinging cowboys in saloons, fist fights and more - Missing Link has the lot. Best of all, during these unapologetically fun set pieces, the animation moves with an endearing lack of fluidity, something visually unique that only stop motion has the ability to capture.
Laika add another understated adventure flick to the portfolio, and can be profusely proud of their creation, just as if Mr Link is grinning his large set of teeth right in front of your face.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.