It has been 3 years since the engagingly rich and complex world of ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’. Laika are back again and this time they’re setting their hands on constructing the search for legendary creatures.
Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) is a self-centred explorer and investigator of mythical monsters; in his hopes of joining an exclusive club, he sets out to find a Bigfoot. After finding this beast surprisingly fast, Frost comes to realise what a gentle and awkward giant Link (Zach Galifianakis) is. Together they trek the planet in the hopes that Link can find home with more of his kind.
Laika, as a studio, are a dream machine of stop-motion animation and this globe trotting adventure truly proves what a master of the arts they are. It’s their most light-hearted and comically toned outing yet and it is also true that a fair few of the aspects in ‘Missing Link’ are catered to children but it is a colourful and beautiful story to watch.
The hustle and bustle of London town to the wilds of America and India to the snow capped Himalayan mountains; this film provides many points on a whistle stop guide of the world. Each new setting is breathtaking and an astonishing feat of craftsmanship, that as a fan of stop-motion you cannot help but internally applaud. It isn’t just the backgrounds, the close up textures of fur or rosy red skin or the angular sharpness of Frost’s face show what fun Laika have in making distinguishing features for their movies.
This narrative tries incorporating humour into the film more than the depth or darkness found in the likes of ‘Coraline’ or ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’, in a way it feels akin to the breezy style of Aardman Animation. The chuckles in this mostly come from the characteristics of the hairy Sasquatch and it is very kiddy but it has some mildly amusing graces.
The vocals from all involved, including the likes of Stephen Fry, Zoe Saldana and Emma Thompson are all spirited, bouncy and they lift this film with an extra boost of energetic delight. So, even if the film may not be memorable enough to last out until the end of the year, it’s light and fun enough to stick on in the future and gather round for an afternoon flick.
Sadly, Laika are in a financial sticky spot as of late, with their recent films not performing so well at the box office. Even if ‘Missing Link’ has tried to be more approachable and family friendly it hasn’t helped them which is a shame because it’s a charming jaunty movie. It’s too little and too late to say but please go watch Laika films and support them before we end up in a cinematic marketplace where the art of stop-motion has no place.