Movie Review: Missing Link is a Lovely Little Masterpiece

Missing Link
Movie Review: Missing Link is a Lovely Little Masterpiece
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About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. He is a graduate of Journalism from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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Only once a year or so is an animated movie appropriately praised for its worth. It’s a genre that rarely is charming, beautiful, entertaining and enjoyable for all ages – and all at the same time. That’s the kind of gem Missing Link is.

Most animated films today are predominantly concerned with being funny and easy to understand. Sadly, most family flicks do this at the cost of morals, themes, and interesting characters with goals and high stakes. We’ve already had two like that this year. So to find Laika’s Missing Link as all of the above is some kind of miracle.

It’s not just a well-made animated movie. Writer and director Chris Butler has made one heckuva adventure story with all the best pieces. Great environments, exciting chases, exotic destinations and an interesting journey to see.

Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) is a late 19th century explorer with little success. On mysterious tip, he travels from London to the American west to meet the last known sasquatch, Mister Link (Zach Galifiankis). Thus the two new friends embark on a quest to discover Link’s cousins across the globe to find his cousins…the himalayan yeti.

What’s most enjoyable is Lionel and Link’s chemistry together. The comedic banter is exceptionally smart and ludicrously funny with jokes sourced from their own conversations. Link’s misinterpretations of Lionel’s figures of speech to be literal, such as, are hilarious. And yes, that goes for both the adults and kids.

Photo: Laika Studios

This style of comedy is often overlooked and rarely done well. It evokes the glory days of smart, clean, effective humour from the time where the movie is set. It’s also a bonus the optimism and warmth of the travellers make them such likeable friends.

And as if a good story and execution weren’t enough, Laika double down with their unparalleled skill in stop-motion animation. True, they’ve had great sets and elements from past fantasy films like Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings. But Missing Link takes it to a whole other level – the things they’ve designed are breathtaking.

If you don’t mind the nuisance of glasses and are willing to shovel out the extra $3, this is the rare movie where 3D might be an asset. That third dimension willy fully immerse you into the rich, vibrant, detailed worlds that Laika has designed.

Laika studio’s fifth film – Missing Link – gives them an astonishing record for great family entertainment, reminiscent of Pixar’s early days. This kind of great work is the kind wroth supporting and going to see in the theatres.

Great stories that celebrate the past and maximize the technologies of today is a difficult balance. Even though it’s a bit predictable, Laika may have cracked the code, and the result is a great night out at the cinema. You’d be crazy to miss it.

Missing Link
3 1/2 out of 4 stars

PG, 1hr 35mins. Animated Family Adventure.
Written and Directed by Chris Butler.
Starring Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, Zoe Saldana, Timothy Olyphant, Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.

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