REVIEW: ‘Missing Link’ is a short and sweet crowd pleaser

Not going to lie. After sitting through “Hellboy,” “Little” and “After,” getting to watch “Missing Link” was actually a nice treat.

“Link” is the latest from the animation studio Laika, which made a personal favorite of mine called “Kubo and the Two Strings” a few years back. The movie tells the story of Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman), a crypto-zoologist who tries to dig up evidence on mysterious creatures on Earth, such as the Loch Ness Monster.

His latest endeavor brings him to the northwest corner of the continental United States on a search for Sasquatch. Interestingly enough, Frost not only meets the creature, but learns that the Sasquatch can speak English and actually has a goal of his own. The Sasquatch, who comes to be known as Mr. Link (voiced by Zach Galifianakis), wants to make it to the Himalayas to connect with Yetis, who he believes are his own species.

Frost and Link come to a deal, where Frost will bring Link to where he wants to go in exchange for a chance to document the fact that the Sasquatch does exist. Along the way they team up with an old friend of Frost’s named Adelina (Zoe Saldana) and are chased by mercenary, Willard (Timothy Olyphant).

“Missing Link” is a rather charming, simple animated feature coming in at just about an hour and a half. The film is quite breezy, with a simple, straightforward adventure plot taking the characters from A-to-B-to-C. It’s easy to get into and go along for a fun ride.

However, this story structure only allows for so much depth and by the end of the film, one is certainly ready for things to be over. That’s not to say “Link” overstays its welcome, but it does come somewhat close.

Character-wise, the roster is likable. Frost is a very fun protagonist who has a lot of smart quips and a few science- and history-related jokes that will probably fly over the heads of younger audiences.

Link makes a fun co-protagonist, too. The character is written somewhat like Drax from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies where he takes everything literal and it gives way to some funny moments when Frost is simply using figures of speech.

The voice cast is all on point here, too, with nothing feeling phoned in and many of the performers getting the tones right, especially Jackman as Frost.

The biggest strength the movie has, though, is its animation. The film looks beautiful, vibrant and the stop-motion animation by the crew at Laika is flawless. It’s amazing how good the stop-motion looks, especially in some of the film’s action sequences.

There’s one moment in particular where a ship the characters are on is close to capsizing and Frost is running down a hallway that turns on its side. It’s an incredible piece of work.

“Missing Link” is the perfect movie for an afternoon matinee. It might not be an animated classic, but it has enough charm in its story, good humor, and some gorgeous animation, making it worth a watch. 3.5 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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