Animation juggernauts like Pixar and Dreamworks duke it out for the best CGI animation, hell even Sony and Warner Bros are trying to get a piece of the pie, Laika studios are delivering some incredible stop motion features with previous work including Coraline, Paranorman Kubo And The Two Strings and The Box Trolls. This time around they are embarking on a worldwide adventure with different locations and an all star voice cast with beautiful eye popping animation to deliver a solid film that is arriving at the perfect time for school holidays.
The story revolves around Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) an adventurer in Victorian London who is trying to earn his way into an exclusive mens hunters club headed by Lord Piggott-Duncby (Stephen Fry). When Frost receives a letter advising that the Sasquatch creature has been spotted in Washington, he sets off to finally prove that it exists and earn his way into the club. Upon arriving he meets the sasquatch Link (Zach Galifiankis) who just wants to head to the himalayas to reunite with his Yeti cousins and find his family.
Along the way the are joined by Frost’s acquaintence Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana) who go on a trans atlantic journey through the UK and India to reach the Himalayas and return Link to his family. Sounds easy right? Well to top it off they are also being chased by Stenk (Timothy Olyphant) who wants to claim and kill Link and Sir Lionel Frost.
The story is quite layered and has a lot of moving parts that explores privilege, race, friendship, revenge and family. It sounds like a lot of heavy themes for a kids movie, yet it is told with such heart and having a character who is very wide eyed and innocent like Link helps the heavy parts land softly while still being effective.
Visually the film is flawless. The colour palette used in all the different locations and characters are nothing short of spectacular. The level of detail in a scene in the Indian jungle is jaw dropping. There is also a little behind the scenes of this at the end credits that is definitely worth sticking around to see. The characters themselves are great with Link having so much detail who self-describes his colour as more Autumn than brown. The variety of locations from dark and detailed castles to the icy valleys of the Himalayas, this is definitely Laika’s most ambitious work to date.
The voice talent in this film matches the great detail put into the animation. With Jackman and Galifaikas providing solid lead performances. This is only enhanced with Saldana joins the crew and the trio provide some of the best voice work in an animated film to date. Emma Thompson has a great role as the leader of the Yeti tribe and is allowed to flex some of her comedic muscles. Matt Lucas, Stephen Fry and Timothy Olyphant allow the film to truly be hilarious with their wacky characters.
There is so much to love and adore about this movie and the proven track record of solid films that Laika are producing. This is director’s Chris Butler’s second time directing (after Paranorman) and has truly raised the bar is both visuals and storytelling. This may be the film you haven’t heard of, but it is definitely the film to take the whole family to these holidays.
Missing Link is in cinemas April 8.