Missing Link is an American stop-motion animated adventure film written and directed by Chris Butler and features the voices of Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, David Walliams, Timothy Olyphant, Amrita Acharia and Matt Lucas.
The film follows Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman), a daring explorer who continuously searches to prove the existence of different creatures in the world to allow him to be accepted into an exclusive Victorian London society headed up by his rival Lord Piggot-Dunceby (Stephen Fry).
When Frost receives a letter confirming the presence of a Sasquatch (Bigfoot) he believes this will provide the “missing link” between humans and early man and so makes a wager with Lord Piggot-Dunceby that if he finds the creature then he must be allowed into the society.
Lionel travels to the Pacific Northwest where he finds the Sasquatch (Zach Galifianakis), who speaks English, likes to be called Susan and is lonely as he is the only one of his kind. Lionel agrees to help Susan find his relatives the Yetis but in order to do that he first needs to acquire a map to Shangri-La from a former girlfriend, the fearless and fiery Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana). Adelina agrees to let them have the map as long as she accompanies them on their trip to the snowy Himalayas.
Unbeknown to them is the fact that Piggot-Dunceby has hired a bounty hunter, Willard Stenk (Timothy Olyphant) to track down Frost and kill him to ensure he never ridicules the society again!
The film comes from Laika Entertainment, the studio best known for its stop-motion feature films which include Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls. Longtime Laika animator-director Chris Butler takes up the writing and directing duties as well as designing the characters.
Visually the film is stunning as Laika combine intricate stop-motion animation enhanced with computer animation. No detail is spared from the textures of the characters outfits to the fur on Susan and the Yetis to the landscapes of the Himalayas and Victorian London.
All the characters are perfectly voiced with Zach Galifianakis in particular doing an excellent job at portraying Susan with his childlike manner, lack of self-awareness and his tendency to be extremely literal minded. The character is charming and is responsible for many of the film’s biggest laughs.
While the studio’s stop-motion animation has never been better there is no denying that the narrative and character development is more low key then their previous offerings.
Despite that, Missing Link is a funny and sweet film about adventure and friendship told with beautiful looking visuals which fans of Laika’s previous work will all appreciate and enjoy!