Missing Link is the fifth film to come out of the fabulous Laika Studios. Providing another touching story, packed full of meaningful moments, it's clear that Laika has gone in a new direction with this film. It looks amazing and appears to be their most polished work so far – but is it?
Let's say that Laika Studios is the equivalent of the finest of wines. As far as cinema goes, Laika is top-shelf quality. Owned by the Co-Founder of Nike, Laika is named after the first dog in space. If you are not familiar with the Laika back catalog, you are missing out. Films such as Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings are just two to mention.
It's fair to say, that I am a big fan of Laika Studios. So when the first trailer for Missing Link was released, I was overjoyed. The first thing that stands out above all is the cast. Who would not get excited about Zach Galifianakis playing bigfoot? On top of that, you have Hugh Jackman cast as a swashbuckling adventurer.
So did their casting work? Well, yes is the answer. But maybe a little too well. Both of these fine actors bounce off each other brilliantly. Galifianakis gives a perfectly restrained performance and Jackman slips into the role of Sir Lionel Frost, with ease. For me, the issue is that Laika chose to make the animated characters look at little too much like their new stars. That was a little unnecessary for this type of film.
Although the performances from the two leads tend to overwhelm the film, it's the strength of the rest of the cast, that succeeds in getting things on track. Laika is trying for a much lighter approach here, so a selection of quality English comedians is an obvious choice. Think, Stephen Fry, David Walliams, and Matt Lucas. However, the real standout comes from Zoe Saldana who is fantastic playing Sir Lionel's former love interest.
A big plus for Missing Link is that Chris Butler, who wrote Kubo and the Two strings, has also written and directed the film. It works in parts but some scenes are a little over-indulgent. For instance, the intro seems to last a lifetime and the overall direction of the film seems to be missing the edgy darkness that is the trademark style from other of Laika's best films.
This, however, is just a minor complaint because this is a fantastic, quite funny family film. It may lack the complexity of Coraline or Kubo and the Two Strings, which making it more mainstream, but overall, Missing Link is a spectacular showpiece of stop-frame animation and is well worth a watch. Certainly, a great film for the kids to have a laugh at.