Lush, Beautiful Stop-Motion;
Laughs With A Message.
After the absolute wonder that was Kubo and the Two Strings, I couldn’t to see this. Laika’s stop-motion is breathtaking, and I’m happy to report that this is no exception. So far, each of their five films have doubled their budgets and been heavily praised by critics and families alike. They know their formula and deliver accessible, funny, heartwarming family films that are simply splendid to watch.
Chris Butler serves as writer and director, having also written Kubo, as well as writing and directing Paranorman. His script may be a bit saccharine, but its abindant charm lies in its wide array of realized characters and its ability to generate a high amount of quality laughs. It touches on colonialism, fitting in, bullying, friendship and acceptance, and it doesn’t have to be challenging to get a point across. Kids and adults alike are bound to love the mix of slapstick, situational comedy and mild danger.
Desperately seeking approval from stuffy aristocrats and desiring to join their exclusive club of “adventurers” (who never seem to go outside), Sir Lionel Frost travels the globe in search of strange beasts, myths and more. The film opens with a great set piece showing him in action, but the club members refuse to believe or admit him. The story kicks into gear when he sets off for America in search of Bigfoot, at the invitation of the creature itself. Where it went from there was absolutely joyous, a bit unexpected and highly rewarding.
The cast all does a great job. The chemistry between Hugh Jackman and Zack Galifianakis is easy to infer based on their voices alone, and it feels like they had a ball with the recording process. Zoe Saldana, Emma Thompson and especially Timothy Olyphant all do well to make their parts memorable, bringing distinct elements to their voice work and having fun doing it.
This is a very enjoyable family film that doesn’t need subtle, subversive adult humor to make the adults have just as much fun as the kids. The pace is perfect, the message is strong and the fun never stops. This is a surefire winner, another home run for Laika.
Missing Link Written and Directed By Chris Butler
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