Over the years, stop motion animation studio Laika has proven itself to be quite enigmatic: with each film, you never quite know what you’re going to get until it’s over. With Missing Link, you get a swashbuckling, rib-tickling, globetrotting adventure.
In an attempt to gain membership to a highbrow adventurers society, dashing British aristocrat and investigator of mythical creatures Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman) sets out for the Pacific Northwest to find a fabled beasts known as the Sasquatch and prove its existence. Locating the Sasquatch quickly proves to be a very easy task, especially given that Lionel was summoned by a letter from the Sasquatch himself (Zach Galifianakis). But the real challenge starts when Lionel makes a deal with the lonely creature and agrees to take him to the Himalayas so he can find a new home with the Yetis.
Laika’s latest venture comes from Kubo And The Two Strings writer and ParaNorman writer/director Chris Butler, and it shows. Laika raised the stop motion bar when it released Kubo in 2016, and Missing Link is just as visually gorgeous, if not more so. Similarly, the film contains all the humour and warmth of 2012’s ParaNorman, which is easily the studio’s funniest and most joyfully entertaining romp (or it was until Missing Link).
Missing Link is very much on the Boxtrolls end of the Laika films scale: it’s a fun and energetic family adventure, and not nearly as deep or macabre as some of the studio’s other films. It also keeps the emotional side of things light and breezy, but that’s not to say there aren’t emotions at all: the themes of friendship, trust and loneliness might not be heavy but they are consistent.
But, as always, the animation is what truly makes the film, and the chance to explore characters beyond humans and every kind of landscape you can think of — from foggy London and the Wild West to the India’s lush forests and snowy mountain peaks — prove that, when it comes to animation, Laika is at the very top.