a critiQal film review Missing Link (2019)

Plot: Meet Mr. Link (Galifianakis): 8 feet tall, 630 lbs, and covered in fur, but don’t let his appearance fool you… he is funny, sweet, and adorably literal, making him the world’s most lovable legend. Tired of living a solitary life in the Pacific Northwest, Mr. Link recruits fearless explorer Sir Lionel Frost (Jackman) to guide him on a journey to find his long-lost relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La. Along with adventurer Adelina Fortnight (Saldana), our fearless trio of explorers encounter more than their fair share of peril as they travel to the far reaches of the world to help their new friend.

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  • ...despite seemingly aimed at kids, our experience had their attention wandering even as the adults continued to chuckle at the on-screen antics.

With July 23rd bringing 3 new films to DVD and Blu-Ray (Alita: Battle Angel (2019), Hellboy (2019) and Missing Link), we thought for sure that we would be watching Alita: Battle Angel (2019) today.  Instead, the grandkids stopped by, and so, we watched new animated film Missing Link.  Would us adults enjoy this film, or would this just be another animated flick for the grandkids that we’d have to suffer through?

The voice cast is decent in Missing Link.  Hugh Jackman, while recognizable as Sir Lionel Frost, is similar enough to the character that viewers won’t find that a problem.  Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover (2009)), however, is unrecognizable as the main character, and even Zoe Saldana hides her voice well.  This makes for a better-than-expected performance from Galifianakis (still silly, bit a little less over-the-top than usual), and the viewer won’t have a hard time reconciling Saldana’s voice with her animated character.

The story behind Missing Link isn’t bad, and manages to toss in a little food for thought even while delivering a comedy-filled adventure for this trio.  Sure, the story feels a bit rushed at times, and none of the characters are really fleshed out, but this simplistic approach seems to work well here.  There are some underlying issues of friendship and the like that help the film resonate a bit more, and parents shouldn’t have a problem letting their kids watch this.

The animation is a bit reminiscent of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which is a bit off-putting – especially in this post Pixar-led CGI revolution in animation.  It’s odd, since the same techniques were used for previous Laika films Coraline (2009) and ParaNorman (2012), but it’s a lot more noticeable in Missing Link than in those previous films.

Surprisingly, while Missing Link managed to entertain both Carmella and I, the grandkids quickly lost interest (despite one of them being fascinated with the Bigfoot legend).  Even as their attention wandered, we found ourselves chuckling at the dialogue and antics on-screen (especially the lovingly inept Link himself).  Maybe that’s just an anomaly, but it seemed like this animated film was  aimed a bit more at an older crowd, who will find themselves enjoying it almost in spite of themselves.