Well, we are truly into the school holidays now and, competing with the big-name studios like Disney and Warner, are the smaller, but equally as impressive and gorgeous animation studios, offering kids bright colours and fun stories, while their parents and grandparents revel in some quiet time. One such gem is the newest release from Laika, Missing Link.
The film tells the story of ambitious, but underappreciated explorer Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) whose mission in life is to prove existence of legendary monsters. After a failed attempt to get a photo of the Loch Ness Monster, Frost returns to London to find an enticing letter that prompts him into making a wager with the villainous leader of the explorer’s society (Stephen Fry) and proving the existence of the sasquatch. But when Frost finds the creature, he discovers more than he bargained for as the sasquatch (Zach Galifianakis) enlists his help in taking him to the Himalayas to find his yeti cousins.
Laika is the studio that brought us other stunning stop-motion animations films as Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings, and Missing Link proves to be their latest triumph. The film definitely has a proud and exuberant vibe about it with a colour pallet and artistic designs that can be seen from space. It seems that since Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was nominated for an Academy award, animation studios have realised that Pixar is no longer the only hard-hitter and have started to unleash their full potential.
Missing Link proves to be a most stylish and breathtaking display of stop-motion animation and a real testament to the time and effort that everyone involved puts in. The love for the art, the story, and the characters is felt from the very first scene, making the filmic experience one of complete amore.
The story is very sweet and poignant, exploring themes of identity and friendship, as well as a thrilling and ironic conflict of changing modes of thinking, the most prominent being Darwinism. It’s rather refreshing to meet a villain who is driven by his deeply embedded mode of white, Western, civilised cultural thinking, rather than some random psycho who plans devious things because he’s jealous and unstable (though both types of villains are still present in society today).
We then have this wonderful and quirky cast of voices that all work so brilliantly together, reinforcing that feeling of fun and passion for the project.
I would recommend that you don’t miss out on Missing Link these school holidays, it’s a truly delightful exhibition of animation talent and love for one’s work.