Laika, a production house where stop motion animation is a dedication. In a new movie called “Missing Link”, you would think if you wanted to watch “Kubo and the Two Strings”. In my honest opinion, these films involve skilled people in their respective fields. Laika raised their realistic again through this movie to liven up the story and character. It’s more towards a naturalistic style where stop motion animation has never reached.
Arianne Sutner, the producer, revealed their efforts to create quality stop motion. According to her, every shot is like a visual effect and the audience wants to see the characters breathe. Laika has 60 different sets and 250 more components per doll. There were around 30 doll models per character with more than 100,000 unique faces. There are so many facts that Laika with their “Missing Link” is the most phenomenal production. However, it didn’t provide enough pay-off for the mainstream audience too.
The story is about Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis), an eight feet tall hairy creature yet literal, funny and sweet. Living alone in the Northwest Pacific, he recruits a brave explorer, Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman), to guide him. Mr. Link wants to find a long lost relative in the fabled valley of Shangri-La. Together with other adventurers, Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana), the three face a considerable amount of risk when they travel. At the very least, they only need their family, even where they never expected it.
“Missing Link” took everyday themes you could say we have often encountered in many films including family films and animation. It’s about a home in the sense of a place where someone is comfortable. It’s about a dilemma where the protagonist looks for a house so he doesn’t feel lonely anymore. This is what Sir Lionel faces, about being an adventurous community as his home. On the other hand, Susan tried to make the Himalayas as her new home. However, there is a complexity in both sacrificing a piece of detail or giving up everything.
Indeed, “Missing Link” refers more to a specific mainstream audience than their previous films. This movie, compared to the films they have produced, was the lightest, simplest, but colorful film. The plot is so generic, so general, and quite monotonous. The characters, besides Sir Lionel and Susan, aren’t very prominent. Other supporting characters don’t have many moments or screens to make the story more solid and real again. The antagonist is too common for an animated film like this. Exposition and dialogue keep repeating, like absorbing the same information over and over again.
We cannot doubt Laika’s ability when talking about visuals. The studio succeeded in perfecting the stop-motion technique. As a result, this movie has a smooth and beautiful animation. The majority of puppet-style visuals and artificial environments are also like a perfect processing digital. There are many moments where I also forget I watched a stop-motion animation. Until you notice little details on it, you can tell the difference. Stop-motion animation indeed too old-fashioned for most people. The majority of them say that as well. But, this is one of the studios that still have passion.
It’s one of the worse films from Laika Studio. Although this film tries to play it safe, they at least try. Laika’s previous projects took risks and also successfully built a special original story. Actually, “Missing Link” is a great movie, not too much interest just because it still sticks to its traditional way. Above all, it’s not an ordinary film. However, this is one of the interesting films. Yet, it’s still decent when seen from anywhere.
3 out of 5 stars.