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Animation studio Laika is the artisanal cheese-maker of kids’ movies – labouring painstakingly to create a fine brie while the competition is mostly churning out Dairylea triangles. The studio’s fifth feature, a bigfoot adventure in the style of Indiana Jones, gently sends up the world of Victorian gentlemen explorers – ridiculous toffs trotting off to exotic climes with their silk cravats and oversized male egos. It’s pulled off with charm and energy, and the period detail is beyond gorgeous. But, for all that, in places Missing Link feels disappointingly average, with too much tiresome capering and slapsticky fisticuffs.
Hugh Jackman voices Sir Lionel Frost, a twittish old Etonian monster-hunter whose wacky belief in the existence of the Loch Ness monster has made him a laughing stock. When he receives a letter tipping him off about a bigfoot in the wilds of America, Frost sees a chance to prove himself to the walrus-moustached old duffers at the explorers’ society. But the letter, it turns out, was written by the bigfoot himself (Zach Galifianakis), the last of his kind, a goofily adorable 8ft apeman who wants Frost to escort him to the Himalayas to live with his long-lost Yeti cousins.
Laika established its reputation with spooky-ooky kid horrors such as ParaNorman and Boxtrolls. Breaking with house style completely, this is brighter and funnier. The film’s eccentric characters and meticulously constructed world – all William Morris wallpaper and Savile Row tweed – feels more Wes Anderson than Tim Burton. It’s a feast of a movie with dazzling visuals and terrifically acted by the voice cast.
But the storytelling is unevolved compared with the animation. I would have liked more of Emma Thompson as the queen of the Yeti, ruling over a Utopian land of knuckle-draggers like a bored, semi-deranged cult leader. Hers are some of most fun scenes, squeezed into end of the film after all the snoozy chases.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Missing Link review – animated bigfoot caper trips up | Animation in film