Missing Link (PG)

Action (2019)
95mins US/Can

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Emma Thompson, Zoe Saldana, Zach Galifianakis, Timothy Olyphant
Director: Chris Butler
Writer(s): Chris Butler
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Sir Lionel Frost receives a mysterious letter, which beckons him to the west coast of America to learn the truth about the fabled Saskwatch. Frost follows directions and encounters a talking creature called Mr Link, who is desperate to travel to the Himalayas to be united with the last of his kind, the yetis. A feisty old acquaintance called Adelina Fortnight joins Frost and Mr Link on an intrepid expedition but their movements are closely monitored by gun-toting assassin Stenk.

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LondonNet Film Review
Missing Link (PG)

In 2017, Oregon-based stop-motion animation wizards Laika came tantalisingly close to winning their first Oscar for Kubo And The Two Strings, a visually sumptuous rites-of-passage adventure evoking an age of Japanese feudal loyalty. For the studio's long-awaited follow-up, writer-director Chris Butler and his army of puppet fabricators, model-makers and creatives go west to London and America's Pacific Northwest for a rip-roaring Victorian-era expedition to validate the existence of mankind's primitive ancestry. Missing Link is a painstakingly crafted, technical tour-de-force, populated by gorgeously hand-crafted characters and incredibly detailed sets that range from a vast ocean liner and a rarefied gentleman's club to a rootin' tootin' saloon and an ice-laden temple...

Missing Link. Copyright: Lionsgate Films/Laika. Caption: Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman), Mr Link (Zach Galifianakis) and Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana) in Missing Link, directed by Chris Butler. All Rights Reserved.The amount of painstaking work crammed into each vibrantly painted frame is jaw-droppingly evident - it takes a small army one week to produce approximately four seconds of animated action. In terms of emotionally complex and challenging storytelling, Laika's fifth feature feels like a small but noticeable step back. Butler's relentlessly upbeat, family-friendly script trades in humour and boo-hiss villainy rather than inner turmoil and self-sacrifice, promoting core messages of acceptance and understanding in a world where mankind destroys the things it does not comprehend.

Suave English gentleman Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman) and long-suffering assistant Lemuel Lint (David Walliams) nervously await a close encounter with the Loch Ness Monster. Photographic evidence of the aquatic beast's existence should secure Sir Lionel admission to an esteemed fellowship of high-society adventurers and explorers in the heart of London overseen by egotistical president Lord Piggot-Dunceby (Stephen Fry). The trip to bonnie Scotland ends in water-logged disaster and Mr Lint quits his position. Soon afterwards, Sir Lionel receives a tantalising letter, which beckons him to the Pacific Northwest to learn the truth about the fabled Sasquatch.

He follows hand-written directions and encounters an 8ft, 630lb talking creature (Zach Galifianakis), who is desperate to travel to the fabled Himalayan valley of Shangri-La to be united with furry relatives, the yetis. "My pensmanship isn't great," apologises the soulful hulk. "Opposable thumbs, fat fingers..." Sir Lionel agrees to lead the globe-trotting odyssey and invites the forest-dwelling companion to pose as his new manservant, Mr Link. Feisty old fame Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana), who possesses the only map of Shangri-La, joins Sir Lionel and Mr Link, unaware that they are being shadowed by a gun-toting assassin called Stenk (Timothy Olyphant).

Missing Link goes down a treat like a cup of Sir Lionel's freshly brewed Earl Grey. Jackman plies his natural charm as the cane-wielding trailblazer, whose greatest discovery will be his own compassion. Saldana is a spunky, unconventional love interest and Galifianakis captures the sweetness of an evolutionary miracle, who takes Sir Lionel at his word. Literally.

- Jo Planter

Missing Link. Copyright: Lionsgate Films/Laika. Caption: Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman), Mr Link (Zach Galifianakis) and Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana) in Missing Link, directed by Chris Butler. All Rights Reserved.

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