Despite being a huge fan of Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings, I’d managed to miss out on Missing Link, the latest movie from stop-motion masters Laika, last year when it was originally shown in cinemas. Having recently won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film, and on the receiving end of a number of other nominations, including an Oscar nom for Best Animated Feature, I was very happy to discover (by chance!) that it had now made its way onto Netflix.
Missing Link is set in Victorian England and tells the story of Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman), an adventurer with a passion for exploration and the discovery of mythical creatures. When we first meet Sir Lionel, he is on a small boat with his assistant, hoping to obtain photographic evidence of the existence of the elusive Loch Ness monster. Such evidence would hopefully grant him membership to the exclusive “Society of Great Men”, which is run by Lord Piggot-Dunceby (Stephen Fry). Unfortunately, despite Nessie making an appearance to Frost, things don’t quite go according to plan and he returns home without any evidence. And in need of a new assistant!
Another shot at entry into the society comes in the form of a letter, which is addressed to Frost on his return home to London. The letter describes the legendary Sasquatch and tells of sightings in the Pacific Northwest so Frost immediately makes a deal with Piggot-Dunceby that will see him accepted should he return with proof that the Sasquatch is real. But Piggot-Dunceby has no such plans to admit Frost and enlists the services of an assassin (Timothy Olyphant) to follow and eliminate him before he gets chance to make it back to England.
When Frost eventually arrives in the forest, he not only discovers the Sasquatch, but also that the Sasquatch can talk and was in fact the one who sent the letter! Sir Lionel names him “Mr. Link” and learns that he just wanted his help in finding his relatives, the Yetis who live in the Himalayas. They join forces and set off, back across America, across the Ocean and across Europe, all the while trying to avoid and outwit the deadly assassin.
Missing Link is more vibrant, more detailed and exhibits a much smoother animation style than any of the previous movies from Laika. It is an outstanding achievement from everyone involved and I am always in awe whenever I see the behind the scenes making of videos from Laika. However, despite looking amazing and featuring some very funny moments from a talented and on-form voice cast, I found Missing Link to the be the weakest in terms of story when compared to Coraline and Kubo. It’s certainly not a bad movie, it just didn’t grab me at any point, and I didn’t feel it was particularly memorable when I’d finished it either.