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Missing Link: A charming and fun adventure.

Ever since Laika made "Coraline" in 2009, they have since gone on to become one of my favorite modern animation studios to date. All of their prior stop-motion animation movies have had riveting and enjoyable stories and have had some of the best stop-motion I have ever seen in my life. After the massive critical success they had with "Kubo and the Two Strings" in 2016 which included getting two Oscar nominations including one for Best Visual Effects, I was extremely curious about their follow up. Now that it's here, I can say that "Missing Link" is once again another fun animated movie from Laika.

Adventure seeker Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) has spent his days tracking down mythical beasts and legends including the Loch Ness Monster. However, what he seeks most is to enter a top adventure organization in London run by Lord Piggot-Dunceby (Stephen Fry) who is uptight and has constantly refused to let him in due to his belief that these monsters, in fact, do not exist. One day though, Frost's luck seems to change when he receives a mysterious letter from Washington state that leads to the legendary Sasquatch. When he gets there, he does in fact run into the Sasquatch himself whom Frost calls Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis). While Link is in fact quite intelligent and has proven to both speak and write, he does feel lonely and wishes to travel to the Himalayas in order to meet the Yeti's whom he feels he is related too. Hoping to get into the organization, Frost strikes a deal with Link saying if he'll take him to the Himalayas, Link will give him some evidence to prove that the Sasquatch exists. From there, Frost, Link, and a free-spirited adventurer named Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana) set off an a grand quest to the Himalayas while they are unknowingly being tracked by Willard Stenk (Timothy Olyphant), a bounty hunter hired by Piggot-Dunceby who wants to kill Frost to keep the legend of Bigfoot a secret.

While I don't think this film reaches the grand heights set Laika's other movies like "Coraline" or "Kubo and the Two Strings", I still found myself invested and enjoying the story. There is a lot of fun charming moments here and there and the humor did make me chuckle every so often. Though what I really loved was the adventure aspect of the movie. Seeing the grand scale of the world was quite enjoyable and I loved how the film took us all over the map where it showed us some gorgeous sites. Where in Laika's other movies, it typically stayed in one specific location, this movie took us grand new places every step of the way. This leads me to talk about the animation which I found simply spectacular. The stop-motion animation from Laika has always been spectacular and quite honestly, this is some of the best work from them I have seen to date. The animation was so smooth that at times it felt almost like a stylized form of computer animation and the sets were simply gorgeous and eye-catching. I also really loved the detail went into the sets. They're beautifully detailed and the painstaking work that went into creating them really paid off in my opinion. As far as the characters go, I think all of them are quite fun and enjoyable. Despite how stubborn Lionel seems at first, I do like how his heart is in the right place and the endure for adventure he has. Even Adelina makes for a fun adventure character with her love for free-spirit. Though the character that stole the show completely was Mr. Link. He was simply a lot of fun with his curious personality and his heartwarming spirit. He was simply a fun character to be around. I will say though if there was one thing about the characters that I wished I learned more about, it was the past involving Adelina. It's said earlier in the movie that she and Lionel had some sort of falling out, but we don't exactly get to hear about it. It doesn't bother me too much, but I do wish it was addressed upon more in the movie though. Also, Lord Piggot-Dunceby was a pretty flat villain. He's another one of those pompous uptight villains who refuses to see the right in the world, though I can say he's one of the better one of those characters. However, he pales in comparison to the Other Mother and the aunts from "Coraline" and "Kubo and the Two Strings" respectively.

Yet in the end, I still found "Missing Link" a fun adventure. The story while not quite as good as Laika's other movies was still exciting and investing, the animation was amazing and simply gorgeous, and the characters were all fun and had memorable personalities. I'm very optimistic to see what Laika brings in the next decade given how good the animated movies they made this decade were and am excited to see where they go next. Still, though, this was yet another fun film from them that I can easily recommend.


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