Missing Link is the latest computer-generated kids film about hairy humanoid creatures and their adventures. The Yeti-themed Small Foot came out earlier this year, followed by The Son of Bigfoot, so it’s becoming a craze. This latest one certainly is best-looking in terms of animation, but its script is, sadly, sorely lacking.
Hugh Jackman voices Sir Lionel Frost, who is an adventurer and essentially a cryptozoologist before that term was used. He is routinely dismissed by his snotty peers from the society of “great men,” but who would want to join that group? However, he is desperate to do so. He receives word of a Sasquatch in the Pacific Northwest (where else do you find them?) and travels there. He finds Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis), who is a kind good-natured ‘Quatch, and since he has also heard of the Yetis in the Himalayas, they go on a adventure there. The usual conflict ensues, including bounty hunters and Frost’s arch-nemesis Lord Piggot-Dunceby (Stephen Fry), etc.
The problem is that the mixture of stop-motion and computer animation is beautiful at times, but the screenplay by Chris Butler, who also directs, is the most obvious Bigfoot story ever—it’s just predictable to the extreme. I could’ve came up with a better story when I was 5 years old. It panders far too much to little kids, with very little of interest to older kids or grown-ups. The humour and action just falls flat constantly, and it’s only 94 minutes long. There are “kids’ movies” and “little kid” movies, but this most certainly falls into the latter category. So, if your kid is into monsters they will probably enjoy it.
Although Son of Bigfoot‘s animation was not very good, its story about a son who goes out to try to find his dad in the woods, who turns out to be Bigfoot, and then has to deal with an evil corporation wanting to use the dad for experiments, was a decent little story with a nice pro-outsider message thrown in. Given that Chris Butler cut his teeth on Henry Selick films, it’s kind of disappointing, but at least Missing Link was made in his hometown and the spiritual home of the ‘Squatch, Portland, Oregon.
The voice work is decent: Jackman and Galifianakis play off well on each other, and Zoe Saldana voices Adelina Fortnight, who is Frost’s fierce ex and gives the little girls in the audience somebody to relate too, which is good. Timothy Olyphant plays the main bounty hunter (a role he can literally play in his sleep), Emma Thompson voices the Yeti Elder, and Matt Lucas and David Walliams also do voices… and if I never had to hear their voices again, I would be a happy man. Overall, some of the animation is nice, but the story is so threadbare and uninvolving that you just want to watch Harry and the Hendersons again, which is still probably the high mark of kids’ films about everybody’s favourite hairy ape-like creature.
The Blu-Ray includes the usual commentary and featurettes