Length: 94 minutes / 1.57 hours
It’s been about a decade since I started loosely paying attention to the works of Laika Entertainment. With so few studios committing to stop-motion animation, I’m always intrigued by a movie that isn’t just straight up CGI animation. For the most part, Laika’s films have been entertaining, but not incredibly extraordinary. Movies like Coraline (2009) and ParaNorman (2012) were certainly high points, but my personal favorite was definitely Kubo and the Two Strings (2016). Initially, when I saw advertising for Missing Link (2019), I didn’t realize it was a Laika film. Once I learned that it was, I made sure to see it.
Unfortunately, while I would have liked another film along the lines of Kubo, Missing Link was more like The Boxtrolls (2014) in terms of its humor and presentation. I understand these films mostly target children, but the amount of crude humor mostly turned me off. That’s not to say that the technical achievements of Laika’s stop motion aren’t on full display here. With the advent of 3-D printing, I’ve noticed a marked improvement in the quality of the animation, and Missing Link is no exception. There were even moments where I had trouble distinguishing that it was even stop-motion at all.
Plot-wise, Missing Link doesn’t seem too original. Sitting somewhere between Around the World in 80 Days (1956) and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Missing Link excels as a travel movie and a buddy movie. A few action sequences were exceptional, the best being a chase sequence on a boat and the worst being an unbelievable sequence of events near the end. Fortunately, the pacing was fast enough to keep everything moving and completed without wasting too much time. Considering how long stop-motion animation takes, it’s no wonder why no scene was wasted.
An average story with great Laika visuals, I give Missing Link 3.0 stars out of 5.