Reviewed by: Blake Wilson
Sasquatch and Yeti stories and legends
Racial discrimination (prejudiced treatment)
Zach Galifianakis … Mr. Link (voice)
Hugh Jackman … Sir Lionel Frost (voice)
Zoe Saldana … Adelina Fortnight (voice)
Timothy Olyphant … Stenk (voice)
Emma Thompson … The Elder (voice)
Amrita Acharia …
Matt Lucas … Mr. Collick (voice)
Stephen Fry … Lord Piggot-Dunceb (voice)
David Walliams …
|Director:||Chris Butler—“Kubo and the Two Strings” (2016)—writer, “ParaNorman” (2012)|
For years, Sir Lionel Frost (voice of Hugh Jackman) has dreamed of finding proof of the most legendary creatures who supposedly walked planet Earth. The Loch Ness Monster, the Mermaids of the Bermuda Triangle, and the Sasquatch. One day, Lionel receives a letter from a Sasquatch (voice of Zach Galifianakis) in the Northwestern United States. Upon arriving, he eventually tracks down the creature.
And to his surprise, it’s a creature that can walk and talk! To Lionel’s surprise though, the creature yearns to not be alone anymore. He wants to find companionship with his cousins, the Yetis up in the Himalayas. With some persuasion, Lionel agrees to take him there. Along the way, they require the help of a former ally, Adelina Fortnight (voice of Zoe Saldana) to outwit some clever enemies, get Mr. Link to where he needs to be, and prove one of the most interesting discoveries of our time. Entertainment Quality
Laika Studios has always brought stunning animation to the screen. With a stop-motion (clay-style) approach, they always bring something unique in comparison to the other animation studios on the market. And, this one does not disappoint. There’s a colorful, children’s book style to the animation that is really fun to watch.
As the lead, Jackman starts off a little stiff, but he grows into the character as he goes along. Saldana also starts off being a little too stiff, as well as mean-spirited, but she too grows into her character as the film progresses. Galifianakis proves to be the best casting choice here. He gives a wonderfully-cartoony charm to Mr. Link (who later wants to be called Susan). Mr. Link is the most memorable character in the movie, though the film does seem to lose focus of his character in a few places.
The film itself moves a little slow in its first third, before becoming more coherent and better-paced through the last two thirds. There’s a few very entertaining action scenes, a couple of nice slow-down scenes, and a strong ending. The plot has one or two interesting twists later on, and they both work in bringing the overall moral of the story full-circle very nicely. The film’s sense of humor doesn’t quite gel at times, with only a few gags towards the end really standing out.
There’s a really good message here about the value of friendships over selfish desires. Lionel only cares about himself and becoming a part of a club of explorers. In the meantime, Link looks up to him and really thinks a lot of him. It’s through this natural friendship these two develop that they find a greater sense of happiness. By the end of the film, Lionel stands up for his friend.
Besides this, Link and Lionel come to understand that sometimes what they want isn’t exactly what they need. ***MINOR SPOILERS*** Lionel sees the group he so desperately wants to be a part of is as selfish and cruel as they come. And Mr. Link comes to notice that the place he wanted to go wasn’t exactly as welcoming and friendly as he hoped for. ***END SPOILER***
With that in mind, there’s a message here on thinking carefully about the people we hang around. Sometimes people can have a good influence on our character, while others can do just the opposite. This is a very Biblical message, and reflects Proverbs 13 and 1 Corinthians 15:
“Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” —1 Corinthians 15:33
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” —Proverbs 13:20
Meanwhile, characters risk their lives for one another and stand up for each other.
Language: There’s an incomplete s-word (“my cave smells like shhhhh”, he is immediately shushed before finishing), and one use of “oh, g**”. Someone says the British crudity, “oh, bollocks!” at one point.
Adult Content: There’s talk of Lionel and Adelina’s previous romance, but it never goes into any inappropriate discussion. Occasionally, they both will hug or lean in for a kiss, but are interrupted. Mr. Link is bitten in the rear end by a horse, and he exclaims, “I barely know you!” One other time, a woman stranger blows a kiss in Lionel’s direction, as he walks through town. In an attempt to be thrown into the air, Lionel says “hold me tightly!” Mr. Link takes this quote the wrong way and says, “Are you sure? Adelina is watching!”
To Lionel’s astonishment, Mr. Link decides to name himself Susan. He tries to make clear that it’s not a boy’s name, but the creature doesn’t seem to care about gender specificity. On the surface, it can be seen as a silly joke (or, on the other hand, it could be taken as a transgender joke).
Violence: An assistant of Lionel’s nearly gets eaten up by the Loch Ness Monster at the beginning of the film, resulting in a high-speed chase scene (with the poor assistant’s legs dangling out of the monster’s mouth). There’s a handful of other slapstick brawls throughout. One takes place in a bar. Guns and an ax are used to threaten people and nearly hit their targets on a few occasions. Tree limbs smack people. Someone is hit between their legs. An assassin is shown with a few scars on the top of his head. People are shown at one point hanging perilously from an icicle.
Drugs/Alcohol: Wine is seen at a meal. Alcoholic drinks are seen being consumed in a saloon.
Other: The top of a background character’s rear end is seen briefly at one point. Lionel, at first, is shown to be a character of bad influence. He steals, lies and thinks selfishly (but he later has a change of heart). A few bathroom jokes appear. Mr. Link discusses wearing someone’s underwear (inside out). When asking Mr. Link for physical evidence to show people back home, he says, “Oh you want my poop now?” In the mountains, Mr. Link eats dried pieces of Yak dung, and seems to really enjoy it.
There’s a fair amount of talk of Evolution during the movie. Lionel tries to prove the link between man and his Evolutionary ancestors with his discovery. Of course, the people trying to stop him are against that idea.
Is there fossil evidence of ‘missing links’ between humans and apes? Did ancient humans live millions of years ago? Answer
Who’s who and what’s what in the world of “missing” links? Answer
Science and The Origin of Mankind—GO
Some may think of the explorer’s club as being meant to represent an opposing ideology. Maybe it’s meant to represent religion? There’s never really a clear answer as to what exactly they stand for. And the only real questionable hint in the film is a forced moment of dialog where the leader exclaims, “Order will prevail!”
While their movies are stunning, Laika is also notorious for making films that touch on controversial and inappropriate subjects. These make their films not very family-friendly. “Coraline” and “ParaNorman” pushed the edge of the envelope for animated films, with plenty of mature jokes and very dark moments. While a lighter film in many respects, “The Boxtrolls” seemed to carry a message that mirrored the pro-LGBT agenda. And their most recent film, “Kubo and the Two Strings,” while avoiding political messages, still encouraged strong Eastern mysticism and reincarnation.
Thankfully, “Missing Link” is a lighter, more kid-friendly effort from the studio. It doesn’t completely sidestep occasional eyebrow-raising content, but it’s certainly a few steps in the right direction. From a quality standpoint, it’s pretty good for animated fare. There’s a thoughtful story, some clever and exciting moments, terrific animation, and a couple of great messages. It’s a little slow and out-of-focus in places and has a few awkward jokes, but it’s altogether a pretty entertaining ride.
Families and Christians will need to take caution on a few issues before taking kids along. Parents will easily pick up on some dialog discussing Evolution, as well as a minor political jab regarding the name Mr. Link chooses and a few other innuendos/head-scratching moments. A lot of these, however, may go over younger kids’ heads. There’s also some shoot-em-up scenes of animated slapstick violence and peril that may prove a bit intense for very young ones.
Overall, “Missing Link” is a fairly solid animated film. It won’t be considered a classic, in my book, and it has its drawbacks, but it’s definitely watchable.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.