Missing Link (2019)
Laika has longly been one of the most underrated animation studios getting little to none namesake appreciation despite producing some incredible films like Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings with some of the best animation of the decade capitalizing on painstakingly impressive stop motion animation. Every single one of their films is made with so much heart, even the weakest stand out in their own way, yet the studio never seems to have the proper hype around it as seen with this film. Despite being from a studio that had proved itself time and time again people judged this trailer with no faith and it seemed like no one was excited about this film. Personally, I was ecstatic to see this film and sure it isn't the next Caroline or Kubo and the Two Strings it does have many charming elements and is another solid addition in the Laika collection.
One of the most eye-catching aspects of Laika films is their animation and this is no different. I got the chance to go to the Laika Experience this past year at San Diego Comic-Con and to get to see all the work that goes into creating these films give a whole new level of appreciation. It takes so much effort and planning to create just a few seconds of a film like this and for them to create an entire movie of such high quality is truly mindblowing. The sets look incredible and I love the range of environments that they explore. This is a worldwide adventure that spans from deserts to snowy mountains and they all look incredible. The voice acting and characters are also really fun. Sure the human characters don't have a ton of depth and their character arcs are more basic and cliched but they never were annoying mostly because of how much fun both Hugh Jackman and Zoe Saldana are in the leads. I have to say though that Zach Galifianakis is as the Missing Link himself (or as he later names himself Susan) steals the show for me. Not only is his character easily the most interesting but he also has the best comedy and naturally is a ton of fun.
Speaking to the comedy in this film it is fine, there is plenty clearly meant to speak to a younger audience but it never came off as annoying or distracting. There is also a natural charisma to this film that helps give the older audience something to enjoy when the jokes don't quite deliver. The main thing holding this movie back is its story. Where it is far from bad it also lacks a lot of depth or interesting voices. This is a movie that has had its story told before which makes it overall feel much more forgettable when compared to Laikas other projects. Again though it never fell into being a bad kids movie, it was always well made and enjoyable but simply lacked the depth to be something really special. If you are a fan of animation I do recommend you head to the theater to check out this film, despite a slow opening weekend I hope this is enough for Laika to continue making unique films that push what animation can be and continue to give unique movie experiences.