Missing Inaction

Missing Link is a film with great animation, but has a missing link of its own: relatable characters. It’s got an all-star cast of voices, including Hugh Jackman as adventurer-unextraordinaire Sir Lionel Frost, Zoe Saldana as the feisty Adelina Fortnight, and Zach Galifianakis as Bigfoot, aka Mr. Link, aka Susan.

The movie finds Sir Lionel desperately trying to prove his adventure bona fides to a stodgy old adventurer’s club that wants to cling to the past and eschews modern ideas like evolution (the film is set in the early 1880s). This sets the tone for the rest of the movie: seeking acceptance and learning to live with rejection.

Sasquatch What Happens

His big break comes when he gets a letter inviting him to seek out bigfoot himself, and it starts an around the world adventure that will take him from London to the Pacific Northwest to the Himalayas and back again.  He meets up with a walking, talking and, apparently literate Sasquatch, who is lonely and wants to find his Himalayan cousins, the Yeti.

Here’s where it starts to get convoluted and a bit dodgy for young audiences.

Along the way Lionel tries to woo then rob a woman he’s attracted to but also the widow of his best friend. Adelina is looking to go on her own adventures and prove a woman can do anything a man can, and joins them. All the while, they’re on the run from a hunter/hitman hired by the adventurers to eliminate any trace of the missing link.

That’s a lot, especially for the kids in the audience this film seems to be aiming at.

Hugh Oughta Know

Hugh Jackman told me “This film looks beautiful. It’s got a beautiful message. It’s this epic adventure you can take the whole family to. But in the end, the story is about connection and about people.”

He’s correct on points one, two, and four. But for the whole family? Ummm, not quite. This is a kids movie with a message that’s gonna sail over the heads of kids.

Yes we see the fellow adventurers reject Lionel. Adelina spurns his advances. And the Yeti cousins want nothing to do with Mr. Link. There is a lot of rejection and little redemption. But the big problem is that bigfoot isn’t nearly as goofy as he needs to be to connect with kids. He looks fun and goofy in the trailer and commercials, and Zach’s voice and tone helps. However there is no way he’ll have kids rolling in the aisles or parroting cool catchphrases. They’ll forget about him five minutes after they leave the theater.

The animation is good, but will be just as good on the living room big screen TV. This is definitely a movie you can pop on when then kids need a distraction one afternoon. Of course, I don’t know how long it will hold their attention.

The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation

Evolution Amber Ale. A refreshing beverage that has all the buzz that Darwin brought to science back in the day.

Cheers!

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