I love big blockbuster movies. Call me a basic bitch all you like, but I truly enjoy those kinds of films. And it’s no secret that we’ve gotten some big ones in the last few months. ‘Avengers: Endgame‘ is quickly becoming the highest grossing film of all time, ‘Detective Pikachu‘ is becoming a huge hit across the pond (at least from my dumb American perspective), and ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters‘ is set to take the world, or at least my trousers, by storm.
However, there is one big issue with these films. See, they tend to grab all the attention and hog it for themselves until the next big one comes out. Because of this, smaller films of equal, sometimes greater, quality are left by the wayside. One of these films is the subject of today’s rant: ‘Missing Link‘.
This movie is divisive for me. Half of me is absolutely in love with it, due to the incredible art and animation, spectacular performances and fantastic opening half. The other half of me is grossly disappointed, thanks to the mediocre dialogue, forgettable score, and lackluster final act. As of me writing these opening paragraphs, I’m unsure as to whether I’d actually recommend the movie or not.
Hopefully I’ll have that sorted out by the end.
Plot: Journey to the Peak of the World
This is where the bulk of my problems with this movie are found. The first half of this movie is genuinely fantastic, with some of the best writing and visuals I’ve seen in a long time. But the second half falls apart completely, dropping all the perfectly set-up threads from earlier in the film.
Sir Lionel Frost is a talented adventurer with a passion for mystical creatures. He desperately wants to become a member of a gentleman’s club for adventurers, but none of them take him seriously. But that’s all set to change when he receives a mysterious letter, leading him to the legendary Sasquatch. He heads to America, where he meets the last Sasquatch: Mr. Link, who asks him for help: to head to the peak of the world and meet his long-lost cousins, the Yeti.
As I said, the first half of this movie is basically perfect! It flawlessly introduces the characters, all of whom are very simple, not incredibly deep, but still highly likable. The opening scene is a ton of fun, featuring some of the best visuals and the best dialogue in the entire movie! I was immediately hooked!
Unfortunately, the second half dropped the ball completely. The pacing goes from brisk and perfect to break-neck and rushed. All the character arcs skip about seven beats and hop straight to the end, with only a scene or two of build-up. The antagonists go from ‘simple, cartoonish and effective’ into ‘brick stupid’, and the conflict all falls apart.
It doesn’t help that the dialogue, particularly the jokes, fall apart completely by the end. ‘Oh, but Jonah!’ I hear you crying in dismay. ‘This is a kids movie! It isn’t written for you!’ A fair point, but consider the following: there were several kids in the audience with me. None of them laughed at any of the jokes.
It is almost as if little kids are smarter than adults give them credit for and they deserve writing that will challenge them.
This is why I’m unsure where I stand on this movie. I absolutely love the first half, and I am hugely disappointed by the second. It is split right down the middle in terms of quality.
Visuals: hold on, I need to wipe the drool off my desk
I grew up watching Aardman animated movies. As such, I’ve always had a huge soft spot for stop-motion animation. So naturally, ‘Missing Link‘ makes my cock rock fucking hard! This movie is so fucking pretty!
Each of the models are absolutely gorgeous! They are beautifully detailed, perfectly communicate what those characters are about, and they flow so smoothly in motion that, were they not obviously made of material, they could be confused for real people! Each and every character in this movie is just straight up beautiful, even if they’re downright hideous!
But they don’t have a thing on the environments! Each one is so full of insane detail that you could physically feel the amount of effort that’s been put into them! Every single frame of this film is gorgeous enough to be a full painting! One that I’d be happy to put on the walls of my apartment.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure I have enough wall space to put them all on. And I doubt my roommates would appreciate me breaking into their personal space to hang my own decorations.
Acting: 10/10 in a 5/10 Film
The performances absolutely carry this movie. This is the only other aspect that I don’t have any problems with whatsoever. Every member of the cast gives this film one hundred and ten percent.
Hugh Jackman in particular is a stand-out. He brings Lionel Frost to life through every single line. He adds a few dozen extra layers of charm to the character, which is more than enough to make him a scene-thief. I absolutely love him in this movie.
But I may be a little biased. He was Wolverine, after all.
Not to say the other actors were worse. Each of them took their characters, even when the dialogue in the script took a turn for the worse, and elevated them to a magical level. They make watching the film a ton of fun, in spite of the up-and-down writing.
Chris Butler may be an average writer. But he is certainly an above-average director. In fact, I’d go so far as to call him a great one!
Score: wait, this movie had music?
Yup. That about sums it up.
The music in this movie isn’t bad, don’t get me wrong. If it were, I’d remember it due to how painful it was. Unfortunately, that means the score is something even worse than bad: it’s forgettable. I genuinely cannot remember a single track from any point in the whole movie.
If you’re a music buff, this is not the movie for you. I can’t even make a joke about it. The score is just too damn forgettable. Moving on.
I feel like a dad. I’m not mad; I’m just disappointed. But I love most of the aspects well enough to still say that I enjoy this movie.
So yes, I would recommend watching ‘Missing Link’. It is a solid and fun family film. You could certainly watch better movies, but it is far from the worst you’d ever watch. Honestly, you could only watch the first fifty minutes or so and you’d still have a wonderful time.
Or you could just do what I do and just stare at the animation. Because good god is it good!