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3 (out of 4)
It’s a new Laika movie – what more need be said? Maybe Boxtrolls has been lost to forgetfulness but Coraline, ParaNorman and Kubo and the Two Strings are some of the leading examples of what one of the most antiquated processes of animation has left to uncover in an overwhelmingly digital age.
Each project of this sort – Aardman is the only other studio crazy enough to commit to these insane undertakings – requires the investment and integrity of a painstaking collective. The efforts are always rich and rewarding purely by the homespun aesthetic, often regardless of how the story plays out. Missing Link, like other Laika features, secures an impressive voice cast (Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, Zoe Saldana) to bring an original oddity to life. Landing more on the comic side of the studio's crop, it follows a stubbornly stalwart explorer (Jackman) out to prove Sasquatch’s existence only to discover the myth is desperate to locate a purpose of its own. While these films typically have a bedtime aura between homey and haunting (Coraline most accurately), this movie’s jaunty edges and absurdly old-fashioned adventure trappings render Missing Link a revivifying albeit slightly less sincere shift from its predecessors.
As wee as it is, in relation to 2019's paltry context Missing Link is an unsailed channel in a sea of familiar. Though almost all these movies are created with the intention to fail financially, hopefully the founding Knight family doesn’t discontinue their factory of creative obsessions any time soon. As long as people are dedicated enough to continue stop-motion animation’s history of fastidious wonder there will surely be enough patient viewers to beam as their tedious work intricately unfolds.
To keep it brief...
Soon to Come:
The Rise of Skywalker
A Hidden Life
"So what've you been up to?"
"Escaping mostly... and I escape real good."
- Inherent Vice