TV & FILM
brian-mcgee - November 8, 2018
Over the course of four films—Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings—Portland-based animation studio LAIKA has established themselves as a major force in the world of stop motion animation. Actually, they're more or less the only game in town for stop motion fans, but their output has been almost Pixar-like in its originality and sense of wonder.
The studio now delves into the world of outright comedy for the first time with their fifth film, The Missing Link. While there has been plenty of humor in their past efforts, I wouldn't go so far as to call any of their previous efforts comedies.
This one, on the other hand, looks, sounds, and feels like a comedy. Zach Gailifianakis stars as Mr. Link, an eight-foot tall link in the evolutionary chain between man and ape. He summons famed cryptozoologist Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) to come and introduce him to the world of man, and the unlikely pair set out for adventure to the jaunty whistling of Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard."
The most common complaint leveled against LAIKA is that their films are so intricately detailed and tinged with melancholy that they're almost more appealing to adults than kids. This is a misconception as the films are enjoyable by people of all ages, but I must admit that this feels like the first of their films explicitly aimed at kids. That's not a bad thing or a good thing, just something that makes this stand out from their previous films.
The Missing Link finds its way to theaters on April 19, 2019.