Ewan Gleadow

Movie Review: Missing Link

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Copyright: United Artists Releasing

WHEN I watched Missing Link, I must admit I wasn’t all there mentally. By that, I mean I was sprawled out on the couch, a temperature that would make a heatwave look like child’s play and a migraine that could topple even the most braindead of individuals. In the lulls of a morbid, horrifying illness, the bastion of hope that appeared was that I could watch something that wouldn’t be all that taxing on the mind. Missing Link, then, was the answer to my imminently melting brain. A glimmer of light in a vision that was becoming blurred by a horrible affliction I had narrowed down to either man flu, a case of coronavirus, or just another migraine coupled with a fever that would put the Bee Gees to shame. A topical reference, I know.

If anything, Missing Link made me feel worse. Its comfortable animation style and talented voice cast are not enough to provide any sort of sustenance you would expect from a film led by Hugh Jackman. An intrepid adventurer in pursuit of the illusive missing link between man and ape, Sir Lionel Frost (Jackman) sets out in search of this scientific revolution in the hopes of joining a high class, scientific community of high-esteem.

Certainly an interesting story, with much potential to stave off boredom for even the most disinterested of individuals. Missing Link is, at times, a fine movie. Its animation style is colourful and more than durable over the course of its ninety-minute running time. Absolutely perfect for those who need a feel-good, sheepish film to win over young kids or those of us who have had their brains melted by flu symptoms. Either way, it’s hard to be all that harsh on Missing Link when it’s a completely harmless movie, a bit of fluff for an evening where you can’t quite be bothered to do much else.

Then again, it is rather forgettable. Nothing within the film strikes me as all that mesmerising or memorable, and it soon slumps into a category of animation that provides ample visuals but lacks tremendously in story and writing. Clearly not the target audience for this, I can understand some of the cheap shots the film looks to take, but it all feels a tad too conventional, even for its intended audience. Jackman and Zach Galifianakis do their best with a script lacking the energy found within the animation, but do the best they can with such disinterested performances.

It’s really hard to be all that critical of a film where Jackman finds Galifianakis in a forest where all he does is read books. Not in a literal sense of course, that’d make for a rather strange movie, like Swiss Army Man meets I Love You, Man but in a forest rather than the comforts of conventional America. Either way, Missing Link just falls a bit short of being watchable. By all means a visual stunner, but I’d direct those looking for visual mastery to the likes of Kubo and the Two Strings or Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. If you really have exhausted all other options, Missing Link is your mediocre bastion of hope.