Movie Review: 'Missing Link'
A British explorer helps a lonely Bigfoot reunite with the Yeti tribe.
"Missing Link" is a globe-trotting animated adventure, set in the late 1800s, about an eccentric British explorer who searches for Bigfoot so that he can bridge the gap of the evolutionary record. The movie is funny, exciting and suspenseful at times, but might not be a good choice for sensitive children.
The story begins with Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman) who considers himself to be the world’s foremost investigator of myths and monsters. He wants to join a prestigious men's club in England, but they refuse to let him in. Eventually, they make a deal. If Lionel can prove that Bigfoot exists, then he can join the club.
Sadly, the snobby men's club doesn’t really like Lionel and they set out to thwart his expedition. They arrange for a bounty hunter to find Lionel and kill him.
Meanwhile, Lionel receives a mysterious letter from someone in America who claims to know where Bigfoot is. Lionel decides to sail to America and meet the person who wrote the letter. He travels to Washington state in the Pacific Northwest, and then ventures into the wilderness to meet the mysterious letter writer. Surprisingly, the letter writer turns out to be Bigfoot himself (Zach Galifianakis) who can talk and walk like a human being.
Bigfoot doesn't know his parents and was never given a name, so Lionel calls him Mr. Link. He is a friendly and kind-hearted but admits he is incredibly lonely. Mr. Link asks Lionel if he could help locate his distant relatives, the Yeti, aka “Abominable Snowman," in the fabled valley of Shangri-La.
Lionel agrees the help Mr. Link but he's really looking out for himself. If Lionel discovers the Yeti tribe,this would be his ticket to fame and fortune. Surely, the prestigious men's club would finally let him join their group.
They head out to Shangri-La, without any idea how to get there. They visit Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana) a Spanish-speaking widow of another explorer with the only known map to Shangri-La. It's a long journey as the trio ventures into the Himalayan Mountains to find the Yeti tribe. Their adventure takes a turn when a bounty hunter shows up from the prestigious men's club.
What Parents Should Know
"Missing Link" is a rowdy rollercoaster ride of a journey that's best suited for ages 7 and older. It is not a good choice for sensitive children, as the characters encounter life-and-death situations, and are stalked at every turn by a dastardly villain seeking to thwart their mission. There are Wild West shoot-outs with guns, axes and knives. Characters try to kill each other. There is also breaking and entering as characters sneak into a woman's house to steal her map. The woman tries to shoot them, but later they become friends. All of this might be confusing and nightmarish for sensitive children.
The movie's production design is epic, with vibrant landscapes reminiscent of National Geographic. The breathtaking landscapes of the Shangri-La are peppered by scary scenes of people being thrown into a pit to die, mistreatment from a wicked ruler, perilous situation that involves hanging form a cliff, shooting showdown on a bridge, and villains falling to their death.
It's been said that life looks greener on the other side. In "Missing Link," the characters realize that they can be happy in their present circumstances, rather than someday in the future, when they accomplish their goals. Lionel realizes there’s a lot more to happiness then discovering Bigfoot and being welcomed into a snobby men’s club. Mr. Link assumes he'll be happy in the land of the Yeti but that also takes an unexpected turn, a welcome bit of inventiveness in this otherwise predictable adventure.