The movies find a ‘Missing Link’

“Missing Link”

Back to the category of animated movies we go … and it hasn’t been long since our last visit there, given the relatively recent release of “Wonder Park.”

As with superhero tales, though, there’s a danger in so many of them crowding the market in a concentrated period of time. That understandably leads audiences to expect more of each one, and stepping up to bat in the cartoon category is “Missing Link,” which is bemusing without being genuinely magical – a combination that may satisfy older viewers but leave younger ones wanting.

The title character of “Missing Link” is a Sasquatch literally named Link, and voiced by Zach Galifianakis. He’s pursued in the Pacific Northwest by an explorer who has the recognizable and well-placed voice of Hugh Jackman, and once the two meet up, they set off on a revised quest together toward the place where the bigfoot ultimately wants to settle.

That’s a bit more sophisticated than might be expected from this sort of tale, reflecting a certain maturity on the filmmakers’ part … but also cutting down on the kind of antics that might keep kids in their seats. There is humor, to be sure, but more than a bit of it is of the type that may sail straight over the heads of those whose tickets qualified for children’s prices.

The animation in “Missing Link” is at once lovely and abstract, as might be expected from the same studio that issued “Coraline” and “ParaNorman” (the latter of which was written and co-directed by Chris Butler, who also directed this picture and wrote it as well). And the voice cast is intriguing, as often is the case with such efforts these days. Zoe Saldana, Timothy Olyphant and Stephen Fry also are heard.

“Missing Link” is a unique-enough entry on the animated front, but as technically fine as it is, connecting fully on an emotional level is the link it’s really missing.

(A worthwhile addendum, for those interested in such matters: The picture marks the re-entry of United Artists into the movie business as an active brand. It will be much more a releasing company than a production entity in its new iteration, but it’s good to see that imprint return. It will be back on the James Bond series next year when Daniel Craig’s fifth and last chapter in the franchise debuts.)

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

jbobbin has 2287 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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