The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Bryan-College Station Regional participants announced
Ian Curtis, Sports Writer • May 27, 2024

For the second time in three seasons, No. 3 national seed Texas A&M baseball will host the Bryan-College Station Regional, where it’ll...

Advertisement
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

‘Missing Link’ misses the mark

Missing+Link
Photo by Creative Commons
Missing Link

I really wanted “Missing Link” to be good. Not only am I a huge fan of stop-motion, but I also love Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis and Zoe Saldana, the film’s three stars. But while the movie did deliver with a rich, colorful and intricate stop-motion style, it didn’t have a lot going for it outside the stunning visuals.
For a film intended to be a straight-up comedy, there were surprisingly few jokes that actually landed. Something about the delivery seemed off, like the actors were trying too hard to be funny. Which, with an all-star cast led by the likes of comedy veteran Galifianakis, was probably due to poor writing or directing rather than the actors themselves.
Aside from the fact that “Missing Link” is an unfunny comedy, there were a few other things working for and against it. The stop-motion style of the visuals was put to fantastic use, and the film ended up being a delightful visual feast.
The group responsible for the film, Laika Studios, is the same one that did “Kubo and the Two Strings” in 2016 and “Coraline” back in 2009, both to great critical and commercial success. They had experience in stop-motion before working on “Missing Link,” and it really showed.
From the first second of the film to the last, Laika’s near perfected stop-motion stylistic techniques left their fingerprints all over the somewhat lackluster story. The film was an absolute treat to look at, and no matter how bored I got during the movie itself, I didn’t dare look away for even a second for fear of missing the next beautiful sequence.
I admit I am predisposed to stop-motion and have always loved the highly stylized feel of stop-motion works. However, even in terms of other stop-motion films, this one was a cut above in terms of visuals.
Unfortunately, the visuals were the only thing the film got right. Aside from unfunny jokes and poorly directed actors, the film also wasted its high-potential premise. The writers got all the basic story elements in place and even had a strong thematic message that tied the work together, but I felt they just didn’t capitalize on their setting or story.
The plot follows Jackman’s character, an adventurer and monster hunter no one takes seriously, as he treks literally across the globe using trains, ships, horses and other 1800s transportation technology in an effort to bring Galifianakis’ character, Mr. Link, to Britain to show off his discovery — then to Asia to reunite him with others of his kind. Meanwhile, the two are tailed the whole way by a vicious thug set on stealing Jackman’s character’s discovery.
It’s a plot with promise for sure, but the writers waste most of its comedic and emotional potential by skipping around through the journey and focusing more on the destination than the road to get there.
The film does have some emotional moments in it, and if there’s one thing other than quality stop-motion that Laika has proved itself capable of in the past, it’s drama. The characters do show genuine emotional release, and while the thematic elements are stretched a little thin over the film’s skeletal structure, they work nonetheless.
“Missing Link’s” main flaw is trying to be a comedy without any good jokes. The film’s over-emphasis on comedic elements that just aren’t there makes the whole thing feel empty and dull. The style is phenomenal, but spectacular visuals can’t make up for a poor plotline. I really wanted to like this film, but I can’t in good conscience recommend it. Laika missed the mark with this one. Let’s hope they do better with their next stop-motion story.
Keagan Miller is a psychology junior and Life & Arts columnist for The Battalion.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *