Missing Link (2019 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Chris Butler|
|Screenplay by||Chris Butler|
|Music by||Carter Burwell|
|Edited by||Stephen Perkins|
|Distributed by||United Artists Releasing|
|Box office||$24.2 million|
Missing Link is a 2019 American stop-motion animated adventure film written and directed by Chris Butler and produced by Laika in association with Annapurna Pictures. It features the voices of Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, David Walliams, Timothy Olyphant, Matt Lucas, Amrita Acharia, and Zach Galifianakis. The plot follows an English explorer who encounters a Sasquatch-type creature and must escort him to his Yeti cousins in the Himalayas.
Released in the United States on April 12, 2019 by United Artists Releasing, it was the first Laika film not to be distributed by Focus Features. The film underperformed at the box office, but received positive reviews from critics, who praised the "exquisitely crafted sets and a pleasant, easygoing vibe".
Sir Lionel Frost, a struggling investigator of mythical creatures, has continuously searched for different creatures to study and announce their presence in the world, which would allow him to be accepted into a society of other "great men", which is led by Frost's rival Lord Piggot-Dunceby. Frost receives a letter acknowledging the presence of a Sasquatch, making a deal with Piggot-Dunceby that would allow him to join the society if he proved that the creature was real.
Frost travels to the Pacific Northwest, eventually stumbling upon the Sasquatch in a forest. After dubbing him "Mr. Link," Frost is told by the Sasquatch that he was in fact the one who sent the letter. Mr. Link requests Frost's help in finding his relatives, the Yetis, in the Himalayas. Frost agrees to help him, but is unaware of the fact that Piggot-Dunceby has hired a bounty hunter named Willard Stenk to track Frost and kill him, ensuring that he never ridicules the society again with his continuous searches.
Frost's old lover Adelina Fortnight has a map to the Himalayas locked in a safe that belonged to her late husband, one of Frost's past partners, so the two visit her mansion to acquire it. However, Adelina harbors resentment for Frost missing her husband's funeral and kicks him out when he offers to pay her for the map. Frost and Mr. Link come back later at night and break in, but Mr. Link's noise-making awakens Adelina, and the safe eventually falls out of the top floor window, cracking open in the aftermath. Frost and Mr. Link grab the map and escape, but are discovered the next day by Fortnight who allows them to search for the Yetis as long as she is there to accompany them. Stenk arrives and a shootout ensues, but the trio trick their pursuer into hopping on the train to search for them.
The trio make their journey via boat, and Fortnight pressures Frost into reaching out to Mr. Link to prove his sincerity. Frost enjoys a heartwarming talk with Mr. Link on the boat's deck where Mr. Link gives himself the name "Susan", after a friendly prospector he once encountered. However, they are once again ambushed by Stenk. After various scuffles across different parts of the ship, the trio eventually locks Stenk in the boat's boarding rooms while they make another escape.
The trio eventually makes their way to the Himalayas and are pointed in the direction of the Yeti temple, and led to their Queen, who reveals their secluded valley to the group. She then reveals their disdain for mankind extends to Susan, who's interacted closely with them. They throw the trio in a pit for them to stay until they die. Susan gives Fortnight a boost and she knocks down a few Yeti guards, allowing them to stack them and escape. They run across the ice bridge, where an armed Piggot-Dunceby and Stenk are waiting at the center of the bridge. Frost denounces his rival's pride and defends Susan as more human than the society ever will be. As a result, Piggot-Dunceby starts firing his rifle at the ice bridge, causing it to crack and break. Piggot-Dunceby and his assistant Mr. Collick fall to their deaths while the trio and Stenk make a run for it. They are too late and are left hanging on the edge of the destroyed ice bridge. Stenk, who has made it all the way across, taunts Frost, which leads to the two engaging in a slapping fight while hanging on the bridge. The trio work together to rid themselves of Stenk, who falls to his death after an icicle breaks and falls on him. Frost appoints Susan as his new partner in investigations, who blows a raspberry at the Yeti leader.
After arriving home, Fortnight tells Frost that she will be adventuring on her own for a while and departs, but not before the pair share a brief mutual acceptance of their feelings for each other. Susan and Frost arrive back at the latter's workspace and begin their next case to find Atlantis. After they leave, the end credits reveal maps and souvenirs of their subsequent adventures.
- Zach Galifianakis as Mr. Link/Susan, an innocent, gentle Bigfoot searching for his relatives.
- Hugh Jackman as Sir Lionel Frost, a self-involved myths and monsters investigator.
- Zoe Saldana as Adelina Fortnight, a fierce yet free-spirited and conscientious adventurer, and Frost's former girlfriend.
- Stephen Fry as Lord Piggot-Dunceby, the prideful, snobbish head of a society of "great men", and Sir Lionel's rival.
- Timothy Olyphant as Willard Stenk, a bloodthirsty bounty hunter hired by Lord Piggot-Dunceby to stop Frost's quest.
- Emma Thompson as the Yeti Elder, the paranoid, secretive leader of the Yetis.
- Amrita Acharia as Ama Lahuma, a mountain guide who Frost and his companions meet and leads them to the Yeti temple.
- Matt Lucas as Mr. Collick, Lord Piggot-Dunceby's neurotic right-hand man.
- David Walliams as Lemuel Lint, Frost's former assistant who resigns at the start of the film.
- Ching Valdez-Aran as Gamu, Ama's grandmother and a Yak Herder.
- Humphrey Ker as Doorman, General Pugh
- Adam Godley as Lord Bilge
- Neil Dickson as Mr. Roylott
- Ian Ruskin as Lord Scrivener
- Matthew Wolf as Lord Ramsbottom
- Darren Richardson as Alfie
- Alan Shearman as Lord Entwhistle
- Jack Blessing as McVitie, Conductor. This film is Blessing's final film role, his voice role having been recorded before his death on November, 14, 2017.
- Richard Miro as Ricardo
- Jaswant Dev Shrestha as Elderly Villager
New Worlders voiced by Kirk Baily, David Beron, William Calvert, David Cowgill, Kerry Gutierrez, Bridget Hoffman, Scott Menville, Erin Myles, Juan Pacheco, Paul Pape, André Sogliuzzo, and Scott Whyte.
Himalayan villagers voiced by Phal Tong Lama, Yangchen Dolkar Gakyil, and Tharlam Dolma Wolfe.
On April 25, 2018, it was announced that Laika had begun development on "Film Five," a new animated film written and directed by Chris Butler and starring Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, and Zach Galifianakis. The film was set to be produced in association with Annapurna Pictures who was also expected to handle domestic distribution. On May 7, 2018, it was announced that the film had been titled Missing Link and that additional voice actors would include Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Timothy Olyphant, Matt Lucas, David Walliams, Ching Valdez-Aran, and Amrita Acharia.
Production was reportedly underway by May 2018 with Laika's artists having constructed over 110 sets with 65 unique locations for the film.
The film was released in the United States on April 12, 2019 by Annapurna Pictures through United Artists Releasing. It was originally scheduled for April 19, 2019, but it was moved up a week after The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle's release date was moved to 2020. On February 4, 2019, it was announced that the film would be distributed through Annapurna Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's joint distribution company United Artists Releasing, a re-branding of Mirror Releasing. Lionsgate handled distribution of the film in the United Kingdom and Ireland, while AGC International will be handling international distribution for the film.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Little, Hellboy, and After, and was projected to gross around $10 million from 3,314 theaters in its opening weekend. However, after grossing $1.6 million on its first day (including $230,000 from Thursday night previews), it went on to debut to $5.9 million, finishing ninth at the box office and marking the 12th-worst opening for a film playing in over 3,000 theaters, the worst opening for a film playing in over 3,150 theaters, and the lowest start for a Laika film ever. In its second weekend the film dropped 27% to $4.4 million, finishing eighth.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 89% based on 133 reviews, with an average rating of 7.13/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Another beautifully animated triumph for Laika, Missing Link is a visual treat with lots of humor, plenty of heart, and even a little food for thought." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 68 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 81% and a "definite recommend" of 63%.
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