Unusual selection: 'Missing Link' is more complex and uplifting than you might expect

(L to R) Sir Lionel Frost voiced by Hugh Jackman, Mr. Link voiced by Zach Galifianakis and Adelina Fortnight voiced by Zoe Saldana in director Chris Butler’s MISSING LINK, a Laika Studios Production and Annapurna Pictures release. (Photo: Laika Studios / Annapurna Pictures)

"Missing Link"
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director: Chris Butler
Chris Butler
Starring: Hugh Jackman, David Walliams, Stephen Fry
Genre: Adventure, Animation
Rated: PG for action/peril and some mild rude humor

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: Sir Lionel Frost, laughingstock of the British exploration community due to his interest in mythical creatures, receives a letter revealing the location of the legendary North American Sasquatch.

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Review: Stop-motion animators of LAIKA have treated audiences to films like “Coraline,” “The Boxtrolls” “Paranorman” and “Kubo and the Two Strings.” “Missing Link” is the first film they are releasing with new distribution partner Annapurna Pictures.

One of the things I’ve always loved about LAIKA films is that, rather than copying the style of Pixar, they have a very distinctive look that places them somewhere between the style of Aardman Animations (“Wallace and Gromit”) and modern digitally animated films. I love the tangibility of their films and look forward to every adventure they’ve prepared to take me on.

“Missing Link” isn’t the film I expected it to be. In this case, that’s not a bad thing. It starts as an animated variation of “The Lost City of Z” where British experts look down their nose at one of their own who dares to question the status quo. Explorer Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman) believes in mythological creatures, including the North American Sasquatch, which makes him an unwanted presence at the local explorer’s club. Undaunted, Frost embarks on his adventure. For many films, this would be enough to stretch into a 90-minute plot.

Not here. No, “Missing Link” finds the narrative space in its 95-minute run time to include a road-trip comedy and a romantic subplot and it still never feels overstuffed or misguided. That’s quite an accomplishment.

If you’re looking for a fun, adventurous and unpredictable movie that is suitable for the whole family, then that film is most certainly “Missing Link.”