‘Missing Link’ Blu-ray Review: LAIKA’s Latest Stop-Motion Marvel Belongs in Your Collection

     July 24, 2019

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From LAIKA Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment comes Missing Link, now on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD. The latest stop-motion marvel from the studio that brought you Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings delivers a classic globetrotting adventure tale that features Victorian-era sensibilities clashing against New World discoveries, all wrapped up in a story about discovering yourself and finding a place where you truly belong.

If you aren’t familiar with the story from its theatrical run, Missing Link stars Hugh Jackman as Sir Lionel Frost, a brave and dashing adventurer who considers himself to be the world’s foremost investigator of myths and monsters. Trouble is, no one else seems to agree. That’s where Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis) comes in. As species go, he’s as endangered as they get; he’s possibly the last of his kind, he’s lonely, and he believes that Sir Lionel is the one man alive who can help him. Along with the independent and resourceful Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana), who possesses the only known map to the group’s secret destination, the unlikely trio embarks on a riotous rollercoaster ride of a journey to seek out Link’s distant relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La.

Missing Link is a wonderfully adventurous ride that will make a great addition to your family video collection, whether you’re a LAIKA-diehard or not. Check out the home release trailer below, followed by my breakdown of the Blu-ray’s special features:

The charismatic Sir Lionel Frost considers himself to be the world’s foremost investigator of myths and monsters. The trouble is none of his small-minded high-society peers seems to recognize this. Sir Lionel’s last chance for acceptance by the adventuring elite rests on traveling to America’s Pacific Northwest to prove the existence of a legendary creature. A living remnant of Man’s primitive ancestry. The Missing Link.

 

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Thompson, Matt Lucas, Stephen Fry, Timothy Olyphant, Amrita Acharia, David Williams, Ching Valdes-Aran

Missing Link Blu-ray and DVD Bonus Features Include:

  • Feature Commentary by Chris Butler – This insightful track features trivia, Easter eggs, and peeks into the creative process courtesy of writer-director Butler. Once you’ve watched the feature, be sure to give this commentary track a listen, especially if you’re a big fan of LAIKA and stop-motion animation. (The rest of the special features are solid, but a little short; they’ll total roughly half an hour, all together.)
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    Image via Annapurna Pictures

    Creating Mr. Link – This featurette goes behind the creation of the incredibly advanced, complicated, and technologically innovative puppet for Mr. Link / Susan, one of the most complex figures ever created by the studio.

  • Bringing the Final Battle on the Ice Bridge to Life – The slippery scene of the climactic battle had to be shot in stages of different scale owing to the scope of it. See how it all came together and see if you can watch all of the many moving pieces that the teams of animators and VFX artists had to keep track of.
  • Animation Inspiration with Optional Commentary by Chris Butler – Before any animator gets to perform with these puppets, the story itself starts with a script and concept art. This featurette pairs the final, finished scenes from the movie with stills from concept art and other real-world inspirations. Usually, this art is meant to generate a feeling and aesthetic more than a visual guide for the final scene, but these stills are faithfully represented on-screen.
  • VFX Breakdown Reel – Realizing the Potential of Stop Motion – As impressive as the puppet fabricators and animators are, there’s an equally talented team of VFX artists behind the scenes that marry the real-life stop-motion shots with visual effects like scene extensions, additional environmental effects, and characters that couldn’t be replicated with physical puppets.
  • Oh What a Mystery: Pulling the Camera Back on Missing Link‘s Magic – This featurette is one of my favorites. LAIKA movies usually end with a montage of scenes that show the animators working at hyper-speed in order to capture the one-frame-at-a-time stop-motion animation process. It really puts into perspective just how much work and artistry goes into making these movies.
  • Making Faces – This brief little clip shows all of the many faces used in the making of Missing Link, along with a sampling of their voices and range.
  • Inside the Magic of LAIKA – Take a look back at the history of LAIKA with creative team members like Travis Knight and cast members Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, and Zach Galifianakisas they explore the past and present of the stop-motion studio, along with plenty of insider looks at the animation in progress.
  • Gallery x 24 Images

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