Laika Entertainment has set up their most ambitious project yet.
The job of the production studio is to oversell you on whatever cockamamy endeavor they’ve cooked up. Marketing is nothing but smoke and mirrors. Rewind the clock to last year when Warner Bros. manipulated conversation around their disastrous disaster film Geostorm with a series of prank cab rides. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, the great and powerful Gerard Butler will save your summertime blues. When filmmakers start touting their next project as their most staggering work yet, the cynical audience takes the claim with a grain of salt.
With barely a cast announcement, we previously reported our excitement for the fifth feature film from Laika Entertainment. The company that entered into combat against the major animation houses with their 2009 adaptation of Coraline has quickly established a significant critical presence. ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls exposed a rare blend of heart and craft with stories delving profoundly into universal truths. Laika lives up to their hype, and they bolster their confidence with the work itself.
Taking to Twitter, the studio has now saddled their next feature with a title and an evocative glimpse at their hero. Missing Link pledges to be a “rip-roaring comedy adventure” backed by the voice talent of Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, and Zack Galifianakis. Okay, sure, sign me up…but is that the revolutionary material you were anticipating?
In their press release out of Cannes, Laika president and CEO Travis Knight proclaims that Missing Link is their most audacious achievement:
“Laika has once again blended fine art, craftsmanship, and cutting-edge technology to achieve something we’ve never tried before: a raucous comedy entwined with a swashbuckling epic, underscoring the universal need to find belonging. Commingling keenly felt emotion, madcap humor, and retina-bursting visuals, ‘Missing Link’ is a kaleidoscopic cinematic experience unlike any other. It’s the most striking thing we’ve ever done.”
Building from the knowledge gained on their previous efforts, Laika is reaching further than they ever have before. When they say “epic” they mean it. Constructing 110 sets for 65 unique locations, Missing Link will not be contained to a simple childhood adventure. They’re going full David Lean.
Jackman is voicing Sir Lionel Frost. He is a disgraced cryptozoologist that ventures into the heart of the Pacific Northwest to seek redemption by finally capturing the elusive Bigfoot, aka humanity’s missing link. Not the foul creature to be feared, the endangered beast (voiced by Galifianakis) reveals himself to be a sorrowful loner pining for companionship. As they partner with Saldana’s globe-trotting adventurer, Adelina Fortnight, the epic saga begins as the three voyagers set out to discover the remaining members of Mr. Link’s species lost in the fabled Shangri-La.
Throughout the journey, the heroes will bump into a variety of oddball characters. Joining the voice cast are Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Timothy Olyphant, Matt Lucas, David Walliams, Amrita Acharia, and Chang Valdes-Aran. Laika is leaning hard into the comedy of the characters, and backing that humor with proven talent.
We’ll have to take Laika at their word until the film is unleashed upon theaters, but their track record speaks for itself. If they say Missing Link is their most audacious project, I am inclined to believe them. The X-Files + Harry and the Hendersons + Around the World in 80 Days? Yes, please.
Annapurna Pictures is set to distribute Missing Link in the Spring of 2019.