The Laika animation studios are moving towards family cinema for the first time. Whether her fifth and latest prank MISTER LINK – A FURRY CRAZY ADVENTURE Nevertheless, the long-established fan base will still be convinced, we reveal that in our review.
The Plot Summary
The charismatic Sir Lionel Frost (Christoph Maria Herbst/Hugh Jackman) considers himself to be the world’s leading researcher of myths and monsters. In order to live up to this claim, he sets out on a journey with the aim of discovering the existence of the legendary ancestor of the… To prove to people the legendary ‘Missing Link’. And he actually finds what he is looking for: the creature (Bastian Pastewka/Zach Galifianakis), which he names Mister Link, turns out to be a harmless, surprisingly clever and sensitive creature. Mister Link is the last of his kind and is therefore very lonely. But he still has one hope: According to a rumor, distant relatives of his live in a legendary place called Shangri-La! Sir Lionel doesn’t need to be persuaded for long and the two set off together. They are supported by Adelina Fortnight (Collien Ulmen-Fernandes/Zoe Saldana), an independent and clever adventurer who has the only map that can lead them to their goal. And so the unlikely trio embarks on a turbulent journey to the other end of the world to track down Mister Link’s relatives. But dangers lurk around every corner, as devious villains want to make the mission fail at all costs…
Explanation of the Ending
“Coraline”, “ParaNorman”, “The Boxtrolls”, “Kubo – The Brave Samurai” and even “Corpse Bride” are stop-motion animated films with a large fan base and outstanding critical feedback. The reason: The Portland, Oregon-based production studio Laika Animation, unlike the CGI competition from Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks and Illumination, does not necessarily appeal to a family audience (we remember: slapstick and a simple message for the little ones, pop culture references for the big ones), but also tells stories for adults in its elegant, playful, and sometimes very dark look. This is partly indicated by the age rating: the scary film “ParaNorman” was only released for ages twelve and over, which is what quite a few people also demanded for “Coraline” and “Kubo”. This approach is self-confident, because as a result there were no major box office successes. The Laika fan base is even more loyal. Nevertheless, with its fifth and latest in-house production, “Mister Link – A Furry Crazy Adventure,” the company is now presenting a film that parents and their offspring can watch together for the first time with a clear conscience. The typical Laika narrative maturity is not neglected: Over the course of its 95 minutes, author and director Chris Butler (“director of “ParaNorman”, author of “Kubo”) draws attention to feminism, racism and lived equality. And although the adventure and discovery aspect is quickly neglected, “Mister Link” is still a nice film in the best sense of the word.
When they first meet, Sir Lionel Frost and Mister Link are equally surprised by each other.
The very first encounter between Sir Lionel Frost and the Yeti-like ape creature is not only one of the most touching animated film scenes of recent years, but also perfectly summarizes the narrative strengths of “Mister Link”: The ambitious researcher has his goal to find the furry monster , namely achieved very early in the film. And when, out of surprise, he starts a conversation with him, he even answers. In this one moment, Chris Butler throws all of the audience’s expectations out of the window: This is not about a confrontation or even a fight between good and evil, but about the careful approach of two completely different species. And it goes even further, because the two are not that different: when asked why the creature, later named Mister Link by Sir Lionel Frost, actually knows human language, he answers that he simply listens carefully and then a lot have practiced. And so you almost feel a little caught out, because what actually made you believe that someone – just because they don’t look like us – can’t be able to speak our language? The same applies to the assumption that this shaggy animal must surely be malicious. Or that it will hardly find its way in the human world. All completely false assumptions that make us grow fonder of the eponymous hero all the more.
At the beginning, “Mister Link” draws its appeal primarily from the interaction between the two fundamentally different main characters. With this, Chris Butler carries the laudable, if simple, message “Don’t be put off by the appearance of a person (or Yeti), because it’s the inner values that matter!” with a proudly puffed out chest (ergo: not very subtle), but it still works believably in the context of the story. In addition, much more serious topics can be touched on. For Sir Lionel Frost, for example, it is self-evident from the start that, as a human being, he is clearly above his discovery, which from now on has to be carried by the researcher and has to endure taunts. In order not to cause too much distress to the character of Sir Lionel Frost, Chris Butler stages this behavior more as awkwardness than as entrenched (or even malicious) classism, but the parallels to racist ideologies are still unmistakable and easy, especially for a young audience to digest. It is not for nothing that the happy ending of “Mister Link” is based primarily on equality between men and Yeti, but also between men and women; By the time the credits roll, fellow traveler Adelina Fortnight has also long since established herself from a sidekick in need of rescue to a strong, independent adventurer.
The visuals of “Mister Link” are, as usual, outstanding.
“Mister Link – A Furry Crazy Adventure” works best between the lines. However, trying to reconcile the laudatory messages with the adventure aspect doesn’t always work. A few excessive slapstick scenes – including a bar fight that gets out of hand and a chase on a ship that is visually similar to “Inception” – occasionally increase the pace of “Mister Link” for a short time, but instead of the unlikely trio’s journey of discovery To stage the Himalayas as a classic road movie, Chris Butler uses the time primarily for long conversations. That’s a shame, because “Mister Link” is full of humor, especially in the fast-paced scenes. The long dialogue scenes ensure that “Mister Link” continues to drag on despite its manageable running time of just 95 minutes. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the design of the film in all scenes is simply intoxicating. A total of 110 sets with 65 different locations were built for the film. However, the entire production effort becomes particularly clear when you pay attention to the details: When Sir Lionel Frost tears stacks of letters off the table, what feels like 100 letters are flying around (you could just as easily see the scene stage half of these letters). When the explorers trudge through a sandy backdrop, you can see the true-to-original outlines of their feet in the ground. And when the camera pans towards the sky, a few birds quickly fly through the air. The makers can rightly be proud of this technical production effort.
Conclusion: “Mister Link – A Furry Crazy Adventure” is at the usual high level in terms of tricks; the story combines a simple message with typical Laika wisdom. Mission successful: The stop-motion company can also make a family film!
“Mister Link – A Furry Crazy Adventure” can be seen in USA cinemas from May 30th.