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Western Animation / Missing Link

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Missing Link is a 2019 stop-motion animated film by Laika. The story follows Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman), an avid explorer who seeks to discover proof of the world's most famous legends. One day, he encounters a Sasquatch (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) who is the last of his kind, and wishes to join the Yetis, his cousins, in the mythical land of Shangri-La. Together, the two set off on an incredible journey to unite Mr. Link with his brethren.

Not to be confused with The Missing Link or the wrestler.

  • Action Girl: Adelina is fully capable of holding her own in a fight.
  • Adult Fear: Imagine being Gamu, and then imagine a bunch of men come along and threaten to not only shoot you (and your chicken), but your infant great-grandson.
  • An Aesop: You don't need the approval of others to define yourself. There's a difference between acceptance and friendship.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Or rather, "Alas Poor Mook". Mr. Collick may not be as decent a person as our heroes, to say the least. But at the last minute, he sees Sir Piggot-Dunceby for the monster he is before he tragically follows his master's fate of falling to his death. Even Sir Lionel looks back at him with pity.
  • Animal Motif: Adelina's is birds. It only plays a small role in one scene where her room has a pet canary and a peacock stained glass window. But it's Sir Lionel who invokes how Adelina craves freedom like a bird in a cage.
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  • Artistic License – Geography: Maps of the United States show Arizona and New Mexico despite the movie being set in 1909, before they became states.
  • Bald of Evil: Willard Stenk. It serves to expose his sinister scars.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Lionel and Adelina have this in spades. It's heavily implied they had an affair in the past, and the two have several suggestive scenes together.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: The eponymous Link is a bigfoot, and the protagonists encounter a tribe of yetis.
  • Book-Ends: The story begins with Sir Lionel's assistant quiting for good, and ends with Sir Lionel finding a new one, Susan.
    • The beginning of the story shows a shot of Sir Lionel's office, complete with a photo of Adelina. The story ends with a similar shot, but this time, photo!Adelina's smile seems to smile upon the adjacent photo of Sir Lionel and Susan as friends.
  • Classy Cane: Sir Lionel has one.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Mr. Link is a walking bundle of this at times. Sir Lionel is also prone to this as well, in an egotistic way.
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  • Crapsaccharine World: Yes, Shangri-la may be lovely and pristine and overall preserves the very beauty of nature. But its inhabitants, the Yetis, are not only cold and isolationist, but heartlessly sentence all intruders to life imprisonment.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Stenk falls to his death with an icicle pinning his torso down.
  • Disney Villain Death: Lord Piggot-Dunceby, Mr. Collick, and Stenk all meet their end this way. Doubles as a Karmic Death for Piggot-Dunceby, as he had tried to destroy the ice bridge to kill Lionel, Adelina, and Mr. Link, only for him to be the first to fall.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Zigzagged. The yetis' punishment for trespassing on their land is... not death. Instead, they imprison trespassers for life.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Lionel's hunt for the Loch Ness monster with his long-time assistant paints a picture about his character, from his love of discovering new creatures to his sense of adventure all the way down to his unwitting insincerity.
    • Also, the fact that his assistant is quitting for good "this time" paints a picture of how easily Lionel's insincerity tends to drive people away.
    • Adelina is introduced sadly looking upon a picture of her late husband, showing how empathetic she is and how much her husband's map means to her. Also, the photo shows her and her husband flying in an air balloon, indicating her lust for life.
    • Additionally, the photo counts as her late husband's establishing moment, showing he was a good husband as well as a great man.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Stenk's torso is impaled with an icicle an instant before he falls to his death.
  • Fatal Flaw: Lionel has two glaring ones. First, he's highly insecure about acquiring proof for whatever he discovers and belonging. Second, he's an egotist, to the point that he cares more about himself and the creatures he's hunting than the people in his life.
  • Foil: Between Sir Piggot-Dunceby and the Elder Yeti. Sir Piggot-Dunceby is a man who believes England was meant to spread its rule and conquer, believes man is meant to shape the world and is not above hurting others in order to stay on top. The Elder Yeti on the other hand believes in keeping her kingdom of Shangri-la hidden, appreciates the beauty of nature, and would rather keep intruders captive rather than "savagely" kill them. Nonetheless, both act elitist towards their respective heroes and refuse to accept them.
  • Foreshadowing: The giant foot print in the snow can easily be a hint of the existence of the yeti and their part in the story.
    • A portrait of Adelina can be seen hanging on the wall of Lionel's office, showing his connection to her.
    • The letter Sir Lionel receives that gives him a lead to the elusive Sasquatch seems badly written. It's a telling hint that the letter was written by none other than the Missing Link himself.
    • The audience is treated to a view of the plaque for the Optimates Club. Sir Lionel's carriage unwittingly splashes mud onto it. This hints that Sir Lionel will come to disown his dream of joining their club.
    • The Elder Yeti sharing the true name of Shangri-La, "Keep-Out-We-Hate-You" not only paints how isolationist the yetis are but how little they care for Mr. Link (or any outsiders for that matter).
      • Not to mention how the Elder Yeti refers to Mr. Link as the yetis' "red-neck cousins", reflecting hers and the yetis' deep-rooted disdain for even their branch cousins.
  • Gentle Giant: Mr. Link, without question.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Whilst visiting a town nearby the location of the sasquatch, a prostitute flirts with Lionel from her window. A prisoner filing his way out of the town jail also flirts with Lionel.
    • "Now, hold me tightly." "Are you ...are you sure? Adelina's watching."
  • Go Through Me: Lionel and Adelina pull this for Link when they stand up to Lord Piggot-Dunceby.
  • Happily Married: Adelina misses her husband because he was just that, a good husband who loved and treated his wife as an equal.
  • Heel Realization: Sir Lionel Frost has one roughly before the climax.
  • Hidden Depths: Mr. Link's ability to communicate and write are seen as this.
  • Humble Hero: Mr. Link wants to find the Yetis, not to continue his legacy or preserve his Sasquatch heritage. All he wants is friends so he won't be alone anymore.
  • Ice Queen: The Elder Yeti may not be a literal queen of ice, but her white fur, cool-headed disposition and cold-blooded rejection of Mr. Link suits her.
  • Irony: "The people we don't want here are trying to leave! Force them to stay!"
    • Lionel is already an awesome explorer to begin with, but he feels he needs to join a club dedicated to so-called explorers (who are more like your average petty poachers).
    • Lord Piggot-Dunceby standing atop a table like a barbarian whilst claiming he and British society "bring good manners to the world".
  • It's All About Me: Lionel is the definition of an egotist. As Adelina so puts it, he's prone to put himself before anyone else.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The Elder Yeti may be a cold isolationist, but her belief that humans are greedy, ambitious creatures who plunder riches isn't too far off when Sir Piggot-Dunceby speaks of how man was meant to "shape the world".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sir Lionel Frost. He's selfish, egotistical, but he has redeeming qualities, namely his strong sense of honor.
    • Gamu is a crotchety, snarky old grouch, even to her own granddaughter. But she's helpful, opens up to our heroes once she learns Mr. Link is a sasquatch, and divulges the location of Shangri-la to the bad guys in order to protect her great-grandson.
  • Kick the Dog: Whilst denouncing Sir Lionel as man without proof of his accomplishments, Sir Piggot-Dunceby takes Lionel's mold-casting of a sasquatch footprint and deliberately drops it on the floor to shatter into pieces.
    • The Elder Yeti is no better when she not only tells Mr. Link to his face that he doesn't belong in Shangri-la, but says humans are more "his kind".
  • Kiss Diss: When parting ways with Adelina towards the end of the movie, Lionel leans in to kiss her, but she stops him halfway.
  • Lady of Adventure: Adelina
  • Last of His Kind: Link.
  • Literal-Minded: Link is this, to the point that it also makes him Sarcasm-Blind.
  • Meaningful Name: Adelina lampshades that true to his name name, Lionel is as proud as a lion.
    • A literally meaningful name. Mr. Link wants to be called "Susan" because it was the name of a female prospector who once smiled kindly at him.
  • Morality Chain: Adelina acts as this to Sir Lionel, pointing out his inhuman treatment towards Mr. Link and how he needs to change the way he treats others. Eventually, she gets him to see the light.
  • No Cartoon Fish: All the animals in the movie have asymmetrical features and oddly shaped limbs. Possibly to make the more evenly-proportioned Mr. Link look better to viewers.
  • Not So Different: The Elder Yeti is disgusted with humans and their savage ways. However, she coldly rejects Susan in a way parallel to how Lord Piggot-Dunceby keeps rejecting Sir Lionel from his club.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: All Mr. Link has to do is take off his jacket, and people know he's sasquatch and not just a hairy man in ill-fitting clothes.
    • Sir Lionel and Mr. Link try to disguise themselves as a nun and a lady in a wheelchair, respectively. Adelina sees right through them.
  • Posthumous Character: Aldous Fortnight.
  • Rapunzel Hair: The Elder Yeti has this, all over her body.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Twice over does Adelina point out to Lionel that he needs to check his ego and think about others for once in his life.
  • Reality Ensues: The death of Sir Aldous Fortnight is treated rather gently, with Adelina truly grieving for her husband. She isn't so easily wooed back into the arms of the self-centered Lionel, not after how her late husband was there for her.
    • Sir Lionel thinks that Link should be able to scale a wall with his long arms and such. But Mr. Link is so clumsy that rather, he crashes though the wall.
    • Ama's baby is a small one, reminding audiences why toddlers and infants are referred as "snot-nosed".
    • Later, when Mr. Link doubts he can throw Lionel out of a pit they are in, the latter replies "Nonsense! Now give it all you've got." How wrong he is.
    • In the case of the Yeti Elder, sometimes, people with cold personalities are just that, cold to the core. They can't always be changed by people who are warm, kind or at least good-mannered.
  • Rule of Symbolism: After making a deal with Sir Lionel that he may join the club if he brings proof of Sasquatch, we see Sir Piggot-Dunceby march down a candle-lit hall. All the while he rants about all the new-age things that threaten his traditional world (Suffragette movement, electricity, evolution theory), his walking past the candles snuffs out each and every one of them.
    • Before that, the way Sir Lionel and Lord Piggot-Dunceby make their deal next to a roaring fireplace, it gives a whole new meaning to the term "heated discussion".
    • Whilst riding in a carriage to Lord Piggot-Dunceby's club, Sir Lionel's carriage splashes mud onto every unfortunate passerby, reflecting Lionel's tendency to step on other people's toes without considering how they feel.
    • Casa de Fortnight is behind barred gates, giving it a feeling as though Adelina is a bird in a cage. note 
    • After Lord Piggot-Dunceby destroys the bridge to Shangri-la, it rightly represents the Yetis' isolationism coming to a head where they've cut off all ties from the world.
  • Sad Clown: Mr. Link may be a barrel full of laughs sometimes, but he's also pretty lonely, given he's the last sasquatch.
  • Shadow Archetype: Sir Piggot-Dunceby stands for everything Sir Lionel would've have become if the latter hadn't learn to grown beyond his character flaws. He's a blend of insecure, arrogant, and cares little for the feelings of others, everything Sir Lionel was by the beginning of the movie. An art book even remarks he's a parallel of Sir Lionel who's flaws went unchecked for years.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Our heroes traveled thousands of miles to reach Shangri-La and unite Mr. Link with his yeti 'cousins' so he could belong, only to learn that not only do they not want Mr. Link in their world, but Lionel decides that Mr. Link already found somewhere he could belong: with his friends Lionel and Adelina.
  • Shout-Out: Inside one of Sir Lionel's desk drawers, there's the "Sleeping Beauty" story book, a doodle of a boxtroll, and a wooden monkey charm.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Aldous Fortnight has been dead for some time, but his map serves to lead our heroes to their destination, Shangri-la.
    • The prospector Susan who made a difference in Mr. Link's life is only mentioned, never seen on-screen or in some flashback. But her simple kind act of smiling nicely at Mr. Link meant so much to him that he wants to be named after her.
  • Stealth Pun: When Skenk remarks Lord Piggot-Dunceby won't like the collective bad news that Sir Lionel is alive, still has the Missing Link and is well on his way to Shangri-La, we Gilligan Cut to a shipping create labeled "nuts". Sure enough, in that same harbor, Lord Piggot-Dunceby is going nuts over his bad luck.
  • The Stinger: The closing credits include a time-lapse clip in which the animators set up the journey that Frost and company make by elephant through the jungles of India, using a combination of hand-built puppetry/sets and CGI. At the end, the Laika production logo morphs to show characters from all five of the studio's films to date.
  • Suggestive Collision: When Lionel and Adelina are having a conversation in her cabin on the boat they are traveling on, the waves cause the ship to list from side to side, causing the two to stumble into each other's arms.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Aldous Fortnight's map to Shangri-la. Adelina guards it well because it was his life's work.
  • Undying Loyalty: Mr. Link has this for Sir Lionel, never once seeing the famous Sir Lionel as anything less than a great man, despite his selfishness and in consideration towards the sasquatch. Partially due to Adelina's criticism towards Lionel, it finally pays off when Lionel learns to treat Link as an equal.
  • Villain of Another Story: Had it not been for Sir Piggot-Dunceby and Willard Stenk being the main antagonists, the Elder Yeti would've counted for her cold treatment towards Link and her extremist approach of holding our heroes captive on the basis that they trespassed her kingdom.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: A non-villainous example, where Sir Lionel's (former) assistant Mr. Lint emphasizes "I'm a human being!" and how he's had it up to here with being treated like a servant to put his life on the line whenever they hunt for a new (possibly dangerous) creature.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: One of the themes of the movie. Adelina eventually has to point out to Sir Lionel that his treatment of Mr. Link is inconsiderate at best and selfish at worst. She recognizes that Mr. Link is a person in his own rights and even urges Sir Lionel to at least offer Link to name himself.
  • Your Cheating Heart: It's very heavily implied that Lionel and Adelina had an affair in the past when Aldous Fortnight (Adelina's husband) was still alive. It's unclear whether or not he was aware of it.


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