The Missing Lynx, or El Lince Perdido, is a Spanish/British computer animated film released in 2008. It was directed by Manuel Sicilia and ex-Disney animator Raul Garcia, who also largely wrote the script.
The story takes place almost entirely in Andalusia. Felix, one of the Iberian lynxes currently facing extinction, is clumsy and unlucky enough to be taken to animal care center about once a week. He grew accustomed to this life and is not afraid of humans at all. But his easy life gets interrupted when a hunter named Newmann with a group of mercenaries kidnaps all the animals from the center, including Felix's Love Interest, a female lynx named Lincesa. Felix, along with his three friends, Gus (a chameleon), Beeea (a mountain goat) and Astarté (a Peregrine falcon), manage to escape. Together, they must save the captured animals, as well as find out who is behind all this.
From the very beginning of the project, Manuel, Raúl and co-writer José Enrique Machuca focused their efforts on the development of the script. The story was given the highest priority, and thus the animation had to be given less attention. So, animal and human character models, while displaying every possible kind of emotion through flawlessly done facial expressions and body language (this is Disney quality we are dealing with), had to be simplified. The most noticeable element of said simplification in the final product is the omission of realistic hair and fur. On the other hand, the 3D environments were created with great care, and the lighting is fantastic.
It should be noted, that while being fairly cartoony, the film has a surprising number of Shown Their Work moments, such as the film's locations built to resemble those in real-life. Also, the fact Felix is friends with animals who could easily be his prey will not be THAT stunning to someone who knows about Iberian lynxes' hunting preferences.
Spain saw a big-scale theatrical release, while elsewhere the screenings were short and limited, and generally the film was released straight-to-DVD (or even Netflix) everywhere else.
Won itself a Goya award in 2009, along with two more:
The same studio went on to make Justin and the Knights of Valour.
The Missing Lynx provides examples of:
- Action Girl: both Beeea and Astarté qualify. Not so much with Lincesa.
- Animal Nemesis: Newmann to Felix.
- Anti-Villain: Noah, being a man who can talk to animals, dearly loves every creature he comes across and genuinely believes that relocating every single endangered species to a massive island preserve he owns will save them from certain extinction, even if it means hiring mercenaries like Newmann to carry out his plan in rather illegal means, such as outright stealing creatures from wildlife shelters. Lincesa manages to make him see the error of his ways, fortunately.
- Babies Ever After: In the end, Felix and Lincesa have a cub, which is presented a la The Lion King (1994).
- Big Bad: While Noah and his contract are the main driving force behind Newmann's motivations, Newmann himself is the main antagonistic presence in the movie, and once Noah decides to cancel his plan, Newmann instead betrays him and imprisons him inside a cage with the intent of getting his revenge on Felix.
- Beware of the Nice Ones: sure, Felix is nice, in a clumsy sort of way, but do NOT anger him too much...
- Butt-Monkey: Felix. He regularly gets himself involved in situations that treat him to Amusing Injuries.
- Born Unlucky: Felix. Due to getting repeatedly injured, he's back at the wildlife shelter for his 40th time. He exploits this trope at the end by physically clinging to Newmann in a room full of deadly traps, so that Newmann gets injured by all the traps instead.
- Carnivore Confusion: A Downplayed example. Félix is friends with Beeea, a goat, Gus, a common chameleon and Astarté, a Peregrine falcon, all of whom could easily be his prey, yet this scenario isn't too far-fetched considering Real Life Iberian Lynxes largely prefer hunting smaller prey such as European rabbits and rodents.
- Evil Counterpart: Nimrod is a black falcon who gets to chase Astarté at a few points in the movie.
- Funny Background Event: After Rupert the mole is released by Noah and finds his way back to the main group, he emerges from the ground with a bush resembling and afro on his head. Gus takes the bush from him and proceeds to spend the rest of the scene pretending to be black.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: If one pauses the movie and looks at the painting behind Newmann before he redecorates his office, the real life primatologist Dian Fossey can be identified in the picture. She is even surrounded by gorillas, animals she studied extensively.
- "Lion King" Lift: At the end of the film, Felix gets to lift his newborn child this way. He even does it while standing on the tip of a rock above several animals gathered for the occasion.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Two of Newmann's mercenary henchmen are utterly incompetent and bumbling at everything they do, much to their boss' annoyance. In fact, it is because of their stupidity that Felix manages to escape being captured and frees his friends, setting the plot in motion.
- Noble Wolf: On their quest to save the trapped animals, Felix and his friends come across a pack of wolves who act threatening toward the gang at first, but calm down when they see Felix and his buddies are not a threat, and both parties work out an agreement in which the wolves agree to keep Newmann and his men at bay. When Newmann shows up, the wolves do their best to fight him, but alas, they too are subdued and captured.
- Off-Model: There's a very brief shot where Felix's scar switches eyebrows.
- Properly Paranoid: Gus the chameleon fears the animal care center is adding more security measures to keep the animals in. While hes technically right, the animal facility has actually started adding more security measures to protect the animals from Newmann.
- Pun-Based Title
- Scenery Porn: The backgrounds and the lighting are used to great effect to make the environments look eye-catching.
- Villainous Breakdown: Newmann begins to suffer one after Felix claws his face, turning the hunt into a personal vendetta.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Noah seeks out to save every endangered species on the planet by moving them to an island sanctuary in the hopes that they will be safe from extinction there, but Lincesa ultimately manages to make him see the faults in his plan, which causes Noah to reconsider his actions and put an end to his project. Too bad that Newmann had other plans...