Missing Link

Yes, the link is missing here.

Laika Studios (Coraline, Kubo and the Two Strings) returns with its signature stop-motion animated style with Missing Link, imagining if Bigfoot were decidedly more attuned to modernity than any of us might think.

With the film positioned as a sort of animated buddy comedy, Paul Simon’s “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” is chosen as the slightly-quirky-yet-conventional choice for most of the trailer, pausing as it does in most comedy trailers from time to time for the deadpan delivery of various punchlines. “Julio” has been used many times before in cinema, perhaps most notably in the trailer for Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums. First, however, comes an extended fake-out as a busy orchestral flourish prepares us for something presumably far more serious, before revealing the titular character (Zach Galifianakis) as the lovable and buffoonish, albeit surprisingly intelligent, creature that he is. 

Elsewhere, the trailer playfully breaks down the fourth wall; note at 1:12-1:22 how the Bigfoot creature at first appears to acknowledge the classically-styled offscreen narrator, then after several passes outright confirms it, wondering aloud how such a thing is possible. It’s the sort of thing that might play over best with the younger demographic that the film is likely targeting. But the return of the omniscient narrator is a sonic throwback that only older theater patrons can appreciate for its nostalgic effect.

Beyond that, the style of the song plays remarkably well cut and spliced as it is between the narrative and slapstick components of the comedic trailer form it occupies. Paul Simon’s iconic guitar riff, backed by the Brazilian cuica, deftly interleaves each joke, edited and punctuated down to a sort of science. 

It may or may not say anything that the trailer doesn’t seek to venture much outside of this aural comfort zone. It could be that the choice of song can appeal to people who will recognize the choice of song and fondly remember its release (and subsequent use in classics such as Tenenbaums). Just as likely is its playfulness and inherent inoffensiveness. This notion is compounded by the fact that the producers are content to have the song sit alone as the sole musical pairing, and just as well.

Missing Link hits theatres spring 2019.

– Curtis Perry