Like a very tall, hairy cousin of Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue,” Missing Link’s lumbering hero is a Sasquatch named Susan: a gentle giant who doesn’t really need to street-brawl to defend his girly moniker, mostly because he’s 630 pounds and 8 feet tall. But also because he hardly ever encounters other living things — until the intrepid gentleman explorer Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by a plummy Hugh Jackman) tracks him down in the 19th-century wilds of the Pacific Northwest. Frost hopes for the fame and glory of discovery; Susan just wants a friend, and maybe someone to help him find his distant relatives, the Yetis.
Link, a sweetly silly ramble of a movie produced by the boutique stop-motion animation studio Laika (Coraline, Kubo and the Two Strings), whose vaguely gothic visual style — somewhere between Tim Burton and Edward Gorey — has become its own dark-horse calling card: spikier than Disney, less precious than Pixar.
The sunny Link, though, leans more toward the mainstream. Jackman’s comically snobbish Frost is a tea-drinking dandy with a neat goatee and a pointy little pink nose that telegraphs either good breeding or too many gin fizzes. Zach Galifianakis’ Susan, a.k.a. Mr. Link, is a sort of holy fool — a hulking, literal-minded innocent who looks like a tall meatball rolled through a pile of autumn leaves.
Zoe Saldana shows up too, as an aspiring lady adventurer; Stephen Fry as Frost’s haughty nemesis; and Emma Thompson as the imperious, ice-blue ruler of Shangri-La. It all goes down easily if not exactly unforgettably; a wispy slice of hirsute whimsy. B