Missing Spirit

Missing Link and Teenage Spirit:

Missing Link
A pervasive issue for animated movies: disembodied slapstick — the sort that the kiddies adore — misses the comic timing of the human body (as does the dialogue’s farcical repartee). Physical hijinks detached from corporeality lose the stakes intrinsic to the risk that comes with daring feats of physicality. As much as I love claymation and its wondrously-colorful personality (especially compared to the genre’s usual, overused 3D block design), this exact story — imagine if King Kong had willingly invited his captors to kidnap him from the lonely isolation of his existence, followed by he and his savior embarking on a fast-friendship-making, globe-trotting, action-adventure buddy comedy that, as is the case for most wide-release animated fare today, needs to ease up on the number of action-adventure sequences — and sappy arcs leading to saccharine morals could’ve been done, and would’ve been a lot funnier, in live action. Hugh Jackman’s whimsical sincerity playing off Zach Galifianakis in a ridiculous Bigfoot costume? SIGN ME THE FUCK UP.

Teen Spirit
An un-self-aware, mushy-stale-small-beans, infantile Neon Demon. But around these parts, we stan ALL movie musicals. Even basic Broadway belters. Even awkwardly cookie-cutter crooners. Elle Fanning: why so self-serious? She should take a page out of Anne Hathaway’s book, someone who suffered the same problem earlier in her career but is currently in the midst of a bizarro, berserko renaissance. Or, follow the lead of Rebecca Hall’s gloried cameo, who lets loose controlled tsunamis of delectable levity in this year’s second riff on Meryl Streep’s The Devil Wears Prada masterclass (the first being Little’s Taraji P. Henson, who may outclass them all).

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