NOTE: The pictures from the subject of my review originally contained slight nudity that has been edited by yours truly for your sakes.











The Missing Link (1980)

Directed By: Picha

Starring: Ron Venable, Bob Kaliban, John Graham, Christopher Guest, Clark Warren, Mark Smith

and
Bill Murray





The legacy of a dumb caveman is born.






During the 70's, when Ralph Bakshi's Fritz The Cat came out, nearly everyone decided to take a crack at it and make animated films targeted towards adults instead of children. Films like Down And Dirty Duck and Once Upon A Girl were certainly for mature audiences, but they were just the equivalent of a 13-year old skimming through his dad's Playboy magazines. They concentrated more on sex rather than story and character development.

In my opinion, if there was another animator that's not Bakshi but tried to follow in his footsteps in terms of storytelling, it would be Picha. Picha is a Belgian cartoonist who made four films during his film career, this film is one of them. All of his films were so incredibly bizarre that they make South Park look like frickin' child's play. We're talking raunchy here! Nevertheless, they still tried at telling a story with some funny satire and good characters.





"Get off my lawn, you kid!"




Some of you are probably wondering to yourself, "How come I never heard of this film?" Well, chances are you probably HAVE heard of it, but as something else. In 1984, a comedy trio known as The Funny Boys (chances are by that name, they weren't really that funny) probably saw this film and made a second English dub known as B.C. Rock (above).
This version contained rock music by bands like Genesis, cavemen that spoke perfect English and a main caveman named Stewie Babcock (I'm not kidding). I would've definately reviewed this version, but I sadly couldn't find the film anywhere. The version I watched was the English dub written by Tony Hendra (This Is Spinal Tap), who wrote two of Picha's other films. This version is available on Youtube.




"AAAAAHHHHHHheyniceteethAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!







"Did someone say Tom Cruise is in town?"







WHAT'S IT ABOUT?


A young caveman named Oh (Venable), raised by a good-hearted brontosaurus named Igua (Graham) and a smart-ass pterodactyl named Croak (Kaliban), is in search of his own kind who abandoned him as a baby.

On his journey, Oh comes across some weird creatures that will eventually contribute to his understanding of the world.







I heard of fast food, but this is ridiculous.






WHAT'S BAD ABOUT IT?

Though it's surprisingly tamer than Picha's other works, it's still not for kids. It contains nude cavemen, a horny prehistoric rabbit humping dinosaur legs, and a dragon that breathes fire from it's ass.


Nice, huh?


There's also some logic that doesn't make any sense. In the movie, the cavemen barely speak a word of English, While all the dinosaurs and creatures can speak perfect English, paint pictures, and even plant crops! How could God possibly wipe away all the dinosaurs...we could've learned so much from them!


Finally, don't expect a happy ending....







"Go ahead, Oh. Jump off the cliff! It's good for you..."






WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT IT?


Everything else.

The animation is pretty good here. It's not Disney or Rock & Rule, but it's exceptional, considering the animation quality from Picha's previous film at the time Shame Of The Jungle. There's actual structure in the character's design and move with smooth grace.

Like the American dub, this movie has songs in it performed by musician Leo Sayer. The two best ones are The Only Way To Travel Is To Fly, when Oh gets a ride from his pterodactyl friend, and You Can't Make An Omlette Without Eggs, which is played during the ending credits.







The cavemen chher in anticipation knowing that pants have been invented.






Finally, my favorite parts are when Oh encounters with the fire-breathing dragon played by Bill Murray (!), where he bitches and moans because he can only shoot fire from his ass, the scene shortly afterwards where Oh is abducted by an advanced colony of ants, and when Oh meets up with Adam and Eve. They don't play a huge part to the story, but they are pretty hilarious.




"Kiss me, ya damn fool!"









"PTOOEY! Tastes like chicken!"








"PTERODACTYL PILE!!!"





BOTTOM LINE:

The Missing Link is probably one of the best underrated animated films of all time. It's funny, emotional, and a good reason why it should be on DVD here in North America. If you're interested, it's available on Youtube, along with Picha's other work. But remember, his films are pretty bizarre. You've been warned....


OVERALL SCORE:


4/5




See ya!