November 8, 2019 – This amusing animated tale about misadventures of a self-centered explorer by Laika (makers of “Coraline” and “ParaNorman”) is centered around the egotistical Sir Lionel Frost, a bumbling British seeker of mythical creatures.
The opening sequence finds Frost using a bagpipe to coax the Loch Ness Monster from the depths for a snapshot, only to have his camera, along with the photographic evidence of the existence of Nessie, smashed. His assistant, who objects to being repeatedly thrust into dangerous situations by Frost, quits.
Frost gets a letter from an admirer in America promising to lead him to the elusive Sasquatch in the Pacific Northwest. Arriving at the location specified in the letter, he indeed finds Bigfoot, but it turns out the creature himself wrote the letter. The creature can think and talk like humans, as well as write letters (though his penmanship is not good).
It turns out that Bigfoot is alone, the last of his kind, but he hopes that the Himalayan Yetis may be his relatives. He has summoned Frost to help him find the Yetis. Frost agrees to help Bigfoot, for selfish reasons. Bigfoot adopts the name Susan, for reasons explained in the film, even though he is not a female Bigfoot.
Frost and Susan are pursued by a killer, Willard Stenk, hired by Lord Piggot-Dunceby, a jealous rival of Frost. They also end up with another companion, Adelina, who is Frost's old flame. She has her late husband's map to Shangri-La, where the Yetis may live. Frost tries to steal the map from Adelina, but fails.
On the ocean voyage (the movie is set in the early 20th century) to Europe, Adelina tries to reform Frost, urging him to befriend Susan and help him cope with the trials ahead. Willard Stenk, determined to kill Frost and Susan, is also along on the ship. He is repeatedly thwarted in his attempted assassinations, but never gives up.
Eventually, things come to a dramatic climax at Shangri-La, when Frost, Susan and Adelina face off against Stenk and Lord Piggot-Dunceby. There is a moral to the story, which comes to a satisfactory conclusion with Frost, Adelina and Susan all learning something during their adventure together.
The animation carries the distinctive Laika style, but the characters are not as ugly as the ones in some other Laika films, like “ParaNorman,” or “The Boxtrolls.” The story is both amusing and easy-going. Frost is a suitably comic character, oblivious to the feelings of others, while Susan is a charming innocent who takes all statements literally in a running gag. This film rates a B.
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