SHOULD I SEE IT?
Abominable mixes lots of elements together and provides a satisfying experience for any and all who watch the film.
Elements of this movie are beautiful to watch with bold colors, realistic rendering, and some terrific, energetic chase and action sequences.
If this movie finds a substantial audience, Everest dolls could become a big deal this holiday season.
Easy to skip right over the subtext and find this all surface-level and light material. Moments after the movie ends, you may very well likely forget pretty much all of it.
From a pure plot standpoint, Abominable is a movie, structurally speaking, we have already seen countless times before.
May come off as too bland or relatively safe for those accustomed to animated films from different studios.
In modern-day China, a yeti escapes his caged surroundings and is found cowering on a rooftop of an apartment complex by Yi (Chloe Bennet), a resourceful teenage girl. Living in the same building with her widowed mother (Michelle Wong) and enigmatic grandmother Nai Nai (Tsai Chin), Yi is growing up, pushing for her independence, but also saving up money to go on a number of trips she was never able to go on with her late father.
Crossing paths with the beast, which looks more like a Pokémon than an actual abominable snowman, Yi puts together that both she and he want to travel to Mt. Everest - the beast wanting to return home and Yi wanting to bring him there.
This is Abominable, a new potential franchise starter from DreamWorks Animation. Partnering with the acclaimed Chinese animation house, Pearl Studio, this is a beautiful film to watch at times, though a bit scattershot in its storytelling. The film is ready-made for younger viewers looking for a new likable, animated character they can latch onto and call their own.
Overall, this is pretty charming material. Writer and co-director Jill Culton (Open Season) surrounds Yi with two travel buddies, the dashing medical student Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and goofy basketball obsessive Peng (Albert Tsai), who form an alliance to return the yeti, now nicknamed “Everest,” to where he wants to go.
Goofy comedy bits hit and miss and Culton is time and again trying to reach the audience’s hearts and minds. There is actually a lot to Yi’s story: She is learning to adjust to life without her father while trying to retain his own memory and legacy. She struggles to spend time at home with family working multiple jobs to realize her goals and dreams, and, still, you know, be a kid on occasion.
Resilience is a key theme, but so is fantastical adventure. As the teenagers and Everest try to reach the mountaintop and avoid his captor (Eddie Izzard) and his loyal assistant (Sarah Paulson), the yeti unleashes the ability to alter nature by changing colors and even, in some instances, magically creating low-level, but disruptive mayhem.
Despite some funny jokes and a few nominal surprises, Abominable leaves very little to the imagination. Strong voiceover work by all involved keep the movie engaging, while a soundtrack of contemporary pop singers, Rupert Gregson-Williams’ unobtrusive score, and Coldplay’s ballad “Fix You,” offers an interesting song choice used to draw connections between Yi and her family.
About the worst I can say about Abominable is that it is potentially going to slip from memory as soon as those end credits arrive. (Note: the end credits do add a bit more to the story, so do not rush right out of the theater.).
The effort is solid though. Culton’s film deserves credit for doing more than merely doubling down on wacky humor and patronizing dialogue. A harmless film, Abominable is cute, endearing, and a nice-enough escape for approximately 100 minutes.
CAST & CREW
Starring the Voices of: Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Joseph Izzo, Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson, Tsai Chin, Michelle Wong.
Director: Jill Culton
Co-Director: Todd Wilderman
Written by: Jill Culton
Release Date: September 28, 2019