Directed by: Jill Culton
Written by: Jill Culton
Starring: Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Joseph Izzo, Eddie Izzard & Sarah Paulson
Rating: PG (for some action and mild rude humor)
Genre: Adventure, Comedy
Runtime: 1 hr. 37 min.
Release date: Sep 27, 2019 (Wide)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 (out of five)
DreamWorks’ latest animated offering Abominable is so derivative, it might as well be called How to Train Your Yeti. Worse yet, it’s not even the first animated film this year about reuniting a Bigfoot-like creature with its family in the Himalayan Mountains. That oddly specific honor goes to Laika’s Missing Link. The good news is that while Abominable doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it does offer a delightful ride for all ages.
The set-up: Yi (Chloe Bennet) is a plucky Shanghai teen who’s coping with the recent death of her father by keeping busy with a myriad of odd jobs. Her restless schedule keeps her away from the concerned pair of her mother (Michelle Wong) and grandmother (Tsai Chin), who are yearning to spend time with her. One night Yi escapes to the sanctuary of her rooftop fort, where she discovers an injured yeti who’s hiding from a greedy animal collector (Eddie Izzard) and a zoologist (Sarah Paulson). Yi names her companion Everest and before long they’re off to return him to his rightful home, soon accompanied by Yi’s two friends Peng (Albert Tsai) and Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), who are mostly there to provide exposition and comic relief.
As was the case with DreamWorks’ previous 2019 release, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the animation here is stunning. Every frame is gushing with vibrant colors and lush detail. The animators reimagine China’s vast, painterly landscapes with strikingly dynamic backgrounds. Everest himself is a silky splendor to behold and as long as none of his new friends were being threatened, I wanted nothing more than to cuddle up to the adorable oaf.
Music too is integral in distinguishing Abominable a part from other, more complacent family films. Rupert Gregson-Williams’ score effectively highlights the emotion of each scene, be it whimsy, danger, sorrow or joy. Particular affection is shown to the violin. Yi is a gifted violinist and her bitter-sweet symphonies are genuinely moving come a couple of key moments.
Abominable is a passion project for writer-director Jill Culton and though she doesn’t delve as deeply as say a Pixar might have into the themes of grief and acceptance, that passion still successfully informs much of what makes Abominable such a delight, from the charming characters to the eye-popping animation and the sweeping musical accompaniment.
Have you had a chance to check out Abominable? If so, what did you think? Did you enjoy it? Or does this film not interest you? I want to hear from you, so jump down and leave your thoughts in the comments below!