Nobody has ever seen a yeti, but if recent pop culture is anything to go by everyone wants to. Abominable is the third animated film released in just twelve months that’s based on the folkloric creature.
Warner Bros brought us Small Foot, starring Channing Tatum, James Corden and Zendaya., Then came Missing Link, starring Hugh Jackman, Emma Thompson and Zac Galifianakis and now Dreamworks is serving up another yeti tale, with a lesser-known cast but arguably more heart.
Chloe Bennet voices the lead character, who is a young Chinese girl by the name of Yi. Yi is still mourning her late father and has grown distant from her caring mother and grandmother. She’s seemingly doing any number of odd jobs to both keep busy and earn enough money to take the trip across China that they’d always talked about. Until that is, she finds a yeti on her roof.
The yeti, which Yi nicknames “Everest” (Joseph Izzo), has escaped the facility where he was being held by scientists who are eager to both parade him and conduct experiments on him to understand his powers, because yes, he has powers. Powers that enable him to do everything from growing giant blueberries to transforming fields of flowers into surfable waves.
Yi is quick to sense that Everest is in danger and realises that she is his best hope of getting home to the Himalayas. Yi’s basketball-crazy cousin, Peng (Albert Tsai) is keen to go along for the ride and her selfie-obsessed old friend Jin (Tensing Norgay Trainor) gets dragged along by his sense of responsibility to look after the other two.
Together they must journey to get Everest home safely before he falls back into the clutches of Mr Burnish (Eddie Izzard) and Dr Zara (Sarah Poulson) and because this is a kids film, they’ll, of course, discover a few important things about themselves along the way.
Jill Coulton, who has worked on Toy Story, Monsters Inc. and Open Season, wrote and co-directed Abominable alongside Todd Wilderman.
Though there are a few funny moments, this is a family film more concerned with being sweet and sincere than with making you laugh. The characters are real- flawed but incredibly sympathetic. Even Everest, who doesn’t speak any comprehendible words manages to be friendly, caring and lovable enough that you care about his fate.
The voices are an excellent match to the exquisite animation from which you could pluck out almost any frame and stick it straight up on your wall. The colour palette is somehow both vivid and calming and it paints some beautiful pictures of the Chinese landscape.
It also incorporates music beautifully and delivers a more culturally appropriate story than either of the previous yeti offerings.
While not particularly original or unpredictable, this Up meets Coco-like concoction presents a strong young heroine who finds her way through grief, and back to her family, by helping another. Abominable is a wholesome, joyful, bear-hug of a film.
SEE IT if…
You liked Kubo and the Two Strings
You’re tossing up between kids movies this holidays
SKIP IT if…
You’re expecting wild twists and originality
Your kids are happy just to watch movies at home
It gets 3.5 stars out of 5.
Not your thing?