Animated or otherwise, we need more movies like Abominable. It’s a feel great film that’s funny, charming and has a heart as big as its title character.
Yi (Chloe Bennet, Agents of SHIELD) is a hard-working teenager still grieving the loss of her father. Dead parents are a common staple in animated movies and an easy way to quickly gain some audience sympathy. It works her as writer/Co-director Jill Culton and co-director Todd Wilderman don’t go overly manipulative with tugging at the heartstrings every five minutes.
To fulfill a vacation plan with her father, Yi is hustling and doing various jobs. Those plans change drastically when a yeti (Joseph Izzo) arrives on her roof trying to avoid getting captured again by the goons working for eccentric billionaire Mr. Burnish (Eddie Izzard). Yi and the yeti, whom she names Everest, become fast friends.
With the help of her adventurous friend, Peng (Albert Tsai), and his stuffy social media-obsessed cousin, Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), the unlikely quartet began a fantastic journey to get Everest back home.
As always it’s cool to see other cultures featured in any films, but especially animated ones so children of all races can see themselves reflected. Yi, Peng and Jin are a terrific trio that avoid feeling like character rehashes or shades of the genre norms. Burnish’s crew is led by zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson, Glass), who might not be as altruistic as she appears.
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Their adventures take them across several gorgeous locales with captivating colors that dazzle on screen. Various weather effects like billowing winds and snow look amazing while the backdrops are rich and visually stunning. This is the kind of film you’ll appreciate that expensive 4K TV you bought when watching it at home.
Culton and Wilderman establish a vivid sense of magic and wonder, which is harder to pull off in animated films seeing as how anything filmmakers can conceive is now possible through this medium. But there’s something special with Abominable from Everest’s playful, childlike behavior to his super powers tapping into nature that takes the film to another level. It helps that the characters are developed strongly to make their journey meaningful beyond traveling from one exotic location to the next.
The movie is filled with funny moments and the well-timed emotional beats that make the investments in the characters even easier. Smart use of an iconic Coldplay song to bolster an already impressive score also works wonders.
Abominable is one of those sweet films that’s likely to be in constant rotation for families, but it’s also got an endearing message of the importance of family that we can’t ever hear enough of these days.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: DreamWorks Animation