From: Silver Screen
“Abominable” is a charming animated adventure about the power of family and music
Yi’s summer has been filled with nothing but work in the bustling city of Shanghai, much to the dismay of her family. After the death of her father, her family wishes she would spend more time with them. Her grandmother in particular worries about Yi not spending enough time with them and doesn’t hesitate to let Yi know. Yi’s yearning to explore China motivates the same daily work routine— tasks weighing down on her with every passing day, just to make money.
However, everything changes for Yi (Chloe Bennett) when she stumbles upon the Yeti living on her roof. She and her downstairs neighbors, the adorable Peng (Albert Tsai) and slightly self-centered Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), make it their mission to return their new friend, Everest the Yeti, to his home on Mount Everest. However, the crew runs into trouble at nearly every turn, being pursued by Burnish (Eddie Izzard), a man on the hunt for the elusive Yeti, and Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson), a zoologist helping Burnish’s cause.
Produced by DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio, it comes as no surprise that “Abominable” is a charming, albeit slightly clichéd, tug on the heartstrings, with a heavy thematic focus on the importance of friendship, family and perseverance. On top of these typical animated film themes, though, one of the most striking parts of Abominable was its emphasis on nature. The viewer is taken through truly beautiful animated renderings of the landscapes of China, including the breathtaking Himalayas. Though at times it seemed a bit silly in its execution, the significance and timeliness of this particular theme—preserving the world around us—is much needed, especially considering the current surge of support for stronger climate change policy.
“Abominable” could have run the risk of becoming a forgettable animated feature if not for the film’s beautiful score. All the musical cues were aptly chosen and kept the viewer completely in a trance throughout the film. In a scene featuring the famous Leshan Giant Buddha, Yi’s powerful violin playing accompanied with beautiful visuals was enough to give any viewer chills.
Though “Abominable” falls prey to some of the natural pitfalls of animated films geared towards younger audiences, there is a clear emphasis on friendship and the growth of interpersonal relationships. Without giving away too much, Yi’s relationships with each of the assembled ragtag crew blossoms in a very evident way, providing not only for a more believable story, but a much more impactful ending that touches each viewer’s heart.
All that being said, “Abominable” is not a perfect film. For example, Yi’s almost immediate choice to assist the strange creature living on her roof and to throw away her hard-earned money, which the film made a point of showing the viewers, is questionable and too convenient. Each of the characters has a distinct trait, and it seems to encompass their entire personality: Jin is obsessed with his phone, Yi likes music and is a loner by choice, and Peng is an avid basketball player. Though the characters do show development throughout the film, these qualities are constantly harkened back to, which takes the viewer out of the film. Finally, the concluding act of the film definitely falls prey to convenient clichés and makes the resolution slightly unsatisfying. That being said, as a film not made to have a thought-provoking, complex conclusion, the predictable ending isn’t a terrible offense.
“Abominable” is a beautiful film, both visually and musically, with a charming cast and an adorable fluffy companion that viewers can’t help but fall in love with. There is humor in the film for viewers of all ages. Though it is geared more towards younger viewers, everyone will find the antics of Burnish and his accomplices humorous. The broad (but well-executed) themes of the importance of family in Yi’s relationship with her loveable grandmother, her sweet mother and the cousinly love between Jin and Peng, extends to the bonds formed in the makeshift family, Yi, Everest, Jin, and Peng throughout their adventures.
“Abominable” will be in theaters Friday, September 27, 2019.