"Abominable" Review: Universal Themes Rise Above Predictability
Dreamworks Animation’s latest film, in collaboration with Pearl, is Abominable. It’s not like you haven’t seen this story before, you have. It’s just that you haven’t seen it from the perspective of this group of characters. So while co-directors Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman don’t have an instant classic, the message and themes that the movie puts forth are always a welcomed remembrance.
Abominable starts out with an escape from a fortified lab in China. It’s from the visual perspective of a Yeti we later learn is named Everest (Joseph Izzo). The first person nature of the escape allows the viewer to feel Everest’s distress and anxiety, as well as a sense of safety and protection when he finally finds a hiding spot on the roof of a housing building. It’s the same roof in which Yi (Chloe Bennet), a young girl living with her mother (Michelle Wong) and Nai Nai (Tsai Chin), reside. Having recently lost her father, Yi goes to the roof to escape and connect with him by playing her violin at night.
After the inevitable meeting of Yi and Everest occurs, it’s not soon after that she finds herself on voyage to return Everest home. She’s joined by her neighborhood friends, Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Peng (Albert Tsai), while being trailed by an old explorer named Burnish (Eddie Izzard) who had hired Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) to capture the Yeti. The resulting race and chase becomes a voyage for all to find themselves and friendship along the way.
The visuals in the film are a statement as to how far we have come with technology, but also reminder of how beautiful our planet is. The Chinese landscapes are jaw-droppingly beautiful as the main characters move through them. Unfortunately, the plot of the film is not always as stunning. The story is predictable in many ways, but still manages to keep its messages clear, universal, and heartwarming.
t’s great to see an animated film that’s entrenched in China. The scenic views, Chinese characters on posters and ads in the neighborhood, and the culture within the film is authentic. I look forward to the day when the language spoken is Chinese and we have to read subtitles, but as my seven year old daughter pointed out “it may not work for kids”. She’s right. Her little brother wouldn’t have been able to keep up, but it would have been awesome to be truly submersed.
In the end, Abominable is a feature in which a young, pure hearted kid wins the affection of a creature. That affection is a connection that transcends predictability and pierces the heart of anyone who knows what it’s like to be an outsider, alone, and/or feeling loss. That’s what makes this film worth a watch!