“Abominable” is an animated story of a girl in China who finds an oversized new friend and winds up on a long road trip to get him home. The animation production level is really spot on, and everything is lovely to watch. The characters are well designed, especially the child Yeti that the girl called ‘Everest’. There is a bad guy element with a tycoon character that wants the Yeti for his forbidden animal collection. The girl has some issues with her family in Shanghai, where she is in mourning over the death of her father. He was always going to take her on a long road trip. But now she gets to do just that to her new friend.
Yi (Chloe Bennet) is a teenager in the big city, and she spends her free time on the roof of her apartment building. She plays the plays the violin that her father gave her before he passed away. Her mom (Michelle Wong) and her grandma Nai Nai (Tsai Chin) always worry about Yi. She has some friends in the building, like the younger boy Peng (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and his older cousin Jin (Albert Tsai). But she never expected a new friend that she meets on the roof. It is a runaway child Yeti that she names Everest. He had escaped from a nearby building that was owned by a British tycoon named Burnish (Eddie Izzard). Burnish and his partner zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) are using any means at all to get the Yeti back.
Soon Yi sees that Everest is being hounded by the Burnish goon squad, and that he and Dr. Zara are not going to stop. So she makes a choice to lead Everest away from the city and back to the mountains. That is where is belongs. But Jin and Peng are also caught up in the journey, so they make it out in the countryside. With the bad-natured Burnish henchmen not too far behind, the group must quickly get to that special destination. But then Yi realizes that the trip to save Everest is the same trip that her father had planned. They are covering all the same places. Everest grows stronger and develops various powers over nature as he gets close to his mountain.
Burnish starts to feel bad about capturing the Yeti, and Dr. Zara takes over his cruel streak. The kids go with Everest all the way to big bridge over a valley near the mountains. There are bad guys all around, and it seems like Everest’s fate has been sealed. But the little guy always has a few new tricks up his sleeves, so he is able to leave everyone amazed — again. Yi learns that this trip was what she needed to understand her father’s death, and to get her back into living her own life. Jin and Peng are ready to go back to the big city because it’s the day that Nai Nai makes her famous dumplings…
So in this way “Abominable” has been the best movie of a few ‘Yeti’ themed animated movies in the past couple of years. It is much better than “Smallfoot” and also better than “Missing Link”. First, the main characters are more realistic in this movie. Plus, all the action happens in China. That makes more sense because of the location of Mount Everest. Yi makes a likeable main focus, with her issues dealing with grief and getting along with her family. The Yeti creature, actually a Yeti small child creature, is very cute and full of wonder. He has many unknown powers that help propel the story along just when it needs it. The bad guy Burnish starts out a bit over-the-top, but he settles down into a much better fellow. But the best part of the movie design…
The landscapes of some famous China landmarks are portrayed with a deft touch. The beauty of nature is seen in each frame when the gang comes across another well-known area. There is a real noble look to many of these places, a nice touch of respect for the land of China. Even when the action gets kind of silly along the way, the views of the vistas and landscapes brings a gentle calm to the movie.
“Abominable” makes a strong case to have more animated features center on other parts of the world. These parts are not a well explored and uncovered as many of the American-centric and European-centric places they normally choose. Still waiting for a good Antarctica-based animated feature. Not counting “The Pebble and the Penguin”, you know… Well, maybe “Happy Feet”?
Written and Directed by: Jill Culton
Starring: Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson, Tsai Chin, Michelle Wong
Length: 97 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG for some action and mild rude humor
Genre: Animated Comedy