Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
My initial thought was “yet another animated movie about a Yeti?” when I entered the theatre with hundreds of the target audience in their seats alongside the adults. ABOMINABLE is the first major co-production between an American studio (DreamWorks) and China’s Pearl Studio, so I was relatively certain that the animation itself would be unique, and I was not disappointed with the spectacular visuals.
Set in modern day China, Yi (Chloe Bennet) is still grieving the recent death of her father and she keeps herself busy with various jobs, leaving little time spent with her mother and grandmother. Any money she makes, she stores in a box hidden away on the rooftop of the building she lives in. It is also on the rooftop that she plays her violin. One day on the roof, she finds a sleeping Yeti, who she names Everest, after it had escaped from the clutches of Zoologist Zara and Mr. Burnish, a billionaire who collects rare and exotic creatures. As voiced by Sarah Paulson and Eddie Izzard respectively, they bring the vocal pyrotechnics required. Yi, along with two male friends Jin (the designer-clad heartthrob who is always Instagram ready) and Peng (the perennial goofy sidekick) take off to return Everest to reunite with his family. As they trek through the Chinese landscapes, they (unsurprisingly) encounter many obstacles, along with Zara and Mr. Burnish in hot pursuit too, but always manage to escape and continue on their journey.
Yes, ABOMINABLE is formulaic but it is also underwritten. All the characters are not fully fleshed – they are more bullet-point traits (the spunky teenaged girl, the not-too-bright overweight sidekick, the grandmother perpetually in the kitchen cooking and a villain that will see the evil in their ways and find redemption) than people we can bond with. I also found the Soundtrack lacking memorability and this is so important in Animated Features. But the jokes and gags are plentiful and greatly appreciated by the youngsters in the audience. I truly enjoyed the effects created whenever Everest and his protectors were in a bind. The biggest, positive takeaway after watching ABOMINABLE is how beautiful it is on screen. It is hands down the most dazzling and impressive Animated Motion Picture thus far in 2019.
Universal Pictures Canada release ABONIMABLE, in theatres now.