"Abominable" is pretty to look at, and does just enough to make it serviceable, without becoming all that memorable.
DreamWorks Animation has had its share of hits ("Shrek," "Trolls," "Madagascar," "How to Train Your Dragon" to name a few) but they haven't all been winners (remember 2015's "Home"? Neither does anybody else). And while "Abominable" is unlikely to spawn sequels or create a massively popular franchise, it's a passable and mildly enjoyable bit of family entertainment that is more hot than cold...despite it centering on a massive snow beast.
Yes, I'm not sure what the deal is with the current trend of animated films featuring mythical beasts...this past year alone has given us "Missing Link" and also "Smallfoot," the latter of which also is about a Yeti, like "Abominable" is. Trying not to think too hard about that, this movie is about a young girl, Yi (voiced by "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." actress Chloe Bennet) who befriends a misplaced Yeti on the rooftops of Shanghai. Along with some of her pals, she sets out on a journey to return her new friend to the Himalayan mountains where he belongs.
This film was made in partnership with Pearl Studio, which was formerly known as Oriental DreamWorks, a division of DreamWorks that worked primarily on animation in the Asian market. The influence of Eastern culture is evident, from the detailed city streets of Shanghai to the inner-workings of the modern Chinese family home. The animation is beautifully rendered and at times breath-taking, and you'll warm up to Everest (the name they give to the Yeti) just about as fast as Yi does.
But "Abominable," in every other respect, is about as conventional as they come. It seems that Pixar is the only animation company out there that at least attempts to push the envelope and think outside-the-box when it comes to storytelling, and you can tell that "Abominable" is working off of the same framework that nearly every other children's movie does. With how gorgeous this movie is rendered, it is somewhat of a shame that it doesn't attempt to push the boundaries, and instead hits every single beat we'd expect it to.
Still, as most parents know, there's a big difference between a "family movie" that is aimed only at kids and one that adults can enjoy as well. "Abominable" is the latter, a nice film for the whole family to enjoy, but one that seems a bit hesitant to really shoot for the top of the proverbial mountain.
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family.
Run Time: 1 hour 37 minutes.
Starring (voices of): Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson, Michelle Wong.
Written by Jill Culton ("Open Season").
Directed by Jill Culton ("Open Season") and Todd Wilderman (feature-film directorial debut).
"Abominable" opens everywhere on Friday, September 27th, 2019.
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