An injured Yeti with the power to control nature is rescued by a determined teenager and her friends. Abominable is the latest CGI adventure to star the mythical Himalayan creature. On the heels of Smallfoot and Missing Link, Abominable is a much more somber film. There's a sprinkling of humor, but the overall tone treads serious. This is not a happy-go-lucky kid flick with slapstick characters. I appreciate the depth of the story, but did get a little bored with the drama. Stunning animation and a beautiful score rescue Abominable from being a drag.
Abominable is set in the bustling city of Shanghai, China. Chloe Bennet voices Yi, a girl who spends her days feverishly working odd jobs. Her mother (Michelle Wong) and Nǎi Nai (Tsai Chin) wonders why she won't spend any time at home. The family is struggling to cope with the death of Yi's father. Yi has not come to terms with her grief. She plays her father's violin on the roof of her apartment building.
A frightened Yeti (Joseph Izzo) breaks out of its cage and takes refuge on Yi's roof. The prized capture of the crotchety Mr. Burnish (Eddie Izzard), he sends a famous doctor (Sarah Paulson) and an army of goons to recover the beast. Yi decides to help the Yeti escape, but is stupefied to learn its home is Mount Everest; thousands of miles away. Yi embarks on a cross country adventure with her basketball playing neighbor, Peng (Albert Tsai), and his social media addicted older cousin, Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor). The journey teaches Yi to accept the loss of her father and appreciate the love of others.
Abominable starts off at a quick pace, but slows down considerably to establish the characters. Yi is a complex heroine for an animated feature. She discovers a wondrous new friend that helps her put life in perspective. Yi's inability to grieve is a challenge that equals to the trip to Everest. She learns to open herself to healing. Abominable spends the time to make this message impactful. The delivery of this theme is artfully done, but emotionally heavy.
The various Chinese settings are superbly visualized. DreamWorks Animation does a banner job whisking the characters from one amazing scene to another. Abominable could be an advertising video for Chinese tourism. There's also a wow factor to the Yeti's abilities. The manipulation of nature and the surrounding elements looks incredible. I was particularly impressed by the use of water and flowers. A tidal wave scene had every child in my theater glued to the screen.
The score by Rupert Gregson-Williams is powerful and affecting. Yi plays the violin throughout the film. These pieces range from hauntingly melodic to rousing. The instrument threads the characters together. It also reinforces several aspects of Chinese culture. Abominable's use of music is key to the story's effectiveness.
Abominable is not the film for children who don't want to be challenged. It is a deeper, more introspective and thoughtful experience. I feel it could have lightened up in parts, but the overall product is rewarding. The animation and soundtrack definitely warrants a recommendation. Abominable is produced by Pearl and DreamWorks Animation with distribution from Universal.