Abominable is an animated film from Dreamworks, about a young girl Yi, voiced by Chloe Bennet, who has shut herself off from the world after the death of her father. That all changes when an escaped Yeti takes refuge on the roof of her building. As she embarks on a mission to help him get home to Mount Everest, the Yeti helps her through her grief and reminds her of what a beautiful place the world can be.
I had low expectations going in, and I hadn’t heard much about the film, what I had heard was suggesting it was going to be incredibly average. However, I can honestly say after seeing the film that it’s a delight. Abominable is greatly influenced by Dreamworks other heavy hitters, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragons. Though their respective influences are clear, I think this film rises to the same level as these two greats, if it doesn’t surpass them.
The central theme of the film is grief, and what this film does better than something like Coco, the emotion does not feel artificial or forced, but rather incredibly raw and genuine. So much so that you can relate to Yi’s level of grief and empathise, imagining the level of pain you would feel if you were in that situation.
Everest, the Yeti, doesn’t have much to say or do, apart from wanting to get home to the mountain of the same name, but he takes the traditional role of making all the kids realise who they are. Though this role is incredibly cliche, here it can’t help but make you smile as the dynamic between the kids and Everest is precious.
The one area this film falls down in is its’ villains. Said antagonist is Dr Zara, who the film first reveals to us as a sympathetic character who wants to study and protect this majestic creature. However, as we should all know because she has a British accent, she must be evil, and sure enough midway through the film this turns out to be the case. Her motivations are quite lacklustre wanting to capture the creature so she can sell it, and though Sarah Paulson is drafted in to voice her, she is given precious little to sink her teeth into. Something the film does well in the antagonist department is show how the character Burnish, who is presented as a nasty man who wants to recapture the Yeti to prove himself right, has a change of heart and realise that Everest needs to be protected. This shows how even the villains of the film can be redeemed. The main characters show elements of this as well, as they develop to become better people.
The world the film creates is beautiful and expansive, with a robust lived-in feel to it. Every destination the kids go to in their quest to get Everest home feels like it has a thousand stories to tell; leaving them aptly for a sequel.
Overall Abominable blew my expectations away and was one of the most charming, heartwarming animated films I’ve seen in a long time. Chloe Bennet deserves praise for her role as Yi, and the film as a whole deserves recognition for its positive messages about grief and coping with it, and the importance of family and being yourself. Abominable is a film I can’t recommend enough.
Reviewed by Luke