By Fatima Husain
A young teenage girl (Yi) and an adorable YETI set out on an unprecedented adventure from Shanghai, China to the Himalayas. Together, their journey of self-discovery and finding ‘home’, along with their mischievous friends, makes Adominable a flick to enjoy.
Produced by Hollywood’s DreamWorks Animation and China’s Pearl Studio, this animated kid-friendly feature is written and directed by Jill Culton, (directorial debut: Open Season)
© Youtube | DreamworksTV
Abominable, for the first time ever features a modern-day Chinese family in an (international) animated film.
A young Yeti escapes a secret laboratory and is accidentally found seeking refuge on the rooftop of Yi’s Shanghai apartment. The headstrong Yi, who lives with her mother and an adorably-witty grandmother, is dispirited by her dear father’s death and is determined to fulfil his wish of travelling and discovering new places. She decides to dedicate her days doing multiple odd jobs; saving every penny - as a result, distancing and depriving her of social life.
When the miscreants sky-in chasing the Yeti, Yi is abruptly pulled into an unforeseen odyssey. The duo, along with buddies, Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Peng (Albert Tsai) scramble through uncharted lands, battling villainous attempts on their way to the Himalayas. The Yeti, who is fondly named ‘Everest’ after this home, manifests magical powers; succouring his companions. Together, they develop a close bond as they embark on an introspective journey, parallel to their physcial shenanigans.
Glaring efforts have been made to make the story relatable, weaved together with a decent script and some solid performances to enliven the on-screen characters. The film also stars the voices of Chloe Benner (Yi), Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson, Tsai Chin and Michelle Wong.
The pleasant medley of friendship and emotions entwined with humour, and punctuated with surprising twists invokes a smile here and there.
Much to the delight of audiences (and what clearly stood out) during the 97-minute screening were the beautifully crafted animated scenes depicting landscapes and nature, coupled with mesmerizing music breathing life into Everest and Yi’s journey. Rupert Gregsons-Williams’ score, especially the soulful violin passages are sure to uplift one's spirits.
The skittish trip along unwitnessed roads featuring a 2000-mile adventure, quite frankly, had barely been ever witnessed by international audiences
What could have been better is the predictable nature of the cliched plot; Jill Culton played it safe rather than challenging the good old narrative of grief and healing. Especially when Abominable had quite a lot to offer in terms of Asian representation.
The friendship between a mythological creature and the teen would, indisputably, remind one of E.T. from Speilberg’s classic. But the latter quit at reviving a plant. Here, the magical Yeti can harness the elements of nature, resulting in a turbulent tsunami of canola flowers, a gigantic dandelion swaying in the breeze and giant overripen blueberries launching attacks!
Despite its shortcomings, the film is a fun watch, children are bound to enjoy. As with most animated films, Abominable gives out some moral lessons, many of which are echoed candidly through dialogues.
As Yi quotes her late father: “... No matter how hard the journey gets, never give up.”
*Editor’s Note: Abominable premiered as part of Gala Presentations at TIFF ‘19 and is scheduled to be released on September 27, 2019.