Directed by: Jill Culton, Todd Wilderman (co-director). Starring: Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor. Runtime: 1h 37 min. Released: September 27, 2019.
When a Yeti (endearingly called Everest) in Japan escapes captivity, he ends up on the apartment building of Yi (Chloe Bennet). They can’t stay put for long as a wealthy businessman named Burnish (Eddie Izzard) and British zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) want their Yeti back. Everest escapes and brings Yi with him – as well as her neighbours, Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and his younger cousin Peng (Albert Tsai), who tag along on an adventure to bring him back home to Mount Everest.
Abominable is an entertaining animated film that maintains a sense of wonder for most of its runtime, especially when the characters set out for Everest, thanks to its settings and visually stunning animation. It’s also so creative how Everest can change nature around him and how he can manipulate it. It adds to the film’s mythology of yetis and those are my favourite scenes.
The story is also emotionally sound as Yi has lost her Dad and it’s nice watching her find her sense of family and adventure again. It’s especially moving when she wants to find her love of music again as she carries around her father’s violin. The film is just charming throughout with some lovely scenes, even if there’s nothing truly special about its A to B storyline that is very similar to Laika Studio’s Missing Link.
The comparisons are hard to avoid but I think they are both strong films in their own ways. This has a stronger emotional story but Missing Link has a lot of smart humour. I couldn’t really choose which one I like better because I like them about the same. A couple years ago I would have said Abominable because I just like this style of animation better, but I’ve started to enjoy stop-motion animation since Kubo and the Two Strings.
I also just really like this film’s screenplay by director Jill Culton. It’s smart and emotionally compelling and some of the creativity in the adventure is great. I like that the yeti is basically a child, too, as it creates some childish humour that just works. The voice acting is good here, especially Chloe Bennet as Yi. The villains are weak here as they get a bit annoying by the end of it, and that’s my main complaint. This film’s about the adventure and the film’s sense of adventure is charming throughout and I think that makes this well worth the watch.