Abominable is the culmination of an entire career for co-directors Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman. Luckily for the audience, it is a pretty fun ride. Visually beautiful and exhilarating, Culton and Wilderman's latest film brings a lovable Yeti and a broken teenager together in an animated adventure that is full of heart. No, the story isn't perfect, and its slow start almost kills the intrigue before it begins, but sitting through the final act brings on a sort of magic that is gratifying. Children will love Everest, the Yeti, and he's sure to have your little ones laughing throughout. The cast is impressive, as they do their job to keep viewers in the moment without disrupting the believability of everything that is taking place on screen. Abominable is an enjoyable, worthwhile journey across China, and fit for the entire family.
Yi (Chloe Bennet), a self-proclaimed loner who is dealing with the loss of her father, will do anything to make a buck. Every morning, she wakes up and performs odd jobs all around her Chinese neighborhood in order to fund a trip across China, a trip that she and her father had planned to take. A talented violinist and a bit rough around the edges, Yi has all but ignored her family, including her close cousins Peng (Albert Tsai) and Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), since her father passed. Unbeknownst to Yi and her family, a captured Yeti has escaped a research facility in their town and set up camp on the roof of their apartment building. One night, Yi stumbles upon the Yeti, and eventually forms a connection with him. After naming him Everest, Yi decides that they need to get him back home, before research facility personnel find him again. Peng and Jin join the new friends on their trek across China, all the way to the Himalayas.
For the most part, Abominable is a charming movie, apart from the long, slow beginning. Much of the first act consists of Everest and Yi naturally finding their way towards each other. Although necessary, it seems to be paced poorly, and the film suffers for it. With that initial misstep aside, the rest of Abominable takes on a mesmerizing identity, as the journey across China begins. Everest can manipulate nature, one of the Yeti's special powers, and it makes for some colorful, beautiful animation sequences. These unforgettable scenes, paired with the subtle-but-effective score behind them, surprisingly breathe life into the film after the slow start. What seems to be another run-of-the-mill adventure turns into a spectacle for the eyes, that is carried along by an emotionally fulfilling story.
Although not perfect by any stretch, Abominable is worth a watch, especially if you have children itching to get out and go to the movies. DreamWorks' new property is an achievement in animation that may springboard the directing-duo on to more opportunities. This tale is full of vibrant characters that the audience can get behind, especially the magical Yeti, Everest. Packed with humor, friendship, and beauty, this is delightful and satisfying animated adventure.