Released: 19th September
Seen: 29th September
One of the most enduring pieces of folklore is that of the Yeti, an ape like creature said to live in the Himalayan mountains. It’s a creature that goes by many names, like Abominable Snowman or Meh-Teh, and stories about it have been around for hundreds of years. Many people claim to have proof of its existence, mostly strange large footprints or even scalps that are allegedly from the creature. To this day there is no actual confirmation that the Yeti exists, but if one did I highly doubt it’d be as adorable as the Yeti presented in this film.
Abominable follows Yi (Chloe Bennet), a teenage girl living with her mother and nana. Like all teenage girls in animated movies, she’s looking for something more than the simple life she has in Shanghai. When she finds a yeti on the roof of her building, Yi enlists the help from her friends Peng (Albert Tsai) and Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor who, fun fact, is the grandson of Tenzing Norgay who was one of the first two men to successfully climb Everest) to help her get the Yeti, now named Everest, back to his home on… well, Mt Everest. However, they have to be careful since they are being followed by people who are desperate to capture Everest and study him in a science lab, like one does with strange creatures that we do not understand.
From the moment the film starts, the best word to describe it is sweet. Everything about the film just oozes a genuine sweetness that is so hard to capture and maintain, but Abominable does it from start to finish. Every one of the main characters is genuinely lovable, even if they do lean in on some very familiar tropes from time to time. It’s hard not to love them because there’s just a real sincerity in their performances, not to mention their delivery of the jokes really sells them and only makes you want to spend more time with these kids who have to carry most of the emotional weight since the Yeti doesn’t talk, it has something else impressive that it does.
Whenever the Yeti uses his magic powers, explained as communicating with nature but really it’s actuallydefying the laws of nature, it’s a visual treat. The film takes full advantage of the 3D animation to create some beautiful moments, particularly a scene where a field of flowers starts behaving like it was an ocean, complete with giant waves. Glorious moments where the Yeti glows and everything turns surreal happen a few times, though I would’ve gleefully sat there and just had a 10 minute montage of the Yeti doing whatever the hell he wanted to nature. It was a genuine feast for the eyes, using a simplistic visual aesthetic for the majority of the world and character design in order to allow the genuinely magical stuff stick out.
The bad guys were properly menacing, you genuinely could see how easily they could take the Yeti away and the more the film goes on, the more menacing they get. Granted, they also follow a familiar trope of recent movie villains that does kind of bug me because… well, I miss when villains were Villains, you knew they were evil from the start and they never changed, except maybe to get more evil. These ones get more evil right until the cliché kicks in and it just bugs me, but I did enjoy their performances… possibly because they hired Eddie Izzard and Sarah Paulson, AKA two people who you hire if you want to be certain that the performances will be perfect.
It’s hard to deny that a lot of this film feels very familiar, it’s basically ET with a winter coat and a different location but that means it’s still pretty good. Some of the scenes are fairly familiar and follow the same beats that we’ve seen before, but then they’ll do something genuinely adorable like have the Yeti give up some of his hairs to fix a violin and suddenly my heart’s melting again. This is not something like Inside Out or Toy Story, films that were transcendent in their perfection… this film is mostly just really good, ticks all the boxes and doesn’t push much beyond that. It’s the kind of film that’s a sure bet, one that’s going to make kids happy and adults aren’t going to hate having to take those kids to see it. It doesn’t require you to think too hard, just let it tell its sweet little story about people helping other people (or giant white fluffballs of sweetness, which are better than people) and enjoy the incredibly sweet little ride.