"Abominable" is Dreamworks' latest helping of animation goodness, the story of a yeti and the girl trying to get him home. While it takes elements of "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Kung Fu Panda" and has that same detailed animation the studio is known for producing, it does lack some of the charm of those other two movies.
A magical (and adorable) yeti escapes captivity one night in China and takes refuge on the roof of an apartment complex. The next evening violin-playing teenager Yi (Chloe Bennet) discovers the yeti hiding among the boxes. Naming him Everest after the sign outside her family apartment, Yi vows to get him back home and to his family on, well, Mt. Everest. What follows is a road trip across China with the help of her neighbors hyperactive Peng (Albert Tsai) and smooth-talking Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) while trying to stay ahead of an ambitious explorer/rare animal collector and his head scientist.
The story is simple and straight forward with little overarching issues. It is simple to a fault, however even with the simplicity the main characters have good dialogue and grow a bit, the biggest growth happening in Jinn and Yi. In fact, it touches on grief and sorrow very well, presenting the stages of Yi’s grieving through her journey with Everest in a mature way for kids and adults. And Everest is just an adorable — not abominable at all — ball of fluff the whole time. There are also undercurrents of teamwork and family in the story that the characters bring to life well.
On the flip side, the villains are the usual kind: smart, head honcho with slapstick, semi-competent underlings. All they are missing is Patrick Warburton’s voice coming out of one of their mouths. The main villain seems to be consumerism, however, with all of the antics the message can be lost. While I admit those antics got a laugh out of me a few times, they were overly silly and took away a little too much from the gravity of the situation and pulled me out of the fantasy of the story.
Despite its simple story, the movie is a fun ride. The animation is lovely, highlighting the Chinese landscapes along the way. The story is a road trip, after all, and the movie shows off the Chinese landscape in dazzling color and detail. A rainstorm sequence atop the Leshan Giant Buddha monument is beautiful and the music that flows from Yi's violin makes it even more breathtaking. The locations are colorful, gorgeous, and full of atmosphere. It is actually these moments without dialogue that stand out. Even Everest’s fur is detailed so that you can see almost every strand of it, and all of the fuzz on his face and paws.
It’s not a bad movie, it's just not very memorable compared to other Dreamworks' animations. It has heart and some magic, but it moves too fast to make it really magical. The animation is gorgeous and the story is cute but there are some elements that bog it down a bit. Definitely stay after the credits for cute pictures and more silly clips. The story moves fast so parents with kids who get bored easily won’t have to worry. Hopefully, the whooping snake can keep them laughing.