Directed by Jill Culton, Todd Wilderman
Starring Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai and Tenzing Norgay Trainor
Dreamworks sold me on their 2019 computer-animated adventure film Abominable with the tagline “from the Studio that brought you the How to Train Your Dragon Franchise.” The last of those great films told such a powerful story that it left me in tears as the credits rolled.
So naturally, I went to see Abominable looking for another beautifully-realized animated world and a story that tugged on my heart strings. Unfortunately, the film only delivered on one of those things.
The plot is simple: three kids in modern day China try to get a Yeti home to, and name him, Everest. The animation is stellar. From the cityscapes to the multiple vast regions of China, every detail is clear and colorful. The characters look interesting; still cartoonish but with amazing tonal textures and expressions, while the Yeti looks like a large stuffed animal come to life.
With snippets from her past, the script does it’s best to invest us in our main character Yi’s journey. In the end, it was difficult to care for Yi when the cute interactions between Peng and Yen and the Yeti stood shoulders above. These other two children feel more realized than the Chloe Bennet-voiced Yi. She was simply a vehicle to introduce Everest.
The film’s antagonists do throw the audience for a loop and make things slightly more interesting, but in the end there wasn’t the emotional connection needed to make this film stand out. In a genre that has, in this year alone, consistently delivered on a deep emotional level, Abominable didn’t bring the pain or the pathos.
If How to Train your Dragon 1, 2 and 3 were an A-, B+ and B respectively, then Abominable is a frigid C-