Something I noticed before watching this film about a yeti is that this will be the third animated film within a year involving yetis. The first one was Small Foot (2018) and the second one was Missing link, which came out earlier this year. I have seen both Small Foot and Missing Link and I when I first saw those I went in with little to no reservations. Abominable, however, was a film I was extremely skeptical of due to its cliché plot and jokes from the trailer. They didn’t leave am impressive on me. So was I wrong with my predictions for this film? Let’s find out.
Abominable follows a girl named Yi (Chloe Bennet) who lives with her widowed mother and Nai Nai (a Chinese word for grandmother) in Shanghai. Yi spends her days doing odd jobs around the city as she saves up for a trip going to various places around China that her father promised to take her before his untimely passing. One night when Yi was alone on her rooftop she discovers a Yeti has escaped from a facility that was testing on him, led by a billionaire Burnish (Eddie Izzard) along with a zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson). From there she makes a promise to the Yeti to take him back home to Mt. Everest, which becomes his name along the way. She’s also joined by her neighbor Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and his cousin Peng (Albert Tsai), as they take Everest home while also not getting caught by the people who captured him in the first place.
When I mentioned earlier about Abominable having a cliché plot, I wasn’t kidding. After the first five minutes I went through a checklist of all the animated film troupes in my head. Deceased parent, check. Main character who is an outsider, check. A creature that bonds with the main character, check. I could go on but you get the idea. Fortunately, however, those familiar beats didn’t bother me once the plot gets set in motion as they start travelling throughout China. Even though it’s pretty much a basic premise of going from point A to point B, I did find myself enjoying this film as I found myself drawn towards the Chinese landscapes and culture that are usually reserved for live action films. It was a good change of pace seeing an animated film done well by an American company.
One thing that I was truly surprised by in Abominable that I thought was going to be the worst part of the film was the characters. Yi was an extremely likeable character from the get-go, which helps as she’s the main character and her interactions with Everest felt genuine. Other animated films that feels forced. The two kids that Yi journeys with were also a big surprise as one grows beyond his vain lifestyle. The other also had great interactions with Everest that I found myself chuckling at a few times whenever they were getting into shenanigans. I won’t mention this one character’s name due to spoiler reasons, but this character caught me off guard almost towards the end of the film as they became one of my favorite characters. Saint Francis of Assisi immediately came to mind with this character as they wanted to do nothing than help return the Yeti home.
Will I remember Abominable vividly like the other animated films that I’ve seen this year (Toy Story 4 and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World to name a few)? Properly not. However, I did appreciate the unique characters and how the story got better during the second half. That’s defiantly the best case scenario here, especially after watching the trailer to a film that I thought was going to be mediocre.