Directed by Jill Culton
Starring: Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson
Runtime: 87 minutes
Rating PG (for some action and mild rude humor)
The last time I went to a “kids” movie would have been “Dumbo” back in late March, early April. I try to vary my reviews and I had heard great things about “Abominable.” I will be honest; I was hesitant to go. I don’t have children so “kids” films aren’t usually my first choice. DreamWorks did produce this film and they usually kill it. (“Shrek” for instance) Another note on this film, it’s set in Shanghai, so that was a nice change of pace compared to the majority of films set here in the US.
Onto the film.
We open with loud growls, not sure of what or who we are encountering. It looks like a lab of some sort. We then are put into first-person perspective with whatever was growling at us. A side note on the first-person aspect. It was a nice touch to the film and helped the audience care for and relate to the main character Everest. We learn that Everest is a Yeti and he is desperate to go home to his family. As he escapes the lab into Shanghai, he sees a billboard with Mount Everest on it and the sadness sets in.
We then cut to our other protagonist of the film, Yi (Bennet) She is a young woman who spends as much time as possible away from home. We meet her mother and her grandmother Nai Nai (Tsai Chan) who rocks a fantastic tracksuit. Yi leaves home to do errands around the city for money. The first of which is dog walking twenty pugs. We then see her meeting the “cool kids” group which consists of one of her friends/love interests Jin (Norgay Trainor) He is self-absorbed, and their relationship is strained. Lastly, we meet Peng (Tsai). He is younger than both but is apparently the best basketball player around. A note on the cast: They all mesh well together and as the journey embarks, they all grow into who they are supposed to be. Well done on all the actors, as most of them are fresh on the acting scene.
Yi (Bennet) finds Everest the Yeti on her rooftop. She has a secret hideout there where she puts the money she makes for her errands. Life hasn’t been kind to Yi. Her father passed away and she’s saving money to travel to all the places he wanted to take her. We also learn she excels at playing the violin, something he had taught her. After meeting Everest, we can see immediately Yi is the polar opposite of Jin. She takes some of her money and gets medical supplies to help Everest’s injuries. She’s selfless. To help someone/something she barely knows speaks volumes on her character.
Unfortunately, the antagonists of the film are on the pursuit. Burnish (Izzard) has spent his life collecting exotic creatures, and Dr. Zara (Paulson) is his assistant hoping to show the world this amazing discovery. In the beginning, their motives seems nefarious and we obviously are pulling for Everest and the kids to win.
Through a pursuit through Shanghai, the trio and Everest escape and the journey truly begins. They are off to get Everest home. This is where the film excels. Even though this is an animated film, I couldn’t help but feel that it had a live action feel to it. I kept thinking of the Indiana Jones series and the excitement they bring (Some of my favorite films.) Ironically, there are two scenes that are throwbacks to both “Temple of Doom” and “The Last Crusade.” (Nice touches)
This film works on so many levels and it starts with Everest. He grunts and howls to speak. Much like my pug Watson. He thinks he can speak to his companions. It allows the audience to feel for the character and gives him depth. You’d be surprised with a creature with no dialogue having so much heart. Again, like I said the cast works, and the plot has so much heart to it. I didn’t expect as much excitement or moments to tug at the heart strings, but they were there. I encourage families and even adults alone to give it a shot. The message about the importance of family, whether it be by blood or your friends rings throughout. The message about believing in yourself and growing into the person you were meant to be hits even harder. This was a fun adventure I hope you go on. #SHOPLOCAL 4 stars out of 5
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development.He can be reached at [email protected] or 740-981-9158