DIRECTOR: JILL CULTON, TODD WILDERMAN | SCREENPLAY: JILL CULTON | STARRING: CHLOE BENNET, ALBERT TSAI, TENZING NORGAY TRAINOR, EDDIE IZZARD| RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
One of the things that Dreamworks is good at is taking set-ups for horror movies and turning them into adorable kid’s films. The likes of MegaMind and Monsters Vs Aliens are basically scary movie ideas flipped in such a way that they’re fun and child friendly. With Abominable, Dreamworks does it again with this shaggy tale about an escaped yeti running amok in a Chinese metropolis. Of course, the yeti befriends Yi (Bennet). She’s a hardworking young lady dealing with personal grief and trying to earn a buck. She quickly names the fuzzy beastie ‘Everest’, and it’s in desperate need of help. Mostly because an eccentric billionaire (voiced by the instantly recognisable Eddie Izzard) has complicated reasons for wanting to ‘own’ their very own adorable mountain creature.
Add in a spunky and hilarious child sidekick called Peng (Tsai) and Jin (Trainor) as a vain ‘in-crowd’ friend with a heart of gold, and we have a team of youngsters looking to find themselves, while at the same time trying to help a yeti go home to the Himalayas. If this all sounds a bit formulaic, well that’s because it is. The plot is pretty much the hero’s journey with a giant bear-like snowbeast added in for good measure. The characters learn the things you’d expect them to learn, and so on. Even the environmental message at the heart of this tale is pretty standard.
The thing is, none of that matters. There’s something about Everest that just makes you want to grab him and tell him that everything is going to be okay. Chloe Bennet’s performance is particularly strong and we defy pretty much anyone not to feel joy and sadness at certain key points. This might be a disposable children’s movie, but it’s one that has been put together superbly. From the idealised version of China to the ridiculous plot twists, it’s an avalanche of fun. Abominable is a lovely movie which, rather than having a cold and cynical heart, is filled with the warmth of friendship and creativity. It’s quality family fair of the extra cuddly kind.