by Philip Price
Director: Jill Culton & Todd Wilderman
Starring: Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai & Eddie Izzard
Runtime: 1 hour & 37 minutes
“I’m so used to looking down on the world it’s amazing how small one feels just by looking up.”
As with most animated films, “Abominable” is about a girl who is looking for a purpose; trying to fill a void left by a departed parent, but what is different about writer/director Jill Culton's film is that it doesn't deal as much with this emotional process through the mind of a child as it does that of an older teen/early adult; an individual mature enough to more fully comprehend the ramifications of such a life event than a character like ... Nemo.
This isn't to say that automatically makes “Abominable” more interesting or better than that Pixar classic or any of the many Disney animated films that open with or include the death of a parent. What it is implying is the fact the journey we go on in this latest DreamWorks fable while still familiar, hits the recognizable beats with something of a different perspective.
It is for this reason that I almost wish the film hadn't resorted to leaning so heavily on the (somewhat unexpected) magical element as contributed by the yeti referenced in the title, but it is this friendship between the mystical creature, Everest, and our protagonist, Yi (voiced by Chloe Bennet), that ultimately lends real soul to the proceedings and keeps the movie from becoming a kitschy fantastical tale solely for the kiddos. These magical elements also make for some wonderfully creative imagery that will sweep one up in the themes of perseverance, dealing with loss and the importance of friendship even if such routine topics don't initially strike one as engaging.
Also, Peng (voiced by Albert Tsai) is a great supporting character and consistently uproarious while Eddie Izzard's Burnish, the purported antagonist, is oddly hysterical and childish in frequently hilarious ways even if the movie lets us know too early exactly what it's going to do with the character.