Deep within the mountains of the Himalayas lies a mysterious creature called a yeti or an abominable snowman…wait a minute, didn't I talk about this before. When I put those together with the words "animated movie", your either going to bring up Smallfoot or Missing link, which had also talked about yetis. To be fair, a lot of similar ideas have been made into movies so it's not fair to discredit today's movie because of that. I can only assume that by the time Smallfoot was released, this was already halfway done, so they just had to go with what they had.
The big difference this time around are a couple of things. First, this is a collaboration between DreamWorks Animation and a Chinese company Pearl. Second, the story this time puts the focus on the humans rather then the monster. And finally, rather then making the yeti a walking, taking humanoid-type thing, this abominable snowman is more like a lovable dog that has magical powers. And honestly, because we always need family movies, families are probably not going to care about similar kinds of movies released, as kids can have something new. So let's see what Abominable has to offer.
In Shanghai, teenager Yi (played by Chloe Bennet) spends he days in Shanghai working odd jobs so that she can go travel and see more of China and perhaps the world. At the cost of her determination, she tends to avoid spending time with her mother and grandmother who are concerned that she's kept herself closed off since her father passed away. Though they think she's no longer interested in playing the violin, in secret she only plays alone. But a like a lot of stories involving monsters, she hears and finds a large animal on her roof, but sees not only is it not dangerous, but it's on the run from somebody.
She figures out that the monster is a child yeti that she calls Everest. That also because she sees that’s him home and he needs help. They make it to a tanker, but also bring a long her friends Peng (played by Albert Tsai) and Jin (played by Tenzing Trainor). They make it to a jungle only to see the people looking for the yeti have caught up. These people are a wealthy explorer Burnish (played by Eddie Izzard) and zoologist Dr. Zara (played by Sarah Paulson). It's a race to see if they can get the yeti home while making some friends.
If you can tell, Abominable follows the formula to a lot of DreamWorks animated movies that deal with opposite outcasts on journeys. Shrek did it, Kung Fu Panda did it, and How to Train Your Dragon did it. Does this bring anything new to the formula? Not a lot. Because the formula is really repeated. The villains don't understand the heroes, the hero has a popular friend whose going to see things their way, and even the monster has a mystical power. It even lacks the emotion that it's trying to pull off.
Perhaps if this came out in the early 2000's, this would have been more original and unique. But for what it is, it seems kind of tired. It’s a shame because the movie does have two good things going for it. First is the animation. DreamWorks has remained a competitor of Disney for a while for a reason; the style is really good. You not only feel and see the emotion through all the characters, but you get that feeling from the yeti who doesn't even talk.
The other thing it has going for it is the voice acting. It's nothing amazing, but every actor seems to be giving their all.
At best, this may appeal to kids who simply want to have a fun little adventure, but there isn't much for adults. Sure, there may be a funny joke occasionally and there's even a beautiful scene or two (I did love them playing the violin close to a large statue and flying on a giant dandelion), but it only makes you wish they had thought more outside the box. As is, its at least harmless and it's short.
I'll give this three yetis out of five. This is far from a bad movie, but it's also not that unique. It feels like a movie that was thought up quickly and the storytellers did their job enough to make it work. As I said, kids will like it fine, though I think I'd rather show them Smallfoot or Missing Link. At least with those, I'm going on a different adventure then Abominable.