DreamWorks Animation have a great legacy of children’s films from Kung Fu Panda to Trolls and How to Train Your Dragon, so to say we were excited to see their latest offering, Abominable, would be the understatement of the year. Thankfully, the film didn’t disappointed.
The story centres around a captured (and now escaped) Yeti and his journey to get home to Mount Everest (his namesake). Of course he doesn’t do it alone, Ji, (Chloe Bennett) a teenage girl and somewhat misfit embarks on a journey across China to return Everest to his home. Along for the ride are Jin, (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), a selfie-snapping, self-obsessed neighbour and his younger cousin Peng, (Albert Tsai) who is the voice of innocence and the centre of much of the story’s humour.
Music is a massive part of this film, Ji plays a violin that once belonged to her late father, her struggle with his loss and her determination to reunite Everest with his family are inextricably linked. The music binds the emotion of the film and the beautiful animation. Classical music blends effortlessly with the likes of Coldplay.
However it is not smooth sailing for the group and trouble comes in the form of a sinister British explorer, (Eddie Izzard), his zoologist and a band of pay-for-hire agents, all eager to re-capture the Yeti for display at any cost.
The story predictably meanders along through the motions until the end, that is not to say it is boring and moments of humour, action, quiet contemplation and self realisation are abundant but nothing unexpected actually happens beyond the usual plot twists.
In fact what doesn’t happen in the film was more refreshing, the main characters were not, thankfully, set up as a romantic couple. Instead the ideals of friendship, loyalty and family are dominant.
Taking a Yeti and making him adorable is a quick way to gain the audiences’ passion for seeing the narrative end well but I wonder if the Yeti was hideous wether the question of capturing nature for personal gain would even come into question? Still, the story of loss and acceptance are moving and there is no denying that a toddler like Yeti that can do magic isn’t amusing.
Children were frequently squealing with delight throughout this film and seeing the wonderful landscapes of Shanghai city to the Leshan Giant Buddha and the magnificent Himalayas, you will feel like you have been on a wonderful, yet slightly trippy tour of China.