An Abominable Review
No, this is not a review of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. But that would be abominable, wouldn’t it?
Abominable is the first full length feature film I’ve had the pleasure of taking my daughter to. (I’m not counting the Frozen sing-a-long movie-going experience from about a year ago, because my son kinda ruined that for me as he was too young and fidgety to even make it to the Let It Go sequence.)
Skye (4) and I had a little Daddy/Daughter date the other day where she treated me to lunch out at a fantastic restaurant followed by an animated movie. Rather than delve into specifics about the food — she didn’t eat her grilled cheese because, as she put it, “It’s too sour, Daddy. Yucky!” — let’s just dive straight into the film.
Abominable is about an abominable snowman who, at the beginning of the film, is locked up in some highly sensitive scientific facility. In the opening five minutes, he breaks out and finds shelter on the rooftop of an apartment somewhere in China. Being American-centric and inept, I didn’t know they were supposed to be in Shanghai. I’ve since looked it up. I thought Yi’s hometown looked more like Tokyo than Shanghai, having never been to either country. But there were a lot of other details including various foods that provided the proper tapestry of Chinese culture.
The frightened, fish-out-of-water Yeti is put on the back burner for the next 10 minutes or so in order for us to meet our heroine, Yi. We get inundated with info about the young protagonist’s life. She’s working a lot of dirty jobs and saving every penny to go on a road trip across China. Yet none of it seems to build her character up enough, in this short amount of prelude time, to where it needs to be before she befriends the Yeti. That’s fine. It’s not great storytelling but it is storytelling nonetheless.
The first bugaboo that really sticks in your craw comes next. I don’t know how much screen time is dedicated to Yi trying to get the Yeti to trust her — to believe she’s not going to hurt him like those other scientists did. However much time they spend on this part is just way too much time. Maybe it’s just because I’ve seen this story a thousand times before. I just wanted the movie to get on with it already. My daughter didn’t seem to care. Because of course, the plot line of “young kid discovers strange creature and helps it survive/escape/return to the wild” is brand new to her. So the better movie was actually painted on my daughter’s face as she watched this new thing develop before her eyes.
There’s unclear motivations as far as the bad guys go. Well, I should say, as far as the true bad guy goes. The supporting kid characters are fine, I guess. One of them is supposed to be comic relief and the other is framed as a potential love interest for Yi. But they never really go there. He’s shallow at the start and through the course of the film, he sheds his former id and cares for his friends and Yeti. So good on him.
This brings me to the Yeti himself. He’s actually very adorable. And he has magic powers that become all the more pronounced the closer they get to his home.
Right, I forgot to mention that the trio of kids is on a quest to bring the Yeti (whom they very boringly name Everest) back to his home on <ahem> Mt. Everest. The journey itself has some fun action sequences but the star of the show is truly the beauty and splendor of the places they visit, emphasized tenfold by the Yeti’s magical powers. In one scene, the kids and Everest sled down an impossible, growing hill of a zillion dandelions. If your kid asks to go to the bathroom mid-movie and you miss this scene, too bad for you, chum. It’s truly a thing of beauty.
Abominable is currently scoring 81% by critics on Rotten Tomatoes and I think that’s a little generous. Not nearly as generous as the 96% audiences are giving it. Wow. That rating must be based on kid praises. If you’re looking for something new and exciting in an animated story, you won’t find it here. But it made my Skye baby happy so who cares about plot, right? Four-year-olds can’t follow plot too closely anyway.
I’m being too harsh. The plot is fine. Just because I don’t think it’s terribly re-watchable, doesn’t mean it’s not good for a first look. Besides, you might get a glimpse of the Trolls: World Tour trailer before your own Abominable showing. Yay Trolls! The trailer still says “Coming soon” but I have it on good authority that the release date is sometime in April 2020. So get your glam hair ready.
Hey, let’s try to embed the Trolls: World Tour trailer below. Multimedia, baby! Welcome to ten years ago, bloggy!
Did it work?
Yeehaw. All hail the almighty Youtube.