‘Abominable’ Movie Review: Yeti Nother Yeti Movie

Hollywood always makes two of everything. There were the dueling volcano movies, dueling asteroid movies, dueling Truman Capote biopics… It happens in animation too: dueling bug movies, dueling ocean movies and now dueling yeti movies. Abominable pales in comparison to Smallfoot but it’s cute enough that it’s fine to see with the kids, and then watch Smallfoot at home.

Yi, Peng and Everest in Abominable | Dreamworks Animation LLC

‘Abominable’ is quite affable

Yi (Chloe Bennet) is saving up for a trip to China that she dreamed of taking with her father. Now that he’s gone, she’ll have to go alone. She meets a yeti escaped from a research lab named Everest. To help Everest get home, to Mt. Everest, Yi goes with him leading her friends Jin (Tenzig Norgay Trainor) and Peng (Albert Tsai) to follow them. 

Everest turns a field into a wave in Abominable | Dreamworks Animation LLC

The kids have a fun adventure with Everest, traversing exotic regions and utilizing Everest’s magic powers. All the while, they have to elude the grown-ups trying to capture Everest for their own purposes, namely to sell to the highest bidder. 

‘Abominable’ is less for adults than other animated movies

Abominable is not profound like Pixar, Laika, or the WB productions like Lego Movie and Smallfoot. Nor is it loud and obnoxious like The Secret Life of Pets, Angry Birds or the Ice Age sequels. Those movies just basically jangle keys in front of kids. Abominable is right in the middle. 

Everest and Peng in Abominable | Dreamworks Animation LLC

There’s plenty of peril and physical comedy for 90 minutes. Kids will enjoy seeing other kids get messy in dirt, water, mud, oil and various goo. Then they’ll move onto the next one. There isn’t much to make Abominable stick around in a kid’s mind but a pleasant diversion is perfectly acceptable.

The light themes of ‘Abominable’

There are familial themes in Abominable but they’re very slight. Yi keeps to herself despite her mother and grandmother wanting to spend more time with her. She is still grieving her father, but Abominable doesn’t make those themes as vital as, say, Inside Out, Coco, Frozen, Zootopia or Paranorman do. 

Everest and Yi in Abominable | Dreamworks Animation LLC

It’s really going to depend on how much kids like Everest. Abominable makes the choice to treat Everest like a big dog. He doesn’t speak English like the yetis of Smallfoot so he only communicates with Yi the way an animal would. Considering how emotional pets are, Yi and Everest’s relationships could connect with any pet owners out there. 

It is remarkable that there is a mainstream animated film for kids with three Asian leads, and they’re cast with Asian voice actors too. That is significant and it’s more than Kubo and the Two Strings could claim with its voice cast, although Moana gets credit for its islander cast too. 

‘Abominable’ looks appealing

Abominable is bright and colorful. The Chinese city in which Yi lives is full of neon lights, and each of the exotic landscapes present well. 

Smallfoot used the yeti culture to challenge parents who are sheltering their children, and encourage children to question the stories they’ve been told. Not all movies have to do that. Abominable is more simply the story of a kid finding her way through grief and having an adventure. If kids relate to it, there’s plenty of room for both.