REVIEW: ‘Abominable’ looks great but suffers from poor characters

Dreamworks’ animated features have had their ups and downs, and “Abominable” comes in at about the middle.

The movie follows Yi (voiced by Chloe Bennet), a teenage girl who’s motivated to work several jobs to save money in order to go on a trip across China. Her motivation comes from her late father, who wanted to take Yi on the trip himself before he passed away.

One night when she’s on the roof of her apartment putting away her saved money and to play her violin, though, Yi is greeted by an abominable snowman. While frightened at first, Yi eventually befriends the yeti. The problem, though, is that the yeti is being chased by goons from a billionaire who collects exotic creatures. Determined to keep the yeti safe, Yi and a few friends decide to help it get back to its home on Mount Everest.

“Abominable” starts off quite strong but by the end a viewer might be glad it’s over. While there are plenty of charming moments, this animated feature seems to be somewhat repetitive after a while. Basically, the movie falls into a routine of scenes where the group is in trouble, the yeti does something magical, they escape and then it repeats a short while later.

Thankfully many of the getaway sequences are fairly entertaining, and Yi’s character arc of moving on from her grief is heartfelt. She’s a strong character but has flaws and vulnerabilities, making it really easy to root for her to accomplish her goal.

Courtesy Dreamworks.

Unfortunately the movie really stumbles when it comes to its supporting characters. Yi’s friends Peng and Jin don’t add all too much besides comic relief, save a few moments. Even worse, though, are the villains, who are about as generic as you can get.

Then there’s the yeti, who the characters name Everest. It felt as if a decision couldn’t be made on making him either a misunderstood gentle giant or a cute and cuddly creature, so they mashed the two together. The result isn’t too satisfying, which is disappointing considering this is the same studio that made Toothless from “How to Train Your Dragon.” Both visually and the way it acts, Everest just isn’t all that fun to follow.

While not a fan of the yeti’s design, though, the movie as a whole did look pretty good. The animation brought many locations to life in great fashion and moments where the yeti uses it’s magic are downright gorgeous. The visual eye-candy is easily the best part of “Abominable,” with some especially colorful scenes in the third act.

“Abominable” isn’t Dreamworks’ strongest entry, especially because of its characters and story. However, the visuals and the lead protagonist make it a cute watch for families, although it’s probably a good idea to wait for it on a streaming service. 2.8 out of 5.


Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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