“Abominable” – come for the cute, stay for the adventure

“Woop!”

Story: Young Yi (Chloe Bennet) is still grieving the loss of her father, even though her mother and Nai Nai have tried to console her. Yi keeps herself constantly busy, and secretly plays her father’s violin on the rooftop late at night. But one night she finds something that’s not typically on rooftops. Something really large. Something really scared. And something that wants to go home…

Genre I’d put it in: Jaw-droppingly Gorgeous Kiddie Films Everyone Loves

Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Original, but based on the mythology of the Yeti.

Gotta say: I adore Toothless. I basically love anything large, animated, and adorably anthropomorphic. So Dreamworks just added another cutie-pie to my stable of awwww-inducing oversized sqwunchies with Abominable. The animation studio turned this yeti into an adorably gigantic chibi-yeti of fluff and smiles, and I can’t get enough. I want the How To Train Your Dragon/Abominable mashup right now please. Thank you.

The voice acting here is wonderful, with the cast giving real depth to the onscreen animated performances. Bennet adds wistful longing and staunch determination to Yi’s actions.  As sidekick/crush goal Ji, Tenzing Norgay Trainor (yes, he’s the famous Everest summiter’s grandson) manages to walk the fine line between annoying VSCO Boy and endearing longtime friend. Meanwhile, Alber Tsai’s Peng is the lovable youngest of the group, and Peng hits that enthusiasm perfectly. Their voices work so well with the moving pictures that it creates an almost believable quality.

But those images y’all. Gorgeous. Abominable is a mini-travelogue of China, with the gang moving from here to there in order to get yeti “Everest” back to, well, you know. Neon colors amaze, blinding whites chill, and the gritty green of an urban dumpster seems to waft its odor to the cheap seats. With so many locations in this story, it’s amazing that the artists were able to create such true-to-life images. They did it though. And as things [SPOILER], there’s a glorious wonder to it all. I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face, which is good because I didn’t want to. It was gorgeous fun .

As the gang go on their way, characters develop, secrets are revealed, and naturally there are bad guys who want to stop them. (Shout out to Eddie Izzard for voicing the cranky old explorer Burnish, and to Sarah Paulson as the mercurial zoologist Dr. Zara.) I would have liked to have seen more of how Jin’s evolution played out, but I’m fine enough with a Breakfast Club-esque sendoff. But naturally all’s well in the end. After all, there are pork buns to get to.  Mmmm, pork buns…

P.S.: I saw this in regular-ol’ 2D. I don’t see the need to go full 3D unless you’re really into that medium. This movie is spectacular all on its own.

Grade: A-

#Protip: Joseph Izza voices the yeti Everest, but that glorious humming? That’s courtesy of Rupert Gregson-Williams. GW could definitely get in on the Tuvan throat singing thing. Wonder if a group has an opening…

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