The studio behind animated classics such as Kung Fu Panda, Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon are back with a new adventure that will take audiences on a magical journey in Abominable.
A young girl named Yi encounters a yeti who has escaped the clutches of a wealthy explorer who seeks to exploit him for scientific acclaim. Yi and her friends, Jin and Peng, take it upon themselves to embark on an enchanting expedition across Asia to return the yeti, who they dub “Everest”, to his natural habitat and his family before he is captured and exploited.
DreamWorks has built itself a mighty reputation over the years with their animated features and while Abomination certainly sports beautiful animated imagery and incorporates themes of magic, I didn’t feel the magic flow from this film and it came across as “cold” rather than “cool.” I felt that Abominable was rather lackluster and cliche in its storytelling and didn’t exactly offer audiences anything new to experience.
Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman, who co-directed this movie with Culton’s screenplay, basically helmed a “what you see is what you get” animated feature with characters that are relatively shallow and boring outside of Everest, who I confess was rather cute in his moments, but I couldn’t bring myself to connect with these characters and the story is so straightforward and primary, I could basically read this movie’s ever move before it even made it. My main takeaway from Abominable is that it’s a straight-up kid’s movie and that in of itself is disappointing considering DreamWorks has made movies that all audiences enjoy.
There are moments in this film where the animation is breathtaking but I would not put this movie in the discussion for one of the best animated films of the year. Not even close.
Again, the characters? I just could not bring myself to care for/connect with them. The voice talents of Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Eddie Izzard, Joseph Izzo, Sarah Paulson, Tsai Chin, Michelle Wong and Rich Dietl, ultimately go to waste in this movie because the characters lacked dimension and the story lacked impact and creativity. Beyond the surface, there was no depth in Abominable.
Rupert Gregson-Williams’ score is nice, Robert Edward Crawford’s cinematography is okay, Susan Fitzer’s editing gets by, Max Boas’ production design is good and Paul Duncan’s art direction is pretty, the visual effects are solid and the overall animation is very good but it’s so disappointing to come away with so little redeeming qualities because DreamWorks has done better in the past.
Abominable is a story about finding your way home, unfortunately I don’t believe this movie found its way because the direction it was given was so narrow and safe, it took away from the adventure. I do believe kids and younger audiences will enjoy it for what it is but for older audiences, it will leave them rather cold and indifferent. For DreamWorks, Abominable will be chalked up to a swing and a miss.