TIFF Review: Abominable


Co-directed by Jill Cutton and Todd Wilderman

Voiced by Chloe Bennet, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, and Eddie Izzard

Synopsis: A teenage girl and her two friends must travel across China to the Himalayas to set their Yeti friend Everest free.

Review: There is a lot to love about Abominable, starting with the animation and overall story. This is the second DreamWorks animated film released this year (How to Train Your Dragon 3 being the first), and it’s just as beautiful in its animation style and visual effects. Yi (Chloe Bennet) is a teenager who lives with her mother and grandmother after her father passes away. One night she escapes to her rooftop hideaway where she discovers a runaway yeti who she names Everest. Searching for this escaped Yeti is Burnish (Eddie Izzard), a former explorer who is trying to prove that yetis do exist. Instead of giving back Everest, Yi and her friends Peng (Albert Tsai) and Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) trek to Mt. Everest to set get the yeti back to his family.

While there is a lot that works, the overall structure and tropes are things we have all seen before but are told really well. Dead family member, check. A fun adventure, check. A villain with clear motives, double-check. While it doesn’t avoid this, it’s near impossible not to. The fun of the film, and what sets it apart from some animated films, is it doesn’t play down to the audience. Adults and kids will equally enjoy it because it doesn’t have to rely on childish humor. This is in the trailer so it’s not a spoiler, but there is a lot left on the table when it comes to explaining the yeti and the fantastical elements. It’s easy to say “well it’s a cartoon so who cares,” but a two-minute montage would have gone a long way without giving too much. There is also an over-reliance of “yeti magic” to get the kids out of sticky situations.

The Verdict: While not on the level of Toy Story 4 or How to Train Your Dragon 3, Abominable is a really good film that parents and kids will love. This is one of the top animated films of the year and should be nominated for Best Animated Film come awards season. My grade for Abominable is a B+ and will be released nationwide on September 27th.

Author: Sean Blanford

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