Dreamworks have made quite a name for themselves over the years. The animation studio has found an array of success with films such as Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. However along with its hits the studio has had its share of misses as well; whether it was trying to start a new franchise or simply doing something different. Needless to say, it seems that Dreamworks is taking another chance with their newest film hitting theaters: Abominable. Directed by Jill Culton Abominable is a joint production by Dreamworks and Chinese studio Pearl (who have collaborated before with Kung Fu Panda 3) and centers on a Yeti in China. I would be lying if I said I was looking forward to this animated feature. Seeing the previews for the movie did not do much for my enthusiasm as it looked like a typical animated adventure with standard characters and decent animation. Regardless, I went to see the film and after going on this journey I find myself surprised as, when it pertains to standalone movies, Abominable is among Dreamwork’s best.
Abominable tells the story of Yi (Chloe Bennet) who finds a yeti she names Everest on her roof. Realizing that Everest is in danger Yi, along with her friends Peng (Albert Tsai) and Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), travel across China in order to get Everest to safety by taking the young yeti home. As stories go Abominable was fairly simple as its structure and themes were rather typical. However the execution of this plot made all the difference for this animated feature. The story had a good sense of adventure to it as Yi’s journey through China was never tiring and quite entertaining. While themes such as the importance of family is nothing new the plot manages to use its concepts in a way that proved effective for the overall story. While it features few surprises the plot to Abominable was enjoyable, and though it may not have had a strong sense complexity it certainly understood its subject matter; and that was enough to work.
When it came to the characters, I found myself pleasantly surprised with this cast. Each character had something to offer the movie. Yi was a solid protagonist with reasonable progression while both Jin and Peng had good development themselves, and together the trio had fantastic chemistry. Along with the solid trio was an equally impressive supporting cast. From Yi’s show stealing grandmother (Tsai Chin) to even the movie’s henchmen, every character stood out in their own way. Another surprise was the character of Mr.Burnish (Eddie Izzard). Looking at this character one would expect a typical antagonist but there was much more to Burnish than meets the eye and this made the character quite refreshing. Last and certainly not least was the character of the hour: Everest. Everest was a simplistic character but this did not hinder the young yeti as his childish personality and understandable sensibility helped him relate with the human characters as well as standout on his own.
When it came to the animation Abominable was rather impressive. The animation’s colorful nature ended up working for the movie by giving it a sense of style and a lot of life to the movie’s settings. Along with the keen animation was the movie’s sense of humor which managed to be more enjoyable than I expected. Whether it was the big punchlines or the subtle delivery I found myself laughing at several of the film’s comedic moments. Also a highlight for the movie was the suitable score by Rupert Gregson-Williams. The music may not have been a standout soundtrack in Dreamworks’ catalog, but it was still notable as it brought out the right tunes for this animated film.
I did not imagine I would enjoy Abominable as much as I did, but sure enough this animated feature impressed me. True the film deals with basic storytelling and characters, but its delivery of both made all the difference in the world. Adding to the solid execution was the movie animation and comedy which were equally vital to the film’s presentation. From its simplicity to its style, Abominable was indeed a delight and showed that Dreamworks has still much to offer the animation genre.