REVIEW: ‘Abominable’ is Exactly What Animation Should Be

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Abominable

Good animated films make you feel something. They fill your screen with humor and adorable characters while also giving you a story that tugs at your heart while asking you to open up to its message and see yourself in it, even if you’re an adult watching it. Dreamworks Animation’s Abominable is everything that all-ages animation should be. It’s beautiful to look at, with music that is wonderful to hear, and ultimately forces those of us who have had problems processing grief to look at ourselves.

In Abominable, a teenage girl named Yi (Chloe Bennet) is pushing the grief from losing her father down, ignoring it by busying herself with odd jobs and detaching from her family. After sneaking away to her roof to hide and play her father’s violin, she finds a Yeti on the roof of her apartment building. Naming him Everest, Yi, and her two friends, Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Peng (Albert Tsai), embark on an epic quest to reunite their new friend with his family in the mountains and save him from the wealthy financier, Burnish (Eddie Izzard), and his determined zoologist, Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson), who want to capture him.

Abominable

Through beautiful animation, Abominable teaches a lesson to its viewers about respecting nature and ultimately that conservation sometimes means leaving the magical world of nature alone. That said, the heart of the film is Yi’s struggle through grief and having the strength to be vulnerable. There is a beauty to this story particularly for those of us who suppress our sadness, for those of us who keep moving instead of allowing ourselves to feel. For Yi, her father’s death was the loss of her inspiration, of a friend, and, in some ways, of her future.

Often films about death geared towards younger viewers will explore the sadness, but Abominable explores the numbness that sets in. Yi has not shed a tear since her father’s death, she hasn’t talked about it, and she hides anything she uses to remember him. Her music turns from a family experience into a personal one. Yi’s retreat into herself is one I recognize because it’s one that I see in myself.

When I was Yi’s age, my grandmother died and I didn’t cry. But I also didn’t speak. For days I just stared and ignored those around me. When I finally started talking again I didn’t talk about her death, instead, I ignored it all and threw myself into schoolwork, extracurriculars, and did everything I could to not think about her. But this meant that I cut off my only support system and the only people in the world who could understand the pain I was feeling. The road to letting them back in was long and like Yi, I needed to finally put my connection to my grandma in front of others. For Yi, it was playing the violin for others again, for me, it was making a pot of beans with my grandma’s recipe for my family.

The emotional journey that Yi goes through is beautifully melded with the adventure of saving Everest and accented with adorable moments of friendship. Most importantly, Abominable’s score pulls the audience through the story as strongly as the characters do. Yi’s violin is beautiful, the music she creates hits you. It comforts Everest and the audience. But in the film’s most beautiful moment it blends with Coldplay’s “Fix You” and it effortlessly pulled tears from my eyes. “Fix You” beautifully works with the scene, the climax of her personal journey of following others and letting them guide her home.

Abominable is adventurous and beautiful. The majestic landscapes spring to life and the magic of the film is something that all ages will feel touched by. This is one that must be experienced on the largest screen possible. You need to let the music hold you and ultimately, in a sea of remakes and sequels, Abominable offers up a unique story that sets a future for Dreamworks Animation.

Abominable opens nationwide September 27, 2019.

Rating: 10/10

 

Abominable
  • 10/10
    Rating - 10/10
10/10

Tl;DR

Abominable is adventurous and beautiful. The majestic landscapes spring to life and the magic of the film is something that all ages will feel touched by. This is one that must be experienced on the largest screen possible. You need to let the music hold you and ultimately, in a sea of remakes and sequels, Abominable offers up a unique story that sets a future for Dreamworks Animation.

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