While there are plenty of quality animated films out there, I’ve grown out of a lot of their tendencies. It usually takes something with a strong script and unique animation to catch my interest, but what I really want is an animated film that respects its target audience: children. Every animated film obviously needs to cater to children, but just because they’re children, doesn’t mean they should be ridiculed. A unique screenplay in a children’s movie is a rare sight to behold, but that doesn’t mean the film is bad, especially if the kids can enjoy it. 

Teenage girl Yi (Chloe Bennet) is a teenage girl living in Shanghai, still grieving the death of her father. Closed off from her family and having no friends, she finds a new kinship in an Abominable Snowman she finds on her roof. The yeti, who she dubs Everest, escaped from a laboratory and she realizes he wants to go to his home at the highest point on Earth. With two unlikely companions in tow, Yi and Everest make a dangerous trek back to Everest’s home, all while the organization who kidnapped him hunt them down. 

This year I made a commitment that I would see one wide release film a week and review it. Well, Abominable was the only one this week and I had no interest at all, but there’s no way I’m gonna stop nine months in. Dreamworks Animation does make some good films, but this looked more on the Monsters vs. Aliens side, rather than How to Train Your Dragon. Well, I was pleasantly surprised, but it’s still nothing special in the story department. Writer-director Jill Coulton definitely gave the film a very warm and sweet feeling. Even if it’s everything you’ve seen before, it still works and hits all of the necessary emotional beats. You can see where all of the character arcs are going, but it’s refreshing that Coulton focused far more on the story than juvenile humor. There’s still humor here, as it’s a kid’s movie after all, but it’s pretty sporadic, so the groaning was only occasional. There are some genuinely sweet scenes between the humans and Everest, and the cuteness factor just hit me more in the heart. It’s genuine enough to make up for the thin story and characters, and the rushed pacing. The villains are especially an afterthought, although Eddie Izzard as the primary antagonist was pretty fun. 

Where it really counts as an animated movie is how gorgeous it all is. Once Yi and her friends get out of gloomy Shanghai, it’s all lush, gorgeous scenery, from forests, to snow covered mountains. The environments even literally come to life, as Everest has the ability to control weather through humming. This provides for some fun action scenes, such as flying on a giant dandelion that’s slowly withering, or riding a boat on a literal wave of flowers. The creativity just made it all that much more gorgeous. I wasn’t a huge fan of the character designs, though. They all looked a bit odd, especially the grotesquely plump overweight characters, such as a grandma who looks like she ate a blueberry from Willy Wonka’s factory. Speaking of blueberries, there’s a whole action scene where the characters are on the run from giant blueberries created by Everest, giving us your cliché kid’s film action sequence where characters get “shot” by said berries. So, like I said before, nothing too outstanding here. At least the title character Everest was adorable and a lot of fun. He was easily the most entertaining part of the film, giving it a lot of personality. I also have to say, I was relieved that they didn’t go with the whole “Everest is actually her dad” twist, or other such nonsense.

Abominable certainly falls on the “generic” side of the animated film coin, but generic doesn’t always mean something is bad. It’s a perfectly fine animated film that both children and adults can both enjoy. Kids get the cute characters, action scenes, juvenile humor, while also being able to share an emotional bond with their parents over the story. I’ve seen people complain about children’s movies having dark themes such as parental death, but those kids without a parent or two need stories as well. It has decent messages to show them to keep moving forward and spending time with the people you love. It’s not special, but it has enough heart, cuteness, and beautiful animation to make for a decent enough animated film. 

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