BFI London Film Festival: Abominable

Directed by Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman
Starring Chloe Bennet, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Albert Tsai, Eddie Izzard and Sarah Paulson
Screening at LFF October 5th, 2019

by Alex Plant

Dreamworks’ latest animated adventure looks to do for yetis what How To Train Your Dragon did for its own titular mythical creature. Though there are obvious similarities to be drawn between the adorable Toothless and the abominable Everest, this eastern set story also draws parallels with the Dragon films in how it deals with issues like grief and the importance of family.

Yi (Bennet) has become increasingly distant from her mother and grandmother following the death of her father, and has been working a variety of odd jobs in order to save up and take the trip across China that she and her father had once planned to do. However, her world is thrown into chaos when she finds Everest, a yeti that has escaped from a secret lab, hiding on the roof of her apartment block. The two form a fast bond, and along with the help of friends Jin (Trainor) and Peng (Tsai), they embark on a quest to get Everest back to his home in the Himalayas. Along the way they discover that Everest has some fairly remarkable (and often convenient) powers, while trying to evade the clutches of eccentric former Mountaineer Mr. Burnish (Izzard) and the more sympathetic Dr. Zara (Paulson).

Abominable is a lot of fun and its frequent silliness is sure to please most kids, but there’s less for adults than, say, most pixar films. Izzard is clearly having a ball doing his best Malcolm McDowell impersonation and is certainly the funniest thing in this movie. The central relationship between Yi and Everest is touching and the yeti-song and violin sequences are very beautiful. The eastern setting lends itself to some gorgeous visuals and the film’s emphasis on the importance of a connection to nature is a good lesson for young people growing up in an increasingly digital world.


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