The plot, essentially, follows the tried and true Dreamworks/Pixar/Disney storyline: the protagonists get swept up in an adventure, try to fight the bad guys, and ultimately discover the power of friendship (or any other value) before finally getting their happy ending. In this aspect, Abominable isn’t particularly groundbreaking. We’ve seen this all before. What makes this movie stand out is its beautiful representation of modern and rural China, as well as the particularly relevant motivations of its antagonists.
The film’s villains, unassuming zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) and her employer Mr. Burnish (Eddie Izzard), set out to capture the Yeti for personal gain. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to achieve this goal, even if it means attempting to straight-up murder Yi and her friends (yes, this is a children’s movie). The antagonists, who see nature as something to be exploited, hit particularly close to home, considering the relevance of issues like deforestation and the general degradation of the planet.
Throughout the film, which follows the characters on a road trip from their home city to the Himalayas, the viewer is able to witness the awesomeness of the natural world Dreamworks has created. Particularly impressive scenes include one in which our protagonists surf away from the enemy on a sea of golden flowers and another where they listen to music under a solitary blossoming tree in the middle of a frozen tundra (both courtesy of our deus-ex-machina Yeti, who can manipulate nature). The enchanting landscapes are incredible to witness, and just may make Abominable worth watching.
Abominable is definitely for a younger crowd; yet, adults watching can still have an enjoyable experience. Aside from the great visuals, the film has a considerable, yet not annoying, amount of charming quips and jokes. Additionally (though derivative) the story does a great job at creating sympathy for the Yeti while evoking strong emotions from the audience. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t shed a tear by the end of the film. These emotional elements, as well as the incredible artwork and design, push me to forgive some of the film’s flaws.
Overall, Abominable is spectacle heavy and originality light. But, if one looks close enough, the film has the heart to produce a satisfactory story for its target audience. Kids will love it, adults will like it, and everyone will end up feeling protective of the silly and adorable Yeti, who is easily comparable to one’s own pets. See it, enjoy it, forget it, then see it again in 6 months when the next Dreamworks movie is released.