Movie Review: 'Abominable'

Three children unlock their inner bravery as they help a mystical creature return to his home
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Photo courtesy of © 2019 Universal Studios and Pearl Studio.
Peng (Albert Tsai,) Yi (Chloe Bennet) and Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) travel to the highest point on Earth in order to reunite a runaway yeti with his family.

"Abominable" is a heartwarming coming-of-age film about three kids who find a runaway yeti and help him return to the Himalayan mountains. It's an adventure story of friendships being tested and strengthened, with a gentle reminder that family means everything, especially during tough times.

The Story

The story begins with a teenage girl named Yi (Chloe Bennett,) who lives in an apartment in Shanghai with her mother (Michelle Wong) and her sassy grandmother (Tsai Chin). Yi is a loner who isn't close to anyone. After her father passed away, Yi finds solace in working odd jobs for people in her apartment building. Her mom and grandmother wonder why Yi is always on the go, barely has time to eat and hardly talks to them. Yi dreams of traveling to exotic destinations and proudly displays her father's old travel postcards on her bulletin board. 

One night, Yi finds a Yeti hiding on the roof of her apartment building. She nicknames him Everest. Everest has escaped from a research facility, where he was kept behind bars and used for medical experiments. The lab is looking for Everest and wants to take him back to their facility. The villains are zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) and the elderly, power-hungry, former explorer named Burnish (Eddie Izzard).

Yi and her friends Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Peng (Albert Tsai) decide to return Everest to his home in the Himalayan mountains. They stowaway on a cargo boat, then travel on foot to faraway places, while barely escaping the villains who are hot on their trail. 

What Parents Should Know 

Most of the story is a cat-and-mouse chase with the villains in hot pursuit. There are some life-and-death situations, suspenseful chases and use of weapons (stun guns, daggers, and pistols). The  villains talk about wanting to capture Everest by any means necessary, even if that means killing him. Without giving too much away, one of the villains​ experiences a change of heart and helps the kids return safely home. 

The movie is uplifting and depicts good triumphing over evil. Both Everest and Yi find support in each other as they discover where they truly belong. Everest flees from the unjust authorities at the research lab so that he can be free and independent, and Yi comes to grips with her father's passing. Her journey helps her realize the value of family. Everest also helps Yi, Jin and Peng unlock their inner bravery as they strive to return him to his home. Along the way he helps them discover where they truly belong, too.  

Everest looks like an abominable snowman, but he acts like a lovable family pet. Though ferocious at times, he loves to cuddle, play and be mischievous. Everest also has mysterious magic powers. He closes his eyes, hums, and an electrical sensation comes over him, causing magical things to happen. He manages to jack up blueberries so they're as large as basketballs, and transforms a dandelion so that it's like a hot air balloon. In another scene, Everest 's magic enables the teenagers boat to go full-throttle, so that they can make a fast getaway. Part of the fun is that the audience isn't sure of what's happening is real or imagined.

The movie also showcases popular Chinese landmarks, including the Yangtze River, Gobi Desert, Huangshan Mountains, the Leshan Giant Buddha in the Sichuan region, and ultimately, the Chinese side of Mount Everest. One of the most unique scenes of the film involves Yi playing her violin near the base of Leshan Buddha statue and magically bringing in rain showers, as pink cherry blossoms sprout all over the mountainside.

The film is visually and emotionally appealing. Though Everest is curious and playful, he can be a beast at times. Like all kids, he plays hard and doesn’t know his own strength. His relationship with Yi is deep and forms the emotional core of the film. Everest has the power to control nature, but he hasn’t quite mastered his abilities, which can be funny at times.