Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Abominable * Heartwarming Watch for Families. Excellent Voice Acting and Breathtaking Visuals

After discovering a Yeti on the roof of her apartment building, teenage Yi and her two friends embark on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family. But to do so, they must stay one step ahead of a wealthy financier and a determined zoologist who want to capture the beast for their own gain. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Abominable is a heartwarming watch for families. Excellent voice acting and breathtaking visuals are the show-stealers. It truly has something for everyone.” Benjamin P. adds, “Abominable is electrifying to watch when it finds its own cinematic voice and personality, but it doesn’t ever fully escape from some predictable moments that keep it from reaching the potential glimpsed in its best scenes.” Ivey H. wraps it up with, “Abominable is a great animated film, fun for the whole family! It is very heartfelt. I really love its beautifully animated scenes, especially those with violin playing laced in. This film mixes both fantasy and adventure. The feel of the movie is soothing and delivers positive vibes.” See their full reviews below.

Abominable
By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Abominable is a heartwarming watch for families. Excellent voice acting and breathtaking visuals are the show-stealers. It truly has something for everyone.

Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), Peng (Albert Tsai), Everest and Yi (Chloe Bennet) in DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio’s “Abominable,” written and directed by Jill Culton.

The story follows teenager Yi (Chloe Bennet) as she encounters a young Yeti on the roof of her apartment building. She and her good friends, Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Peng (Albert Tsai), name him “Everest” and embark on a quest to bring the magical creature home. But they will have to stay one-step ahead of Burnish (Eddie Izzard), a wealthy man intent on capturing a Yeti, and zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) to help Everest.

Chloe Bennet is great as Yi, with her voice work providing emotion and wit. I especially enjoyed her dynamic with Everest as the two start to relate with one another. This is really the film’s heart and best elements. Tenzing Norgray Trainor and Albert Tsai, as Jin and Peng, are great companions and provide effective voice work. Peng is always hilarious, providing comic relief, while Jin comes to his own in his effective character arc that captures the spirit of being brave. Eddie Izzard, as Burnish, utilizes his comedic charm and blunt accent to great degree. Sarah Paulson, as Dr. Zara, is also a formidable threat as there is more than meets the eye with her.

Yi (Chloe Bennet) and Everest in DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio’s “Abominable,” written and directed by Jill Culton.

Jill Culton revitalizes DreamWorks Animation with a nice blend of adventure and comedy, which has engaging narrative choices. Some scenes are realized so beautifully; especially the one involving Coldplay’s Fix You. My favorite scene is Jin’s trip to Everest, as it captures his arc effectively and features a great sense of humor. However, the film loses steam by the end and drags quite a bit. You will feel the 90 minute runtime as the group sequesters. Also, I feel that complex themes dealing with loss and grief are sidelined by the amount of humor. And, it is a children’s movie after all, so I appreciate the effort to explore this territory.

The message of this film is in knowing when to reach out to others. Yi tries to accept others in her life by empathetically communicating. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. The movie releases in theaters on September 27, 2019, so check it out.

Abominable
By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

Abominable is electrifying to watch when it finds its own cinematic voice and personality, but it doesn’t ever fully escape from some predictable moments that keep it from reaching the potential glimpsed in its best scenes.

(from left) – Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), Peng (Albert Tsai) and Yi (Chloe Bennet) with Everest in DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio’s “Abominable,” written and directed by Jill Culton.

Co-produced by DreamWorks Animation and Chinese production company Pearl Studio, Abominable is set in China and follows Yi, a girl mourning the death of her father. She does numerous odd jobs to afford the trip she plans to take in her father’s memory. One day, up on the roof of her apartment building where she sneaks off to play her violin, she finds an escaped yeti that she names Everest. How he got there and what he’s capable of remain a mystery, but Yi makes it her mission to return Everest to his home and his family and protect him from the dangers on the way there.

The craftsmanship and detail of the animation is impeccable. Some of Abominable’s best moments are strengthened by the lush animation. A field of yellow flowers turns into a tidal wave, a chase over the rooftops of a vibrant, colorful China and clouds morphing into aquatic creatures that our characters ride towards a picturesque skyline. This film has plenty of imagery that will stick with you after the credits roll. Abominable has one visually engrossing setpiece after another.

I also love how integral music is in Abominable. Playing the violin is how Yi connects with her father after he’s gone and expresses what she’s feeling with every single note. The violin factors heavily into the score and is flawlessly graceful. Over the course of the film, Yi realizes her ability to do great things through her music and it’s an important facet of her development onscreen.

(from left) Yi (Chloe Bennet) and Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) in DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio’s “Abominable,” written and directed by Jill Culton.

I wish the care and precision that go into the visuals and music were evident in the movie’s story. Abominable is at least the third family film about yetis within 18 months, coming after Missing Link and Smallfoot and it feels a tad derivative from the get-go. A mythical creature and human form a close friendship and imposing forces threaten to tear them apart. The formula works, sure, but Abominable rarely makes any changes to the basic blueprint or subverts expectations of where it’s headed.

I recommend Abominable for ages 4 to 15 due to scenes of mild peril and give it 3 out of 5 stars. This film will probably appeal to both young and old, but is geared more towards younger children. Abominable certainly has strokes of greatness, but you’ve seen this story told before. If you enjoy the film, stay through the credits for some fun photos. Abominable opens in theaters September 27, 2019.

Abominable
By Ivey H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Abominable is a great animated film, fun for the whole family! It is very heartfelt. I really love its beautifully animated scenes, especially those with violin playing laced in. This film mixes both fantasy and adventure. The feel of the movie is soothing and delivers positive vibes. 

(from left) Yi (Chloe Bennet), Peng (Albert Tsai) and Everest in DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio’s “Abominable,” written and directed by Jill Culton.

The plot is very deep, creative and well-thought-out.  The story follows a rare never-before-seen Yeti who escapes a mean zoologist and wealthy art collector. The art collector wants to display the Yeti to the world and yet the zoologist has her own plans. What will become of this lovable creature?

The Yeti escapes and finds his way to the rooftop of a young woman named Yi. She is an independent misfit going through a difficult time. Yi is played by Chloe Bennet who does an excellent job with the voice over and with the emotions of this young character. Yi lost her dad and she keeps herself busy in order to not think of her loss. When she discovers the Yeti, her life is forever changed. Yi decides to help the Yeti named “Everest” (Joseph Izzo) get back to his home. Even the neighbors get caught up into the commotion and accidentally end up on this journey with Yi. 

(from left) – Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), Yi (Chloe Bennet) and Peng (Albert Tsai) with Everest in DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio’s “Abominable,” written and directed by Jill Culton.

Yi’s family is so cute! I love the character Nai Nai played by Tsai Chin. It reminds me of my nanna and she is so comical. Peng is played well by Albert Tsai, creating a character so obsessed with social media and his phone, just like so many of us kids today.  There is a lot of great comedic timing from the actors and there are many beautiful scenes throughout. A couple of my favorite scenes happen when they face obstacles escaping the bad guys—especially, the fields of yellow flowers that turn into a tidal wave, and the tree that has amazing pink flowers and lights that bloom.  It’s a wonderful, magical scene with the violin playing along. There are beautiful historical sites and scenes depicted of real places in China. The colors are so bright and vibrant that you stay on the edge of your seat. The director and writer Jill Culton has created phenomenal animation that blew me away. 

I give Abominable 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. You should go to the big screen and check this out! It is playing in theaters now.

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