Great animated films are both meaningful as well as entertaining. Director Jill Culton achieves that joyful status with Abominable and she is to be congratulated.
The film tells the story of a lovable Yeti who escapes from a hideous prison type captivity in China, climbing to the roof of a building where he hides in fear. Discovered be Yi (Chloe Bennet), a teenage girl full of piss and vinegar, an adventure begins where she and two friends try to help him return to his home on Mt. Everest.
The Yeti and his new allies are pursued by his brutal wealthy former captor Burnish, voiced so powerfully by Eddie Izzard that you quickly hate him. Helped by a zoologist with questionable motives (Sarah Paulson) and a large armed force of bounty hunters, they use helicopters, boats and powerful motor vehicles to bring the Yeti back, dead or alive.
What makes this film so emotional is the relationship of Yeti and his three companions. It begins with Yi, the team leader haunted by the recent death of her father. Though she turns inward as she dodges the lovable help offered by her mother and grand-mother, she finds meaning as she risks everything to get Yeti back home.
And then there are Yi’s two male comrades. Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) is a selfish teenager concerned about little in life other than his hair and a new tennis shoes. Peng (Albert Tsai) is a younger, very funny kid whose sole interest in life is playing basketball.
Despite their differences, these three kids become a team that fall in love with their Yeti. In the process, you fall in love with all of them as they try to achieve the impossible.
The movie includes some brilliant landscape scenes, and the moments where Yi plays her violin that belonged to her father will bring a tear to your eye. However, it is the ending that will break your heart.
The secret surrounding a Yeti is that they disappear from human view if our youthful trio succeeds and find a way for him to return to his family. They will have to embrace him and wave goodbye, never to see each other again. It should come as no surprise when I admit that I wiped away tears as I left the theater.