The "children's film market" seems to be dominated by Disney, Pixar, and Illumination, which hit it thanks to Despicable Me and its minions. The rest is a lottery, and although DreamWorks knew how to be a competitive force since its inception, it was diluted after the success of franchises such as "Shrek", "Kung Fu Panda", "Madagascar" and "How to Train Your Dragon", which trilogy closure came earlier this year and, despite its high quality and good global box office, went quite unnoticed.
Likewise, and beyond the internal problems that the company suffered in the last decade, they continue to insist on their lively adventures, again in co-production with their eastern branch (now known as Pearl Studio) after “Kung Fu Panda 3” (2016 ).
And it makes sense since Abominable takes us to the heart of Shanghai where young Yi (voice of Chloe Bennet) fails to assimilate the death of her father and emotionally moves away from her mother and grandmother, taking up his time in different summer jobs to raise enough money and embark on that trip through the country that his father so longed to do, watch it now to see how it ends.
Not far from there, a strange creature escapes from a secret installation. It is a small Yeti, captive under the jealous gaze of Mr. Burnish (Eddie Izzard), an adventurer rich with affection for exotic bugs who wants to prove the existence of this; and from Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson), a zoologist who only seeks the animal's welfare.
After the escape, the Yeti is injured and shelters on the terrace of the Yi building, the same place where the teenager usually seeks refuge in his loneliness. The 'very ET' encounter soon becomes an incipient friendship and the possibility of facing that long-awaited journey when the young girl decides to help the hairy escape and, hopefully, return home with her own family... At the top of the mountain Everest.
While Burnish and his hunters follow in their footsteps, Yi resolves to board a ship and get away from home to accompany Everest (as he decides to call his new friend), dragging his neighboring narcissist Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and his little and Enthusiastic little brother Peng (Albert Tsai).
As you will see, Abominable is a nice animated manual adventure, with beautiful settings from different regions of China, beautiful character designs and special effects, and the right messages, but not much else. Unfortunately, it is lost in a universe of 'similar' stories like Smallfoot (2018), Missing Link (2019) - which hit theaters a couple of weeks ago - and even the very same Yeti played by John Ratzenberger in "Monsters, Inc." (2001).
Its main attraction should be the characteristic elements and the cultural richness of the East, but it is difficult to immerse yourself completely in the story when all the protagonists speak in perfect English. The filmmakers miss the opportunity to give us a more playful and original story, but they cannot avoid Hollywood conventions.
The film directed by Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman rescues emotional moments and all the fantasy of a character with magical abilities that connect directly with nature. Culton (who went through Pixar's animation department) is one of the few female filmmakers at the head of production of this size - she had already done it in Open Season (2006) - but, because for some reason, she fails to do her work in 'solo' without male intervention.
For the rest, the film has a beautiful soundtrack by Rupert Gregson-Williams and strange Coldplay interventions. Watch it now and see why we call them weird.
The important thing is that Abominable works for the kids with all their adventurous spirit, the feeling of shared loss and the very important value of friendship, as well as love and respect for all living creatures.