A far cry from other spooky depictions of Abominable Snowman-like beasts, Everest is a sweet, perpetually smiling yeti that possesses the ability to teach humans the importance of teamwork.
Young at heart and kind of large in size, the blue-eyed Everest is one of two central figures in the PG-rated “Abominable,” the newest animated movie from DreamWorks Animation. Everest has escaped his cage from a secret lab and desperately wants to return to his snow-covered home, Mount Everest. An accidental meeting between Everest and a overly busy, adventurous Shanghai teenager named Yi (voiced by “Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” star Chloe Bennet) leads to the beginning of a friendship that is as unpredictable as it is unique.
Once Yi learns of Everest’s desire to reunite with his own furry people, she calls herself into action. She tells her worried mother and her wise grandmother that she will be gone for school-related field trip, and then begins to journey cross-country with Everest. Two of Yi’s friends (voiced by Albert Tsai and Tenzing Norgay Trainor) join in on what they think could be a dangerous-but-exciting ride.
Yi soon learns of Everest’s incredible, magical ability to use music to make the world more colorful and more meaningful. When Yi plays the violin that once belonged to her late father, Everest joins in to add a low-end harmony line that makes eyes go wide and mouths turn into smiles.
In addition to the low-key moments are action segments that never fail. One scene where Everest and Yi ride on dolphin-shaped clouds to escape a not-so-truthful crew might sound corny on paper, but it is stunning in its beauty and innocence. A few minutes later, the aural sounds of Coldplay’s haunting “Fix You” fill the soundtrack and embody a perfect balance to the movie’s original score.
On the surface, “Abominable” seems all safe and cuddly, but a closer look will reveal a movie that touches upon Asian culture, stresses the need for people to stand up for their friends and, in an appropriately subtle way, examines how grief can have a long-lasting effect on a child. Yi’s longing for the presence of her deceased father never wanes throughout the film, but the story always provides rays of hope for Yi and her nature-loving colleagues. Everest frequently feels and reacts to that often-unspoken optimism, and so will the audience.
Final grade: B+
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