“Abominable” (Rated T)
Cast: Chloe Bennet, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Albert Tsai, Sarah Paulson
Somebody’s obsessed! Or really trying to get a certain point across!
In just two years, there’ve now been three animated films about what’s known as – depending on the region – Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yetis or Abominable Snowmen (although there are apparently some key differences between some of these).
Following “Smallfoot” last year, and “Missing Link” earlier this year, we now have “Abominable”.
So why is this such a hot subject? Somebody sure seems to be fascinated about marginalized, small and obscure population groups being pursued and/or persecuted by authorities or special interest groups or the enraged masses, and proving that even though these “creatures” may look and sound slightly different from the rest of us, what we have in common is much greater than what differentiates us.
I wonder where that’s all coming from?
In the film, 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.
“Abominable” appears to be aimed at the age groups which will most likely struggle to say the name of the picture. That category has certainly been underserved at the cinema in recent months. Premiering as movie theaters have for weeks been filled with decidedly more adult fare – strippers-turned-con-artists “Hustlers”, space drama “Ad Astra”, clown killing machine “IT Chapter Two”, septuagenarian killing machine “Rambo: Last Blood” and British TV period drama turned big screen period drama “Downton Abbey” – it’s no surprise “Abominable” was able to hit number one over the weekend.
It reminded me of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”. Others say it’s remarkably similar to “How to Train your Dragon”. Those are two much-beloved movies. “Abominable”, however, is not quite in the same league as these classics. Although younger demographics will likely love the picture, and it is indeed sweet and beautiful at times, for the rest of us, it’s a meh! – rather bland and sometimes dull.
Unlike Pixar’s films, which tend to be more of a treat for adults than younger audiences, masking thought-provoking and often serious themes and subject matters in dazzling, child-distracting animation, this flick is a relative straight shooter.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover!” is the central theme, along with the importance of home, family and friendship. And that’s pretty much it.
So, unlike many other recent animated properties, there aren’t double entendres or hidden messages.
That lack of pretense, though, is probably the greatest strength of “Abominable”, and the “get ‘em while they’re young” approach to teaching compassion and open-mindedness can’t hurt. It’s a message that bears repeating over and over.
• Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio and station manager. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.