Abominable (2019) (mini-review++)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

acting 7

directing 8

effects 9

editing 7

writing 7

SW SCORE: 38

4 out of 5 🐙

++

The animation is top shelf and charming. As soon as we descend on the city, it’s a cornucopia of beautiful colors, exquisite details, and pristine movements. Did I mention it was charming? 

The plot, and this shouldn’t be too much of a spoiler, is basically the same as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. A lovely creature ends up among humanity and humans are horrible to it and a rag-tag bunch of kids go on a quest to bring it home. The creature in question is a Yeti. It is big, fluffy, and adorable. He is found by a teenage girl named Yi (Chloe Bennet) who has recently suffered some severe loss. She, her goofy younger cousin Peng (Albert Tsai), and her seemingly vapid, cocky, Instagram-obsessed friend Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) team up together, not all voluntarily, to bring Everest (the name they give the Yeti) home. 

Their enemies want to use Everest for their evil purposes, of course. They are led by a ruthless billionaire named Burnish (Eddie Izzard), who is haunted by childhood memories of a Yeti attack, and his scientist lieutenant, Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson), who wants to study the creature ethically to discover how he can help humanity. 

The movie is very up to date: smart phones are heavily featured, the bad guys employ slick drones, and Blackwater type mercenaries employed by Burnish’s company. They encounter tougher and tougher obstacles, as one would expect. 

As they make their way to the Everest’s mountain home, magical powers that I’ve never seen on screen before save the day numerous time and are conveyed in flawless animation. Everest and Peng bond along the way and both seem to be the same maturity level and supply most of the comic relief. Look for Everest’s first exposure to sugar and the completely original way in which they navigate a huge rolling field. And again, just feast on the gorgeous exotic backdrops that are lovingly and expertly rendered.

Yi’s recent tragedy is part of their quest as well. It’s a powerful subplot to Everest’s safe return, and it avoids cliches and puts a fresh spin on an age old trauma faced by all people. The whole movie is buoyed by witty dialogue, fresh takes on universal emotional challenges, and pristine voice work. 

The resolution is so satisfying that I am smiling wide just thinking about it. It cements the characters as three dimensional, even the “bad guys” and gives us revelations that are both enervating, optimistic, and profound. Normally I would throw down another spoiler alert here and go into more detail, but they are so good, I don’t want to take the chance of accidentally spoiling them for you. 

I was in the 2nd week of quarantine for the COVID-19 pandemic when I watched this movie. I don’t have to tell you how I was feeling then and how a lot of people are still feeling. Take a break from our unprecedented circumstances and let Abominable lift you up. 

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(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

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