I saw Abominable on Tuesday, and truth be told I wasn't expecting much, though I admittedly enjoy animated films by Dreamworks. I simply say this because animated films are coming out with pretty good regularity and in some ways, I feel as though animated films are reaching the saturation point with content.
But Abominable was a sincere surprise with a lot of genuine humor, funny family interactions and magical moments quite literally tied to the cultural throat-singing of ‘Everest” the yeti or Abominable Snowman.
So what makes Abominable special?
Here’s the official synopsis:
When teenage Yi (Chloe Bennet) encounters a young Yeti on the roof of her apartment building in Shanghai, she and her mischievous friends Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Peng (Albert Tsai) name him “Everest” and embark on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family at the highest point on Earth. But the trio of friends will have to stay one step ahead of Burnish (Eddie Izzard), a wealthy man intent on capturing a Yeti, and zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) to help Everest get home.
It’s special because the cultural elements were nicely on point. The humor wasn’t over-simplified for the benefit of kids, and the animated “cinematography’ was gorgeous. It was really funny. And the audience, filled with kids, were loving all of it. The laughter was sincerely contagious. I enjoyed it more because the kids were enjoying it.
When the teenager Yi decides to embark on her adventure to help Everest the yeti, she leaves behind her busy attachment to her world in which she was doing everything possible to earn money with odd jobs. Her intent was to effectively get away from it all, including being close to her own family. She is so caught up in trying - she forgets that she actually starts doing.
The movie leapfrogs from one beautiful location to the other which truly wowed me. The massive mountainside with a giant stone Buddha, a tidal wave of flowers, and more were just breathtaking.
But again, perhaps most special about this movie was the emphasis is placed on family. Yi, in the course of her travels, rediscovers the love for her family, specifically her grandmother which pulled on my heartstrings quite a bit.
I heard young kids talking about the importance of family and how they appreciated it in their own words and how Yi seemed to learn how special the love in her own family was.
Something very special happened outside of the confines of this movie’s screen. As the credits began rolling, a young boy who was sitting next to his mother right next to me, began to talk about how he liked that Yi was being nice to her grandma. The mother said something to the tune of “Yes, family is important,” and then he stood up and hugged his mom and said he loved her. She seemed overcome with the moment and said “I love you too,” to her son.
I quietly was amazed by the moment of these two special people, a mother and her son, sitting next to me./ Yes, tears were flowing from my own face.
This movie did that. It brought a family, a mother and a young son closer together. And that really is magic.
Follow the #NativeNerd, Vincent Schilling, associate editor for Indian Country Today
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