In recent decades, movie yetis have evolved from fierce and mysterious (‘Snowbeast’ and ‘Shriek of the Mutilated’) to soft and cuddly (‘Monsters Inc.’, ‘Smallfoot’), so it’s no surprise that the Himalayan fur beast in ‘Abominable’ isn’t pulling anyone limb from animated limb. The film itself is a sweet but toothless animated feature that quickly eases into a predictable groove.
The plot is basically ‘ET the Icy-Terrestrial’ with pork buns subbing in for Reese’s Pieces. Scrappy Chinese orphan Yi (voiced by Chloe Bennet from ‘Agents of SHIELD’) and some new besties must transport their new monster pal, nicknamed Everest, back to his homeland, all while evading paramilitary types and some evil scientists (including Sarah Paulson).
Life lessons set to Coldplay’s syrupy ‘Fix You’ aside, ‘Abominable’ is a pacy adventure. Occasionally the animation transcends the typical – you can see every fibre of hair on Everest’s belly as he takes Totoro-like naps. Sometimes the movie bursts into psychedelic passages, like when the yeti is revealed to have nature-altering powers, transforming fields of flowers into crashing waves. Youngsters will be delighted by the rush of colours, but there’s real value in Yi’s frequent violin solos, which tune the film into a different frequency.
Parents shouldn’t brace themselves for requests for string instruments, though – not when there’s an adorable fluffy beast to go on the Christmas wish list.