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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Abominable is a heartwarming animated adventure about Yi (voiced by Chloe Bennet), an introverted Shanghai teen who discovers a yeti on the roof of her apartment building and embarks on a journey with two friends to return him home to Mount Everest. Expect peril and a few frightening encounters, some of which involve big chases, dart guns and drones, and close calls while climbing mountains. In one scene, it looks like a character has fallen to their death; in another, two people are swept off the mountain. Everest is chained and locked up (kids are also captured) and shot multiple times with tranquilizer guns. Characters discuss grief over the death of a parent and the loneliness of feeling like your family is no longer complete. There are also clear messages about teamwork, honor, defending and protecting your friends, and recognizing the value of life, and the film offers a positive representation of Chinese characters and culture.
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What's the story?
ABOMINABLE follows Yi (voiced by Chloe Bennet), a Chinese teen who's distanced herself from her mother, grandmother, and friends since her father died. She spends her free time working odd jobs to save for the trip around China that she and her late father had dreamed of. Then she finds a large, mysterious creature on the roof of her Shanghai apartment and hides him from Mr. Burnish (Eddie Izzard), a billionaire explorer-turned-collector and his head zoologist, Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson). Yi cleverly guesses that her rooftop guest is a yeti from Mt. Everest (Everest is also what she calls him) and decides to help him not only evade capture but get back home to the Himalayas. Along for the ride are Yi's two neighbors, classmate Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and his younger cousin, Peng (Albert Tsai).
Is it any good?
This animated adventure is sweet and entertaining enough to keep viewers amused, and it shares a bit about Chinese culture and underlines the importance of family, friendship, and teamwork. Everest's story is reminiscent of several other films about kids/people who find, protect, and commune with an unusual animal/creature/alien, but the twist of setting the film in Shanghai provides a window into the universe of three Chinese kids. They live in a high-rise apartment building, can ride a motorbike, and know how to get around on their own -- just as you'd expect from teens in the most populated city in the world. Everest the yeti might be a mythical creature, but the teen characters don't just seem authentic --- they're all voiced by Asian actors or actors of Asian descent. (One bonus piece of trivia: Trainor, the voice of Jin, is the grandson of legendary climber Tenzing Norgay, who -- along with Sir Edmund Hillary -- was the first to summit Mt. Everest.)
Izzard's villain, Mr. Burnish, is reminiscent of Up's Charles F. Muntz. Burnish has been on a lifelong mission to prove that he did indeed see a yeti when he was a young explorer. But it's his shady head zoologist, Dr. Zara, who's more fascinating. Her interest in Everest proves even more Machiavellian than that of her boss. Everest isn't a musical, but it does include key musical moments, from Everest's supernatural chant to Yi's prodigy-level violin playing and climactic use of the Coldplay song "Fix You" (both as an instrumental and with lyrics). The movie's impressive animation and the deeper storyline should ultimately appeal to older tweens and teens as well as to younger viewers who are in it for the silly physical comedy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the themes in Abominable. Do you understand the choices Yi made to help Everest? Would you have made the same ones?
What did you learn about China or Chinese culture from the movie?
- In theaters: September 27, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: December 17, 2019
- Cast: Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzig Norgay Trainor, Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson
- Director: Jill Culton
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Friendship
- Character strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some action and mild rude humor
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: September 24, 2020
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