Yi may look like any normal Chinese teen on the streets of Shanghai, but she's actually a teen on a mission. As the other kids while away their summer break having fun, Yi spends her days working like crazy to earn every yuan she can.
She's babysitting, walking dogs, dumping trash, and taking any odd job possible. Although she’s keeping her earnings secret from her mom and grandmother, Yi hopes to raise enough money to take a trip across China.
Yi's father often talked about taking her on such a trip. He had even collected little postcards of all the places he wanted them to visit together. It was something wonderful that they both dreamed of doing. But then he died.
With this man whom Yi cherished most suddenly gone, it felt as if everything of worth in Yi's life had died too. But the dream of the trip lived on, and Yi was determined to make it happen.
But the unexpected happens: Yi finds a young Yeti on her roof. It had escaped from a nearby lab owned by an eccentric billionaire named Burnish. And he wants the big furry beast back to prove that he did see such a creature years before while climbing Mt. Everest. It’s the only way to clear his name.
So Burnish's helicopters hover over the city while the billionaire’s minions—especially his right-hand woman Dr. Zara—keep careful watch on every street corner. Yi realises that she has to put aside her own dreams to help this defenseless creature: She’ll protect him and help get him back home … to Mt. Everest.
Yi is joined by Jin, a social media-focused friend, and his basketball-loving little cousin, Peng; and the three teens work together to help the young Yeti. They name him Everest—after the mountain that they must somehow find a way to.
Along the way, Yi comes to realise that the path they’re taking across China is almost exactly the path that her dad wanted to travel. This helps Yi to not only connect with the memory of her father, but also to find a sense of healing through sharing her pain with her friends. Ultimately, the film subtly highlights the importance of friends and family when it comes to finding a way through deep personal loss and grief.
We see Yi’s mom and grandmother Nai Nai repeatedly reach out to Yi and try and express their love to the isolated teen. And they both rejoice when Yi returns home with open arms after her adventure.
It’s obvious that Yi is somewhat attracted to the handsome Jin, even though she’d never admit it. And the selfie-focused Jin is kind of vainglorious about his own good looks at first, too. Jokes are made (almost all by his young cousin, Peng) about Jin having multiple “girlfriends.”
In their pursuit of Everest, helicopters and armoured cars repeatedly swoop in in threatening ways and large guards with tranquilizer guns take aim at the Yeti and his young human friends. We also witness several madcap pursuits, both through the streets of Shanghai as well as in wilder environs.
Burnish can seem a bit menacing when he yells and swings his metal tipped cane around. Another villain ultimately emerges who imprisons Everest and his young friends, purposely causes an avalanche and pushes Yi off the side of an enormous suspension bridge. A couple of characters plunge into a misty abyss, apparently to their doom.
OTHER NEGATIVE ELEMENTS
Yi has isolated herself from the things that will remind her of her dad. She also lies to her mother and grandmother when she deems it necessary to shade the truth.
In order to get Everest back home, the kids stow away on board a barge. They break into shipping crates, lie to their parents and make other reckless choices as well that this playful animated adventure invites us to overlook in the bigger context of rescuing Everest.
Younger members of your family may just see a big furry beastie with a lolling tongue and a silly grin, but there's more to this delightful Yeti tale than meets the eye.
Abominable tells the sweet story of a young Chinese girl crossing the wilds of her native land to help a magical creature get home. It's sometimes goofy and slapstick, sometimes majestically animated, sometimes an outrace-the-bad-guys snow chase.
But beneath its kid-flick elements, this movie examines something more serious: the impact of grief on a child. Not the sad side of grief, which is what most flicks geared toward kids will deal with, but an exploration of how great loss can tempt a person to bury her feelings.
Abominable totes a subtle message of healing that parents, in particular, will appreciate, while the kids enjoy the rest of this gentle-but-rollicking tale.
"These reviews are meant to help parents determine whether a movie is appropriate for their children, and are not an endorsement by Focus on the Family Singapore."
This review was adapted from Plugged In: the entertainment guide your family needs to make family appropriate decisions through movie reviews, book reviews, TV reviews, and more.