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Abominable (Also known as Everest) is a 2019 American-Chinese 3D computer-animated adventure comedy fantasy family musical film produced by DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio with based off this novel by Tracey West. It was directed by Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman, with William Davies as the writer. It stars Chloe Bennet, Tsai Chin, Sarah Paulson, Albert Tsai and Tenzing Norgay Trainor. It was released in September 27, 2019 in the United States, and in October 11, 2019 in United Kingdom. Despite that film received positive reviews from film critics but everything it gross $189.7 million on United States and other territories.

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019, and was released by Universal Pictures in the United States on September 27 while Pearl Studio distributed the film in China. In Southeast Asia, Abominable has garnered controversy for a scene involving a map of the region with the Nine-Dash Line, a contested demarcation line used by China to lay claim over a portion of the South China Sea. Due to this, the film has been banned in several countries involved in territorial disputes with China over the South China Sea—namely, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

Plot

A young Yeti escapes from a compound in Shanghai owned by wealthy businessman Mr. Burnish (Eddie Izzard), who intends to use him to prove the existence of yetis to the world. Meanwhile, teenager Yi (Chloe Bennet) lives with her mother (Michelle Wong) and Nai Nai (Tsai Chin) in an apartment building. She lives a busy life and neglects to spend time with her family and her friends, basketball fan Peng (Albert Tsai) and his tech-savvy and popular cousin Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor). Yi is also a violinist who misses her late father, who was also a violinist.

One evening, Yi encounters the Yeti near her cubby house on the roof of her Shanghai apartment building, which she names "Everest." While hiding him from Burnish Industries' helicopters, Yi gains his trust by feeding him Baozi and treating his wounds. Yi learns that Everest wants to reunite with his family on Mount Everest while Everest learns about Yi's desire to travel across China. When Burnish Industries' private security forces closes in on Everest' hiding place, Everest flees with Yi. After narrowly escaping a Burnish helicopter at the Oriental Pearl Tower, Yi and Everest flee on a ship carrying red cola cans, followed by Peng and a reluctant Jin.

Yi, Everest, and the boys reach a port in southern China and travel on a truck. After their crate falls off the truck, they end up in a forest. There, Everest awes the humans with his mystical powers of stimulating growth among blueberry plants. Meanwhile, Mr Burnish and the zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) continue the hunt for Everest. Following Everest and his human friends' trail, they catch up with them in the Sichuan region but Everest uses his power to cause a plant to grow to a gigantic size. While Yi, Everest, and Peng manage to escape on the wind-blown shoot, Jin is left behind and captured by Burnish Industries' Goon Leader (Richard Dietl).

Despite Dr. Zara's outward love for animals, Jin learns that she is planning to hunt down the yeti to sell it. He also learns that the seemingly cold–hearted Mr Burnish has a soft spot for animals including Dr. Zara's pet albino jerboa Duchess. Meanwhile, Yi, Everest and Peng reach the Gobi Desert where they befriend several tortoises, who gratefully accept their giant shoot. Later, they travel to a town on the banks of the Yellow River where Burnish Industries corners them. Peng helps them escape by unleashing a yak stampede. With the help of Jin, they escape across the Yellow River to a field of yellow flowers, which Everest causes to blossom to gargantuan sizes.

Continuing their journey, the humans and Everest eventually reach the Himalayas. While crossing a bridge, they are trapped on both sides by Burnish Industries' forces. However, Mr. Burnish experiences a change of heart after seeing Everest protecting the children causing him to experience a flashback to his first encounter with the yeti which was protecting its young. Still seeking to sell Everest, Dr. Zara injects Mr. Burnish with a tranquilizer before tranquilizing Everest as well. When Yi tries to protect Everest, Dr. Zara throws her over the bridge. Burnish Industries then departs the mountain with the captive Everest, Peng, and Jin in tow.

However, Yi manages to cling on to a rope. She then uses her violin, which Everest has magically repaired, to summon ice which reinvigorates Everest, who breaks free of his cage. Dr. Zara attempts to kill Everest out-of-anger, but the attempt results in the poacher's own demise along with the Goon Leader in a self-triggered avalanche.

To protect Everest and the yetis from humanity, Mr. Burnish agrees to help Yi, Peng, and Jin keep his existence a secret. Yi, Peng, Jin, and Everest continue the journey to Mount Everest where they reunite Everest with his family.

Returning home to Shanghai with the help of Mr. Burnish, Yi spends more time with her mother, grandmother, Peng, and Jin.

Cast

  • Chole Bennet as Yi, a violin tennegar.
  • Albert Tsai as Peng, a friend of Yi and Jin's cousin.
  • Tenzing Norgay Tranior as Jin, a friend of Yi, and Peng's cousin.
  • Eddie Izzard as Burnish, a wealthy man who wants to prove that yetis exist.
  • Sarah Paulson as Dr. Zara, a greedy, and evil woman who is a poacher.
  • Joesph Izzo and Rupert Gregson Williams as Everest, a yeti.
  • Tsai Chin as Nai Nai 
  • Rich Dietl as Goon Leader  

Additional Voices

  • Michelle Yong - Yi's Mother 
  • Christine Lin - Teenage Girl #1, Boy's Mother, and Female Costumer  
  • James Hong - Yak leader 
  • Kym Miller - Teenage Girl #2 
  • Jason Ko - Teenegar Boy 
  • Karen Huie - Dog lady and Doc Worker 
  • Vic Chalo  as Jin Impersonator  
  • Fernando Chien - Merchant

Production

Abominable was in development at DreamWorks Animation since 2010. For some time, Jill Culton was writing and directing the film, originally titled Everest, which was about a little girl and a Yeti, but by 2016, she had left the project. She was then replaced by Tim Johnson and Todd Wilderman.

In December 2016, DreamWorks announced that the film would be released on September 27, 2019, and that it would be co-produced by Oriental DreamWorks (now Pearl Studio), marking their second collaboration after Kung Fu Panda 3. On February 2, 2018, it was announced that Culton had returned as the director, replacing Johnson. On March 20, 2018, it was announced that Chloe Bennet has been cast in the lead role as Yi. On May 18, 2018, DreamWorks and Pearl Studio announced that the film has been retitled from Everest to Abominable, and Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, and Tsai Chin were cast the following month.

Release

Abominable had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019. The film was released on September 27, 2019 in the United States and on October 11 in the United Kingdom by Universal Pictures. Universal also handles worldwide distribution alongside various regional partners except for China, where the film was solely distributed by co-producer Pearl Studio, who (under their former name of Oriental DreamWorks) had distributed all of DreamWorks Animation's films in the country since the partnership began.

Home media

Abominable was released on digital and Movies Anywhere by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on December 3, 2019, with Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD and DVD releases following on December 17. All releases included the short film Marooned, which had previously been screened at the 2019 Annecy International Animated Film Festival and as part of a cross-promotion between DreamWorks Animation and AMC Theatres. The 4K Ultra HD version additionally uses HDR10+, making it Universal's second animated film to use the format after The Secret Life of Pets 2 and their sixth film overall.

Reception


Box office

Abominable has grossed $60.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $120.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $181.4 million, against a production budget of $75 million.

In the United States and Canada, the film was projected to gross $17–20 million from 4,200 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $5.7 million on its first day, including $650,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $20.9 million, finishing first at the box office and marking the best opening for an original animated film of 2019. The film made $12 million in its second weekend, finishing second behind newcomer Joker.

Critical response

Rotten Tomatoes reported that 81% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 161 reviews, with an average rating of 6.68/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Working with admittedly familiar ingredients, Abominable offers audiences a beautifully animated and overall engaging adventure that the whole family can enjoy." On Metacritic, the film has an weighted average score of 61 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 4 out of 5 stars.

Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gave Abominable two out of four stars, opining that it "lack[ed] the personality to distinguish it from superior animated films that cover most of the same ground." Similarly, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film 2.5 out of five stars, likening it to fellow DreamWorks film How to Train Your Dragon (2010). While praising Yi's violin music and the animated scenes featuring whooping snakes and Everest' visual wonders, he thought that Abominable failed to distinguish itself in a crowded market. Glenn Kenny of The New York Times praised the film for its "exceptionally watchable and amiable" story and animated visual effects.

Clarissa Loughrey of The Independent gave Abominable three out of five stars, describing the film as "occasionally original, but not quite daring enough." She also praised the director Jill Culton for writing Yi as a grounded and authentic female protagonist while avoiding forcing her to prove herself and shoe-horned romances. Nick De Semiyen of Empire magazine awarded Abominable three out of five stars. He praised the film for its first female animated film director Culton, female lead character Yi, and for embracing its Chinese milieu including Yi's grandma Nai Nai. However, he observed that the film brought nothing new to the animation medium but praised it for incorporating a reference to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave Abominable two out of five stars, regarding the yeti as a bland character and observing the film's similarities to How to Train Your Dragon and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. By contrast, Simran Hans of The Observer gave the film a more favorable review, awarding it three out of five stars. She praised the film for its animation effects of the yeti's magical powers and also likened the film to How to Train Your Dragon.

9 Dash Line Controversy

The film was banned in Vietnam on October 14, 2019, ten days after its release, due to the appearance of the Nine-Dash Line in a scene. The Philippines and Malaysia also reacted negatively to this scene. Filipino lawyer Jay Batongbacal requested that the film be banned, while the Philippines' Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. thought it was better to cut the "offending" scene. On October 17, Malaysia ordered the scene be cut from the film through its film censorship board. However, after Universal refused to make the censor cut, the film was banned entirely in Malaysia. The following day, the Philippines' Movie and Television Review and Classification Board followed suit, also banning the film.

Music

The film's music was composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams, who had previously collaborated with the studio on Over the Hedge and Bee Movie. Also featured on the soundtrack is an original song titled "Beautiful Life" sung by American musician, Bebe Rexha. The film also featured a version of Coldplay's Fix You. The soundtrack was released digitally on September 13, 2019 by Back Lot Music.

Awards

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Annie Awards January 25, 2020 Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production Amaury Aubel

James Jackson Domin Lee Michael Losure Alex Timchenko

Nominated
Outstanding Achievement for Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Nico Marlet Nominated
Outstanding Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Max Boas

Paul Duncan Christopher Brock Cecline Da Hyeu Kim Jane Li

Nominated
Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Tenzing Norgay Trainor Nominated
Casting Society of America January 30, 2020 Animation Christi Soper Hilt Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards January 12, 2020 Best Animated Feature Abominable Nominated
Producers Guild of America Awards January 18, 2020 Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures Abominable Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards January 29, 2020 Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature Alex Timchenko, Domin Lee, Michael Losure and Eric Warren Nominated
Art Directors Guild Awards February 1, 2020 Animated Film Max Boas Nominated
Saturn Awards 2021 Best Animated Film Abominable Pending
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