ABOMINABLE – Review by Susan Granger

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This DreamWorks Animation cross-culture co-production with Shanghai-based Pearl Studio is obviously designed to appeal to family-friendly audiences in the ever-growing Far East market.

In China, a young, white-furred, blue-eyed yeti escapes from the clutches of a billionaire explorer/wild animal collector, Mr. Burnish (voiced Eddie Izzard), and hides on a rooftop where he recognizes a billboard advertising trips to Mt. Everest.

He’s discovered by teenage Yi (voiced by Chloe Bennet), a scrappy tomboy/violin prodigy who yearns to travel and uses the rooftop as her hideaway. She lives in an apartment below with her strict, widowed mother (voiced by Michelle Wong) and feisty, dumpling-making grandmother (voiced by Tsai Chin).

Soon, Yi and two pals – nerdy basketball-enthusiast Peng (voiced by Albert Tsai) and appearance-obsessed, med-school cousin Jin (voiced by Tenzing Norgay Trainor, whose real-life Sherpa grandfather guided Sir Edmund Hillary up Mt. Everest) – embark on a mission to return the yeti, whom they call ‘Everest,’ to his family and rightful home in the Himalayas.

Traveling from the streets of Shanghai across the Gobi Desert to Sichuan’s Leshan Giant Buddha (233-ft. tall carved in a cliffside during the Tang dynasty), they’re doggedly pursued by Dr. Zara (voiced by Sarah Paulson), a British zoologist working for entrepreneurial Burnish, who is determined to prove that the yeti is not a mythical beast.

Along the way, Everest demonstrates some surprising, nature-connected magical powers which he summons with a low, rumbling hum that sounds like Mongolian throat singers.

Writer/director Jill Culton fills the familiar, formulaic narrative with plenty of physical humor, amusing one-liners, imaginative imagery and Rupert Gregson-Williams’ ethereal music, highlighted by Coldplay’s “Fix You.”

NOTE: Jill Culton was the first female director to helm a full-length, computer-animated, major-studio feature (“Open Season”) and now achieves another ‘first,’ featuring a female protagonist.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Abominable” is a serviceable, sweetly simplistic 6, introducing a fuzzy friend that’s adorable, not abominable

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.