When writer Jill Culton wrote the script for the now classic Pixar film “Monsters, Inc.” she paired a small girl with a giant, hairy, but lovable behemoth. In the new film “Abominable” she pairs an older girl with a giant, hairy, but lovable yeti. She gets to direct this one as well, her first outing as a director since her success with “Open Season.” Lucky for the younger set and we oldsters who accompany them, she has just the right touch.
She has a large cast of voice actors. Nearly all of them are lesser known or unknown young actors. Her villains have the voices of the only two recognizable names to add luster to the roles, Eddie Izzard and Sarah Paulson play Burnish, a wealthy collector, and Dr. Zara, a zoologist.
In the tale, a young girl in Shanghai encounters a yeti on the roof of her apartment. She befriends the beast and helps him to return to the Himalayan Mountains, to home and kin. It uses the familiar tropes of a buddy movie along with a classic journey story. It all comes in a very mild wrapper easily suitable to any child old enough to sit still for an hour and 37 minutes.
One of the advantages of writing and directing a film for younger viewers is that any lack of originality can safely be overlooked. The kids haven’t seen films even a decade old, so everything comes at them in a new and entertaining way.
And the idea of a young girl taking a yeti from Shanghai to Tibet makes as much sense as “The Little Mermaid” or as little. We don’t care and the kids don’t care either. We leave the theater smiling and happy, exactly the desired result for a film of this sort.
The PG-rated “Abominable” belies its title to bring cheer and charm to the smaller viewers. The producers allowed Culton a substantial but not outrageous $75 million to make the movie. Her only other outing as a feature director turned a smallish profit, but her writing success with “Monsters, Inc.” made a ton of cash while delighting young and old alike. You will enjoy this four sawblade movie.
While “Abominable” might not rise to the status of instant classic like “Monster, Inc.” the film entertains and charms us. We reach a mark for a successful movie for children when the 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds dance and twirl in joy as the credits come up. It happens rarely, but it happened this time. Grand.