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Western Animation / Abominable

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Abominable is a 2019 animated film produced by DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio that revolves around a young girl helping a young Yeti return to his home. It was released in the U.S. on September 27, 2019, though it was released in Australia and a few other countries on the 19th.

The cast include Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson, Tsai Chin and Michelle Young.

Previews: Trailer

A spinoff television series, Abominable And The Invisible City, premiered on Peacock and Hulu on October 5, 2022, with much of the voice cast from the film set to return.

No relation to the book series with the same name, nor does it have anything to do with the 2006 movie.

This film contains examples of:

  • And the Adventure Continues: Invoked toward the end. Mr. Burnish sends a package to Yi, Jin and Peng containing nylon rope, carabiners, a compass and other mountaineering supplies. The accompanying note reads, "For your next adventure."
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Yi before her Character Development.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Late in the movie, after Everest accidentally breaks Yi's father's violin, Yi and Jin are having a heart-to-heart about their respective insecurities, and Yi mentions that her family is distant. Jin then asks, "Are you sure they're the ones who are distant?", referring to Yi constantly keeping herself busy and never being home.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • The movie is set up to make viewers see that Mr. Burnish is just a remorseless millionaire who is more concerned with restoring his reputation than anything else, while his assistant Dr. Zara is a zoologist who seeks to protect and preserve unique animal specimens. It goes on to show that Burnish does have a genuine, if somewhat misguided appreciation for the beauty of nature and even undergoes a Heel Realization about hunting Everest, while Dr. Zara is a mercenary in disguise who's trying to capture Everest so she can sell him to the highest bidder.
    • The scene which reveals this has its own bait-and-switch: Jin hears Zara complaining to the guard captain about Burnish giving her shoulder pet a back-handed compliment. Her actions up to this point lead the audience to expect that she's insulted on her pet's behalf, but it turns out she's actually upset that he complimented the animal at all, because it's the first remotely kind thing he's said about it, and it doesn't suit Zara's plans for him to "go soft".
    • At first, it seems like Jin will ride off on a motorcycle to find the others. The bike speeds off without him, crashing.
    • In the credits, three photos shown one after another: a Whooping Snake looking menacingly at Duchess, the Whooping Snake again with a rodent-sized lump inside it, and finally a shot of Burnish feeding bao to both the snake and Duchess.
  • Batman in My Basement: Yi finds the yeti on the roof of her apartment building and helps him hide after determining that he's friendly. However, this only lasts for about the first act before Doctor Zara tracks him down at the same time as Yi's friends discover him, spurring Yi into helping him escape from Shanghai and return home.
  • Becoming the Mask: A variant, where one antagonist becomes what the other was pretending to be. Mr. Burnish ends up caring about Everest just as much as Dr. Zara claimed she did.
  • Big Damn Hero: Jin comes in the nick of time.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: The character the title references is Everest, a young yeti with magical powers.
  • Big Eater: Everest devours an armful of dumplings Yi brings for him.
  • Big "NO!": Dr. Zara screams this when she and the captain fall down a cliff after being swept up by an avalanche.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Dr. Zara may act like a well-meaning zoologist, seemingly caring a great deal about animals more than old bitter Mr. Burnish. In reality, she's a ruthless, greedy animal smuggler who hates animals, even her animal sidekick Duchess.
  • Boring Return Journey: Given a justification Mr. Burnish has a Heel–Face Turn and takes them home.
  • Butt-Monkey: Among other things Jin has his brand-new shoes ruined, tears his vest and drinks from a river only to realize that a yak is relieving itself into the river just a little ways upstream.
  • Character Development:
    • Yi begins the movie constantly keeping busy all the time to distract herself from how much she misses her father, but as the movie goes on she gradually becomes more open and friendly.
    • Jin begins the movie very high-strung, and constantly worrying about his "babies" (his expensive shoes). As the movie goes on, he gradually becomes more courageous and adventurous, and he's even willing to get his "babies" dirty in order to save his friends from the now-revealed-to-be-evil Dr. Zara; he refers to this as his babies having "grown up".
      • On a deeper level, Jin goes from being voyeuristic/narcissistic to giving his phone away in order to buy a boat, for his friends' sake.
  • Classy Cane: Mr. Burnish's pick ax serves as this. At least, up until he tosses it aside, as it embodies his obsession with capturing a yeti.
  • The Determinator: Yi crosses thousands of kilometers to bring Everest back to his home, with no resources whatsoever.
  • Disappeared Dad: Yi's father passed away some time before the start of the movie, and Yi misses him terribly.
  • Disney Villain Death: Dr Zara and the captain are caught in an avalanche and are last seen having their vehicle being swept off a cliff.
  • Empathic Environment: At the Buddha statue, it starts raining after Yi sheds a tear for her father for the first time. The Buddha even appears to cry as well.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While the captain was willing to double cross Mr. Burnish after he had realized that he was wrong about Everest, he was genuinely shocked at Dr. Zara's lack of remorse after she pushed Yi off a bridge and she even implied that she'll kill Peng and Jin as well. He even tried to remind Dr. Zara that they need Everest alive, when she had decided to kill the yeti instead.
  • Evil All Along: Dr. Zara spends most of the movie posing as a well-meaning environmentalist, but turns out to be Only in It for the Money and far more ruthless than Burnish.
  • Evil Brit: Played with and ultimately subverted. Mr. Burnish appears to be the main villain when we first see him, while Dr. Zara appears to be an environmentalist. Once Zara shows her true colors as a mercenary out to sell Everest to the highest bidder, she drops her Fake Brit accent. Meanwhile the legitimately British Burnish has a Heel Realization and ends up helping Yi and her friends.
  • Evil Old Folks: The main antagonist is Mr. Burnish, who seeks to prove the world of the existence of the Yeti. However, he turns out to be Good All Along, helping the kids take Everest home and promising to keep their secret.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Jin is woken up by the Whooping Snake just in time to overhear Dr. Zara revealing her evil plans.
  • Expy: Burnish is one to Charles Muntz: a former explorer who almost wastes his life away trying to capture an exotic creature that will restore his reputation.
  • Fake Brit: An In-Universe example, as Dr. Zara is an American pretending to be British (Irish, to be specific).
  • Foreshadowing: Mr. Burnish appreciates a lovely tree in all its natural beauty, before he orders one of his men to cut it down. he can add it to his personal zoo. While his appreciation of nature was short-lived, it is still there.
    • When Jin is captured by Burnish’s men, Dr. Zara is the one who suggests that Everest could pose a danger to Yi and Peng, which convinces Jin into revealing where they’re going. With her seemingly being more reluctant to find Everest than Mr. Burnish it seems odd at first for her of all characters to resort to active manipulation, but it hints at her true nature and intentions for Everest.
    • Jin bonding with Mr. Burnish over the latter telling about his backstory and his finding a yeti. It gives the audience a clue that the old man isn't without heart, not to mention he would see Jin, Yi and Pang as prodigy explorers.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Everest and the adult yeti tribe qualify. When they sing, everything nearby heals or grows.
    • Dr. Zara appears to be this. It turns out to all be a ruse; she's a mercenary and the Big Bad.
  • Giant Food: Everest overdoes it when he hums some blueberry bushes into producing fruit. The berries grow huge and form a huge mound, collapsing and sending giant blueberries flying everywhere.
  • Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies: Everest is a young yeti, a child, but when he is reunited with his family, his parents and other adult yetis are around 50 feet tall or larger, a notable case of artistic license as the largest of the three purported types of yeti is only supposed to be around ten feet in height. Everest fits inside the palms of his parents' paws.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Yi realizes she's been unfairly cutting her mom and grandma out of her life.
    • Mr. Burnish has one after seeing Everest's incredible powers were being used to protect its friends.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": When the kids tell Nai Nai that someone else (referring to Everest) likes the taste of her steamed buns, she replies "Who else likes my buns?"
  • Hope Spot: Yi and her friends think that bridge to the Himalayan Mountains marks the end of all their troubles. And cue the helicopters in three, two, one...
  • Hypocritical Humor: Nai Nai tells Yi to eat so she won't be as short as her mother. This is despite Nai Nai being a head smaller than Yi's mom.
  • I Am Not Weasel: Mr. Burnish and Jin both mistake Duchess the jerboa for a weird gerbil.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Everest has blue eyes to match a playful personality.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Yi and Everest form a strong bond.
  • Irony: The movie initially portrays Dr. Zara and Mr. Burnish as being a reasonable animal lover and a greedy hunter obsessed with the yeti, respectively. By the end, their roles have been switched: Burnish refuses to capture Everest and Zara is the one who tries to take him, dead or alive.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Nai Nai may be pushy and nosy about it, but she doesn't sugar coat that Yi has been neglecting to spent time with her family. Even Jin points that out after escaping the blueberries.
    Jin: What about your family? Don't they need you too? Always busy, never home. What's that all about, Yi?
  • Karmic Death: Dr. Zara and the Captain try to ram Everest with one of the armored trucks, but in the process cause an avalanche that sends them over the side of a cliff.
  • Kick the Dog: Dr. Zara throws down Duchess, calling her a useless "rat" while shedding her disguise as a zoologist.
  • Kidanova: Jin is very popular with girls. When Peng asks him how many girlfriends he actually has, Jin's only response is a wry smirk.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Dave's coworkers are not happy that he takes the time to make wordplay on a song when they're looking for the Whooping Snake.
  • Manchild: Everest is notably as childlike as Peng, despite being ten times bigger than the boy. Justified when Yi has a shower thought that the reason Everest acts like a child is because he is a child.
  • Magic Music: Everest’s powers seem to be activated by humming, which lets him do things like make plants grow and change the weather. After he uses some of his fur to repair Yi’s violin, it gains the same powers while she plays.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Yi towers over her grandmother. Mr. Burnish also qualifies.
  • Memento Macguffin: Yi's violin used to belong to her father.
  • Multigenerational Household: Yi lives with her mother and grandmother.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: The city where Yi and her friends live is only ever referred to as "the city"; there are hints that it's basically Shanghai, but with some aspects changed for dramatic license or comic effect. The distinctive skyscraper where Mr. Burnish lives is a comically exaggerated version of an actual Shanghai building, as is the tower with the spherical bit on top where Everest is almost caught by Burnish's goons.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: A sweet variety where Jin and Mr. Burnish bond over realizing they both have spent their life "looking down on the world" and have rediscovered their sense of wonder looking at the now clear sky.
  • Parrot Pet Position: Duchess, Dr. Zara's pet jerboa. Until she discards her after showing her true self. Then she moves to Mr. Burnish's shoulder.
  • Pet the Dog: Jin didn't have to worry about little Duchess after Dr. Zara disowned her. Yet, he took the time to leave her in Mr. Burnish's care before he left.
  • Photo Montage: The credits are interspersed with photos of the characters getting on with their lives, including the three human leads playing basketball together, Mr. Burnish interacting with his menagerie, and Everest teaching rock-paper-scissors to some baby yetis, and finally Yi visiting the Buddha again with her family along this time.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Subverted. Instead of blaming Everest for breaking her late father's violin, Yi runs into the bamboo forest to vent her grief.
  • Potty Emergency: Pang and Everest have one after drinking so much soda.
  • Power Glows: Everest’s fur glows blue whenever he uses his powers. The same is true for Yi’s violin after he uses some to replace the strings.
  • Power Incontinence: When Everest uses his power to grow some blueberries to eat, they don't stop growing even after he stops singing, forcing them all to run for their lives.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Most of the Burish employees hunting Everest don't seem malicious, and aren't in on the plot to sell Everest, with Zara hurriedly tranquilizing Burish when he's about to call them off and making it look like he had a stroke or something to them. Captain Fletcher zigzags this being in on the plan in exchange for 10% of the money, but coming across as a Minion with an F in Evil in some of his dialogue and being a bit uneasy about Zara's murderous lengths, not that this saves him from sharing in her Disney Villain Death.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: There's a particular trio of security guards who keep showing up, who have more individuality than any of the other guards except the captain, and keep having slapstick accidents like accidentally shooting each other with tranquilizer darts.
  • Red Is Heroic: Protagonist Yi wears a red T-shirt.
  • Redhead In Green: Dr. Zara, who is Irish American and evil.
  • The Reveal: Mr. Burnish remembers that the yeti he encountered all those years ago only attacked him and then disappeared because it was protecting its young.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
    • Everest is just a roly-poly giant ball of fluff with huge, blue eyes.
    • Dr. Zara's pet jerboa, Duchess.
    • The Whooping Snake. Incredible as it may seem, the animators managed to make a snake cute.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: Peng tries to teach Everest to play rock-paper-scissors. It's not clear whether Everest gets the idea, because he always presents a closed fist — and Peng always presents scissors, and loses to Everest's rock.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • The koi fish. According to Yi's mom, they represent determination, especially when it concerns coming home.
    • The rainfall that happens while Yi cries upon a Buddha statue.
    • Mr. Burnish tossing aside his trademark pick ax represents his finally letting go of his obsession with capturing a yeti.
    • Dr. Zara removing her glasses and letting her hair down is an ominous indication that she's completely discarding the facade of a caring and meek scientist and unleashing her true nature.
  • Running Gag: The Whooping Snakes.
    Snake: ...Whoop.note 
  • Scenery Porn: There are plenty of stunning shots of the city and wilderness.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Everest has this reaction to masses of growing blueberries. For context, they're growing out of control because of his powers.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Mr. Burnish regales that the last time he saw a yeti, it had attacked him and he had defended himself with nothing but his pick ax before it mysteriously disappeared. At the climax, he has an epiphany of what really happened all those years ago. It didn't attack him for no reason: it was trying to protect its babies. And it vanished because it used its powers to take itself and its family to safety from him. Also of note is how Burnish doesn't quite remember how huge the yeti actually was as the adult ones the protagonists encounter at the end are much, much larger than he recalls.
  • Shout-Out: When looking for a Whooping Snake, three of Burnish's employees say "there it is" right after it whoops. The third one, Dave, says it in the tone of the Tag Team song, which leads to a Lame Pun Reaction from his co-workers.
  • Single Tear: Yi sheds one during the Leshan Giant Buddha scene.
  • Stealth Pun: At one point, Everest's powers make the flower field move like ocean waves. They become rolling hills.
  • The Darkness Gazes Back: Jin's urging that they keep traveling through the night is immediately silenced when he sees multiple glowing eyes looking back as he approaches the trees. When he sets out to reunite with his friends he boldly ignores them as he runs screaming through the woods.
  • The Stinger: A brief one, consisting of a final appearance by the Whooping Snake.
  • They Called Me Mad!: Mr. Burnish's initial motivation after having seen a Yeti as a young man, and having nobody believe him.
  • Toilet Humor: While looking for the rest of the group, Jin stops by a stream to take a drink from it. ...only to find to his dismay that not too far upstream, a yak just finished making its bladder gladder in that same stream.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Pretty boy Jin makes himself up like Rambo with a bandana and war paint in the climax.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Peng loves Nai Nai's pork buns.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Yi's violin, which previously belonged to her father.
  • Trail of Bread Crumbs: While hiding inside a crate full of soda cans, Everest and the kids leave a trial of empty cans, which Zara uses to follow them.
  • Travel Montage: Jin making his way to the village, which mostly consists of him running around while screaming. The map shows his path winding around in multiple loops.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Dr. Zara. As colourful and beautiful as the movie is, she can be considered one of the most vile villains in the DreamWorks catalog. Her willingness to outright intend on murdering a child and intending on killing Everest ultimately seals the deal. She will stop at nothing to sell Everest to the highest bidder.
  • We Need a Distraction: Peng causes a yak stampede to distract Mr. Burnish's mooks long enough for Yi and Everest to make an escape.
  • Wham Line: As Yi is going through pictures of places her father wanted to take her to, Peng reveals, "Yi, they're all places we've been!" As it turns out, during the trip to take Everest back to his home, the gang has visited every single place Yi's father originally wanted to take her to. Yi wonders if Everest somehow arranged it, and there's a shot earlier in the film of Everest looking at Yi's travel map which suggests she might be right.
  • Wham Shot: Mr. Burnish's flashback to the last time he met a yeti, revealing that both the yeti back then and the yeti now use their powers to protect others.
  • Would Harm a Senior: Dr. Zara has no qualms about hurting Burnish, who is already an old man. She orders to be given a tranquilizer shot and plans to get rid of him as much as Yi and her friends.
  • Would Hurt a Child: During the climax, Dr Zara gets into a scuffle with Yi on the bridge, which ends with Yi going over the side (and catching a convenient rope). Zara shows no remorse about this and implies that she intends to do the same to Peng and Jin.