Is there such a thing called a bad animation movie? Like it has to be really bad for it to be called bad, because they are meant to cater to an audience whose food taste is decided based on their parents mood. Happy, a happy meal. Mellow, a hospital meal. Angry, eat whatever you can find meal. All we expect them is to not be gruesome and a bit wholesome at times. There are some great animation movies such as Toy Story, Cars, Spider-verse but they are called great because the adults decided to call them to be. Kids, they love them all. I have never heard a kid hating a movie he/she has watched. They have slept through many, but despised none. To make a really bad movie you have to be intentionally bad, like put all the bad thoughts in and still people might call it good in an abstract manner. Also, animated movies are the ones where kids can behave naturally in the theaters. No need for any discipline. No one is going to complain about a kid making noises while watching a kids’ movie. Add a lesson on morality to the film, it becomes a perfect product.
The times we live in, every animated movie is made by one of the three musketeers of animation, Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks. Very rarely we would get a movie not produced by these studios and many of them are anime (Anime is not short for Animation, I used to think the same few years ago. Just google search them. They are quite contrasting). Thus, the quality of animation and similarity of character designs across the three has reached its highest levels. Gone are the days where you could distinguish them without the credit roll (Disney had musicals, Pixar had high emotional quotient and Dreamworks had none of them).
Abominable is a story about a Himalayan Yeti (called Everest), who has escaped from the holding cells of an old evil rich guy’s science labs (a classic). Upon escape and trying to hide in a big city, he comes across a girl Yi. Thus, begins the adventure quest of Yi and her two cousins along with Everest to take him to his homelands – the Himalayas. Along the quest they have to save themselves from the evil guy and his determined zoologist. During the course of their adventure they also discover the magical powers of Yeti, thus making it a fun travel catalogue. The quest covers most part of China the Yangtzeriver, the Gobi desert, the Tang dynasty Buddha sculpture etc.
Abominable is a byproduct of a combined venture of Dreamworks and Oriental Studios. The pair had worked in the past on Kung Fu Panda 3 and Abominable could be there last venture together as Oriental has decided to part ways. Upon digging further into the two studios, Oriental’s Chinese origins explain high number of references to China during the course of the film. There are many references to other cult classics, like the King Kong scene where King Kong is stranded at the top of a tower with Naomi Watts, the giant blueberries from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, keeping the adults engaged with the callbacks. For music, there is Coldplay, need I say more? Rupert Gregson-William has done a brilliant job with most of the scores to suit the natural aspect of the film.
To be honest, when I walked into the theatre to watch a non-superhero animation film, it felt like stepping into the shoes of a 10 year old me. And the film lived upto the expectations of the ten year old me with all the silly jokes of people burping, not being able to hold their pee, stepping into shit (I laugh at that as an adult also) and many more. There were morals attached to the movie, like preserving the nature, love thy family, and if you are going to Himalayas, maybe don’t forget the Jackets.