Fans may still be processing the emotional goodbye to Hiccup and Toothless in How To Train Your Dragon 3 earlier this year. Keep those tears flowing! Dreamworks’ upcoming release Abominable is not only a visually-impressive epic adventure through China, but a poignant story about reconnecting to family through the lens of a teen girl and a lost Yeti.
CinemaBlend was recently invited to the Dreamworks campus in Glendale, California to preview portions of the film, and it was completely emotionally effective – even without full context of what Abominable has to offer. A combination of chills and tears were had the roughly 20 minutes we witnessed. It really looks like something special. From what I learned when I sat down with writer and co-director Jill Culton, it’s no wonder why. Here’s what she said:
Jill Culton worked on Pixar’s first original projects (Toy Story 1 & 2 and A Bug’s Life )in various roles, but this is the first time she’s written and directed a feature. This movie is deeply personal to her and she made an intentional effort not to make it a “babysitter film.”
As Dreamworks showed us, Abominable will follow Yi, a hard-working teen jumping from multiple jobs while living in a big city in China and saving up to travel the world following her father’s death. She finds a Yeti on her rooftop, who was hiding there because he was being hunted. The two form an unlikely bond through their love of music. Yi plays the violin for the injured beast and he unexpectedly hums along.
As they go on the run, her longtime neighbors Jin and Peng end up joining in on the adventure to return Everest the Yeti to his home in the Himalayas, stopping along on breathtaking sites throughout China on their way. As they reach the third act of their adventure, I found myself incredibly emotionally attached to their journey, namely Yi’s.
The writer/director assured us that Abominable isn’t a “dead parent” movie; it’s about Yi reconnecting with her family. Between discovering Everest’s magical powers and building relationships with the other kids on her adventure, it has her witnessing an emotional catharsis to her grief. Jill Culton decided she could relate this to the audience through Yi’s violin playing. In her words:
Bring on the waterworks!! Abominable looks to have just about everything we want from an animated film, and a meaningful emotional core is really what separates the good ones from the greats such as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Coco and Moana.