Sorry folks, I know its been a few weeks. There was nothing out one week and then on the week where I get two releases I was on vacation. I promise you there’s no video evidence of anything that happened on the vacation. A vampire has to keep her secrets after all. Now I haven’t had a chance yet to get to see Ad Astra, Rambo, or Hustlers, but may this weekend. We’ll see. So instead of any of the movies you’d likely expect from me I am giving you an animated movie for kids. I can’t ignore the fact the trailer has a violin added to Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your own Way. The trailer house reached out to AlloyTracks for it and it, plus the animation and the heart the movie seemed to promise sold me.
So with that in mind – what did your Vampire Princess and her Dark Court think of this one?
Was Abominable abominable?
The movie was written by Jill Culton who was an original writer on Monsters Inc back in 2001, and having worked in the animation department for Disney Pixar it’s clear she has turned on the house of Mouse as this is a Dreamworks production. Not only did Jill write this, but she directed as well with Co-director Todd Wilderman who worked on the sequel to Culton’s other movie Open Season back in 2008. Culton makes a choice to keep the story basic here and honestly I think it’s a good choice. You will get everything the trailer promises (except Fleetwood Mac) in the story and a level of sincerity that really only comes with this level of simplicity to the story. The script and its progress is truly sweet and well pure. My Dark Court and I debated another movie (Hustlers) after this, but we were just so engrossed in the emotion the movie brought that we didn’t want to ruin it. It’s THAT kind of film. One key thing I noticed is the co-production of the movie by Pearl Studio making this another Chinese-American co-financed movie in an ever growing market where China is almost as important as the US in box office dollars.
From a casting and character perspective it’s *very* important within the US audiences that the central characters are all Chinese. I have said it before and will continue to say it until someone drives a wooden stake through my heart, #RepresentationMatters. With Chloe Bennet (aka Chloe Wang) of Agents of Shield lending her voice to the main character Yi, Albert Tsai (Dr. Ken) as Peng, and Tenzing Norgay Trainor voicing Jin all of the main roles are by Asian American actors. Again this is important not just that the character is represented by the actors are also getting the work as well; which can be problematic in Hollywood unless you only want certain roles. There’s a reason Chloe Bennet goes by that name instead of Wang. Back on point though, all three deliver here giving excellent and nuanced voice work that the animation compliments.
On the topic of animation its beautiful. It doesn’t really break new ground, but it doesn’t have to. Each movie coming out doesn’t have to be bigger and better than the last piece of animation; what matters is how you use what was done before. They use it well from the movement and texture of Everest’s fur, to the light effects of the magic as it moves through the fur and air. Even little things like subtle camera motions you see in major live action productions are used to deliver additional impact to the work.
Yeah TL;DR already. The movie is simple so there’s not a lot to dissect here. That’s ok. This is as I mentioned before everything that was promised in the trailer. Its a heartwarming, sweet, basic kids adventure movie. It avoids 99% of the problems with kids studio productions with only two low brow jokes, the rest is focused on the overall characters and delivery of the premise. This is the fun adventure film that I wanted and needed and honestly is a good palette cleanser after *too serious* movies all summer. Yes Lion King counts as Too Serious, its friggin Hamlet.
Every now and again you need something just pure and this movie delivers on that front.
Should I watch it?
Yeah, its what I wanted it to be. If this is something you wanna take your kids to or just go on your own as an adult (or whatever I classify as) then yeah yeah you should.
Would you watch it again?
Without a doubt.
How about buying it?
This is so not your genre…
True, but in the next two months I will be seeing two other animated movies at a minimum with Addams Family and Frozen 2 so …oh well?
Fair. Anything else to share on this one?
So Tenzing Norgay Trainor is an important and cool casting for another reason. His grandfather (Tenzing Norgay Sherpa) was one of the first two men to summit the real Mount Everest in 1953. Sir Edmund Hillary was there too. And now for another more you know. Sherpa isn’t just a job or surname, its the name of of the people themselves. It’s an Nepalese ethnicity. They are also kinda superhuman as they are adapted to the high altitude climate. So I am not sure if the casting director knew he was related or not, but if they didn’t awesome coincidence. If they did, even more awesome for him (and his grandfather)