Abominable is a 2019 computer-animated adventure film produced by DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio. It was written and directed by Jill Culton and co-directed by Todd Wilderman, and stars the voices of Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson, Tsai Chin, and Michelle Wong. The film follows a teenage girl named Yi, who encounters a young Yeti on the roof of her apartment building in Shanghai, names him Everest and embarks on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family at the highest point on Earth along with her mischievous friends Jin and Peng, but the trio of friends will have to stay one-step ahead of Burnish, a wealthy man intent on capturing a Yeti, and zoologist Dr. Zara to help Everest get home.
The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019, and was released by Universal Pictures in the United States on September 27, 2019 while Pearl Studio distributed the film in China. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and has grossed over $176 million worldwide. In Southeast Asia, Abominable has garnered controversy for a scene involving a map of the region with the Nine-Dash Line, a contested demarcation line used by China to lay claim over a portion of the South China Sea. Due to this, the film has been banned in several countries involved in territorial disputes with China over the South China Sea—namely, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
When teenage Yi (Chloe Bennet, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) encounters a young Yeti on the roof of her apartment building, she and her friends, Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Peng (Albert Tsai), name him “Everest” and embark on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family at the highest point on Earth.
But the trio of friends will have to stay one-step ahead of Burnish (Eddie Izzard), a wealthy man intent on capturing a Yeti, and zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) to help Everest get home.
In a scientific facility in a city in China, the yeti makes an escape. Dr. Zara sounds the alarm and a mass search begins. When the Yeti reaches the streets and gets hits by a car and retreats into an alley.
In the morning Yi avoids her mother and grandmother and does a series of odd jobs and passes by neighbor Jin, who is socializing with a group of girls and friends. As she heads back into her apartment Jin's younger cousin, Peng, tries to get either Yi or Jin to join him in playing basketball. Yi tries sneaking past her mother and grandmother who lament Yi's asociability since her father's death. When her mother asks Yi to play the violin after dinner, Yi blurts out a lie about selling it.
Yi reaches her rooftop hideaway and plays the violin looking over the city after looking over her funds and plans of traveling across Chine that her father had planned for the family. A helicopter still searching for the Yeti blows her off her feet which she discovers sleeping in a corner. Rashly she decides to hide the Yeti, and come morning she uses some of her money for medical supplies when she realizes he's hurt. After gaining the yeti's trust and it indicates familiarity with a billboard of Mount Everest, Yi realizes that he is the supposed mythical creature. Yi having played her violin to sooth the yeti who had hummed along with her and grown a flower from a pot, though Yi remained oblivious at the time.
Meanwhile, Burnish tries to put the pressure on Dr. Zara and his head of security to find the yeti as soon as possible in time for a scientific conference.
Back at Yi's apartment, her grandmother Nai Nai and Peng notice that their air conditioning unit is being stolen and pulled up to the roof. Yi who reaches it first tries to get the yeti to drop it, and as she's doing so Jin and Peng reach the roof and misunderstand the situation into thinking a monster was trying to eat Yi. Jin immediately calls the police, and as he does so Zara and the security pick up the call on a police scanner.
When Burnish's group comes, the yeti panics and kidnaps Yi. Jin and Peng immediately make to follow on the ground. Eventually, the yeti and Yi reach the docks and she gets him to get on a barge. That's when Jin and Peng catch up, but Yi, after a moment of hesitation jumps after the yeti. Peng jumps after them, and after a moment of frustration, Jin does the same.
On the barge, Jin calls his mother in the morning and tells her that he, Peng, and Yi are visiting his university of choice in Beijing. The gang hideaway in a shipping crate of soda which is loaded onto a truck and falls off eventually while it's traveling. Having eaten nothing since the previous day, the yeti, now named Everest by Peng, hums a song which grows uncontrollably blueberries in the area around them. The berries, however, bloat disproportionately and pop out and explode, sending the quartet running.
When they're finally at rest, Jin's plans are to return to the docks. However, Yi points out traveling in the woods in the dark is a bad idea, so Jin grudgingly follows Yi's example of settling down for the night. Yi also realizes that Everest is a child, despite how large he seems in comparison to them. In the morning, after watching Yi play on her violin for Everest, Jin agrees to go with them to the Xi River, one of the landmarks that will lead to the Himalaya mountains.
Not far behind, Burnish's group is gathering intel while Burnish himself rediscovers some of the wonders of nature and exploration.
In the Huangshan mountains, the gang takes a break blowing dandelions when they're corned by Burnish's group. Everest hums and the dandelions become huge enough to carry their weight, but Jin is left behind. With no other choice, and convinced well enough that Zara and Burnish won't really harm them, he tells them of the town they're planning on meeting at. However, while Burnish is genuine enough, Jin overhears Zara is willing to kill the Yeti and dispose of the children. Jin makes his escape by himself. Simultaneously, Yi, Peng, and Everest also make their way to their meeting point.
In the village, they make a narrow escape when Jin saves them on a motorboat he traded his beloved cell phone for. At a sharp corner on the river, the boat keeps going across the land when Everest hums for the plants to part ways for them like a river. Zara and security don't make it, so the quartet escape. Unfortunately, overzealous Peng and Everest cause the boat to crash. While none of them are harmed, Yi's violin is broken into pieces.
Shocked, Yi runs off and Jin follows her. He comforts her and Yi admits to how she's kept busy to avoid grieving and reaching out to her family. The two, who had a somewhat rocky relationship despite their affection for each other, make up. When the two return to Everest and Peng, Everest who's abilities are about nature manipulation, had healed Yi's wooden violin back to perfection.
The group continues their travels and when they reach the awe-inspiring buddha statue, Yi realizes that all the places they've traveled are to those postcard images her father left behind for her. It turns out the path they've been taking has been deliberate on Everest's part. Moved, Yi pulls out her violin and plays a song, unknowingly calling forth magic rain clouds whose every drop of water causes flowers to bloom where they fell. The statues and their surrounds become covered in beautiful white flowers.
At a bridge that would reach the Himalayas, the gang is surrounded by Burnish's men. Everest climbs to the top of one of the bridge's towers and calls form a lightning storm. Burnish, breathless and amazed, flashes back to the first time he saw a yeti. He recalls the fear and then the realization he had when he saw the yeti was protecting its children. Burnish understands that Everest is only trying to protect the other children and makes to call off his guards.
Zara signals the head of security to knock Burnish out and takes control of the operation. Yi tries to stop her from putting Everest down with tranquilizers, and in their struggle, Zara shoves her off the bridge. Jin, Peng, and Everest are then caged and taken.
As Burnish's caravan starts making their way back down the mountains, Yi, who had managed to hang onto a rope from the bridge, makes her way back up. Using her magic violin she calls forth an avalanche that stops the cars in its path. Everest wakes and makes to escape. Angrily, Zara turns the car she's in around and tries to run him over. Instead, she and the head security guard end up falling off the road cliff. Burnish, who was also safe, promises to take Yi, Jin, and Peng back home, but first Yi tells him they have to finish taking Everest back to his.
Everest calls forth wind clouds in the shape of fish, and the group rides them to the top of Mount Everest. The three humans wish their yeti friend goodbye, and Everest is reunited with his family.
Back home in their city, Yi subtly reconciles with her mother and grandmother by agreeing to have dinner together. Jin and Peng also join them and they share a package sent to them by Burnish which contains mountaineering equipment with a note telling them it's for their next adventure.
- Joseph Izzo as Everest
- Chloe Bennet as Yi
- Tenzing Norgay Trainor as Jin
- Albert Tsai as Peng
- Tsai Chan as Nai Nai
- Eddie Izzard as Burnish
- Sarah Paulson as Dr. Zara
- Michelle Wong as Yi's Mom
- Rich Dietl as Goon Leader
Abominable was in development at DreamWorks Animation since 2010. For some time, Jill Culton was writing and directing the film, originally titled Everest, which was about a little girl and a Yeti, but by 2016, she had left the project. She was then replaced by Tim Johnson and Todd Wilderman. In December 2016, DreamWorks announced that the film would be released on September 27, 2019, and that it would be co-produced by Oriental DreamWorks (now Pearl Studio), marking their second collaboration after Kung Fu Panda 3. On February 2, 2018, it was announced that Culton had returned as the director, replacing Johnson.
On March 20, 2018, it was announced that Chloe Bennet has been cast in the lead role as Yi. On May 18, 2018, DreamWorks and Pearl Studio have announced that the film has been retitled from Everest to Abominable, and Albert Tsai, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, and Tsai Chin were cast the following month.
- This is the first DreamWorks Animation film to be released in September, followed by Spooky Jack.
- The film was first titled Everest but in May 2018 it had been re-titled Abominable, likely due to the fact that Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Animation's current distributor and parent company since 2016, had made an unrelated film with the same title in 2015.
- This is the second U.S.-China animated original production, the first for a theatrical release, in almost fifteen years since the direct-to-video feature In Search of SANTA.
- The film was released roughly a year after Warner animations Smallfoot and five months after Laika Studios' Missing Link both of which are also animated films about Bigfoot.
- The film was banned in Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines as a brief scene depicted China's Nine-Dash-Line, which shows China's claim over the South China Sea. These three countries have maritime disputes with China over the South China Sea.
- This marks the last time the 1967 MPAA logo would appear in the end credits for a DreamWorks Animation film or a Universal Pictures animated film.
- This is the second DreamWorks film to have a character sing "Whoomp! (There It Is)", the first being Shark Tale.
- this is the fifth DreamWorks animated film to be an international co-production after Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit: the Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Flushed Away, (all with British animation studio, Aardman), and Kung Fu Panda 3 (which was also with Pearl then called, Oriental DreamWorks).
- In the trailer, the song Go Your Own Way was played and Yi played it in her violin.