By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Belief in the Yeti is not Abominable. DreamWorks latest film is not only magical but also mystical. I haven’t had this thrill since Kung Fu Panda 3, as it interprets the legend of this cryptid to new wonders. Not only is the creature honoured according to local beliefs, but also, it’s just as human as us; they hid from humanity for a reason.
When Yi (Chloe Bennet) discovers a young Yeti hiding out on the rooftop of her apartment building, the relationship that develops is familiar. The film takes the best bits from How to Train Your Dragon trilogy and offers something slightly new. Although the marketing for this film is very much like other DreamWorks films concerning a human and beast, the relationships forged are always key. Here, two worlds look like they will collide and it would come at a cost.
Peng (Albert Tsai) is the comic relief. He’s the Fishlegs of the group. Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) is more or less an Astrid-type; confident and secure. Or, in Kung Fu Panda a blend of Master Crane and Monkey. When they discover she’s helping a yeti whom they call Everest stay safe, the adventure they embark on becomes a cross country trip across China. The journey is a picture postcard delight, highlighting the beauty of the country and teasing as some of the lesser known cultural beliefs.
The enemy is an industrialist Burnish (Eddie Izzard). The zoologist Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) is there for a reason, but I had to wonder who is worse. Their interest is to show to the world real proof that Yetis exist. However, there’s something more sinister going on when they discover the creature has magical abilities. Just what he can do is far more than Toothless (to whom his mannerisms borrow from) can ever do. DreamWorks has made flying on air an art. I’ll never tire of viewing these moments and knowing what it metaphorically means.
Peng needs to open her heart. Although it closed years ago when she lost her dad, trying to keep busy is not one way to deal. Try as both her mother and nǎinai did to be there for her, she can’t handle it alone. The narrative between her and Everest comes full circle when both are reunited back to their respective worlds.
4½ Stars out of 5