A scene from the delightful animation. Picture: Dreamworks
A scene from the delightful animation. Picture: Dreamworks

'Abominable' is bucking Hollywood trends

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published Sep 27, 2019

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Fans will recognise Chloe Bennet as Daisy “Skye” Johnson/ Quake in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The actress-cum- singer, was in the film 5 Years Apart and popular TV series, Nashville.

Aside from starring roles, she has experience as a voice-over artist in "Tinker Bell" and the "Legend of the Never Beast", "Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors" and now "Abominable", where she voices Yi.

The animation follows teenager Yi, who encounters a young yeti on the roof of her flat’s building in Shanghai.

Joined by her equally adventurous friends, Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and Peng (Albert Tsai), they find themselves on an epic quest to unite the magical creature they name “Everest” with his family, who happen to be at the highest point on Earth. 

Of course, their journey becomes a gnarly mess when Yi and friends discover wealthy villain Burnish (Eddie Izzard) and zoologist Dr Zara (Sarah Paulson), want to get their hands on the yeti, for different reasons.

Given her Chinese lineage, Bennet says it was important to ensure the culture is represented well. She said: “It was everything. From the beginning of my journey through this industry and as an Asian-American young woman, you are told that you’re supposed to be this or that, and the narrative changes with each person that you’re around.

“And it’s really, really, important for me to see characters that are Asian and that we are represented both on and off-screen.

“But the heart of the movie is about people. What’s special about this film is that everyone can see themselves in an Asian character, because we are all people. It highlights the human experience so much more than anything else, and that’s what’s important.

“This brings a layer of texture that is unique and will change the way young kids view Chinese culture, but it’s also such a relatable story. You have Yi the dreamer, Peng and Jin, and everyone who has a different outlook in the story. That’s what makes this film dynamic.

“I don’t want to be defined by one thing, even if it’s a huge part of who I am. I don’t want to be a trend. Hollywood tends to make trends out of everything. What this movie does is not play into a trend, it just is. It happens to feature Chinese characters.”

Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Bennet had always yearned to experience life on a farm.

In the movie, she got to draw on her innate love for animals and nature.

“We had these three huge dogs that we had no room for. I loved animals and rescuing animals, and would go and look for cats in the alleyway. I had a pet squirrel hidden in my closet for two months.

“This film is actually a quiet film in some moments, it’s very still, and that comes from the relationship between a human and an animal. It’s a very magical thing to get to connect with something and to take care of it.

“This film sits in nature in a really beautiful way and for all the elements that are whimsical and magical, they’re all really rooted in nature,” added Bennett.

"Abominable" opens on the big screen Friday, September 27, and it is the perfect movie to keep the little ones engaged over the school holidays.

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