Brow Beat

How to Tell Abominable From Other Recent “Human Befriends a Yeti and/or Sasquatch” Movies

Triptych of Bigfoots in Smallfoot, Abominable, and Missing Link.
Smallfoot, Abominable, Missing Link.
Warner Bros., DreamWorks, Annapurna Pictures

What’s the deal with this new animated movie, Abominable?

It’s about a teenage girl named Yi (Chloe Bennet) who befriends a Yeti and must escort him home to his family before he can be captured by a greedy businessman. The movie is a collaboration between Chinese production company Pearl Studio and DreamWorks; the latter’s influence is especially obvious, because Abominable has some striking thematic and aesthetic similarities to How to Train Your Dragon.

Is it any good?

Reviews have mostly been positive, with critics noting that the movie is nothing extraordinary but still pleasant and nice to look at. It made a respectable $21 million at the box office its opening weekend.

To be clear, it’s not a remake of the 2006 monster movie Abominable?

No. This a family-friendly animated movie. No one’s face gets bitten off.

Are you sure this movie didn’t already come out, like, a year ago? It sounds very familiar.

You might be thinking of a different movie in the “human befriends a Yeti and/or Sasquatch” genre, a surprisingly popular one for animation over the past couple of years. For instance, there’s Smallfoot, about a Yeti and a human who each discover that the other is real for the first time. It’s different from Abominable in that the Yetis can talk—Channing Tatum, Zendaya, Gina Rodriguez, and LeBron James are among the voice cast—and that the story is told from their perspective too, not just the humans’. It’s also a musical: Common raps about genocide and isolationism, while James Corden sings a parody of “Under Pressure.”

Wait, back up. What was that last thing you just said?

You know, “Under Pressure”? Mmm num ba de … dum bum ba be … doo buh dum ba beh beh …

No, not that part. About the genocide.

Oh, right. In the movie, Common voices Stonekeeper, the Yeti chief who keeps the rest of the village safe by lying to them about what’s beyond their home in the mountains. He explains that the Yetis initially retreated because humans (Smallfoots? Smallfeet?) nearly drove them to extinction. Co-director and co-writer Karey Kirkpatrick told Screen Rant that the movie was influenced by what was happening in the news, specifically Brexit and the 2016 presidential election.

Heavy stuff. On a completely unrelated note, what is the name of Zendaya’s character?

Zendaya is Meechee.

I don’t think Smallfoot is the movie I was thinking of. Is there maybe a stop-motion movie about a human befriending a Yeti?

There’s Missing Link, which came out earlier this year from Laika, the studio behind Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings. Technically, though, it’s about a Sasquatch and a human becoming friends, not a Yeti.

What’s the difference between a Yeti and a Sasquatch?

Geography, mostly. They’re both apelike creatures, but Yetis are specific to the Himalayas, while Sasquatches are associated with the Pacific Northwest. In fact, Missing Link is about a lonely Sasquatch (Zach Galifianakis) who seeks help from an English explorer (Hugh Jackman) so that he can go meet his Yeti relatives in Asia. As in Smallfoot, those Yetis aren’t such big fans of humans.

The “human befriends a Yeti and/or Sasquatch” trope seems pretty played out in animation. Aren’t there any twists on the formula?

Could I interest you in The Son of Bigfoot, a movie where a human boy finds out that his long-lost father is a woodland ape?

How is that possible?

Well, when a mommy and a Bigfoot love each other very much …

Ew.

In fairness, when they got together, he wasn’t a full-blown Bigfoot, just a passably human guy whose hair grew disturbingly fast. (The antagonist of the movie is a corporation that wants to harness his incredible hair-growing powers.) In this universe, you’re not born a Bigfoot, but you can have a genetic mutation that kicks in later in life that makes you hairy, gives you big feet and lets you communicate with animals. Still, that doesn’t make this …

A human woman puts her hand on the chest of a man with the body of an ape but the face of a person.
StudioCanal

… any less weird. Unless, of course, you’re into that kind of thing.