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Movie Review: Abominable

Abominable

Abominable is a movie we’ve seen dozens of times before, so even though it runs on rails it isn’t altogether bad. The one thing that switches it up even a little bit is its Chinese setting. In the dozen of other iterations of this film, this would have always been set in America. Likely the most interesting thing about Abominable is what it says about the future of Sino-American relations and global culture as even American animation studios with American creative teams try to go after the Chinese market more explicitly.

But otherwise, this is just an animated E.T. with a Yeti.

Our main story revolves around Yi, a teenage girl played by Chloe Bennet (Marvel’s Agents of Shield), herself a Chinese-American, who finds this runaway creature, befriends it and decides she needs to take it back to Mount Everest where it came from. This trip ends up mirroring a planned trip that she and her recently deceased father had always meant to go on. The trip ends up healing her and her grief as they discover more and more of the yeti, who she names Everest, and his magical powers.

But also this seems like a tourist travel video promoting the beautiful and varied landscapes of China. If this movie had been set in America, they would have stopped at the iconic places we all would think of– Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, etc. They do the same with the Gobi Desert and the Yangtze River as it seems Everest’s most powerful magic is to completely distort space and time so that each of these things are within walking distance of one another. But hey, it’s a kids movie.

The animation is crisp and beautiful. It’s everything we expect DreamWorks to do. Everest’s playful design is quite reminiscent of another Dreamworks Animation main creature– Toothless from the How to Train Your Dragon films. Kids will absolutely love him.

It’s also worth noting that writer and director Jill Culton is a veteran of Pixar who worked on not only the Monsters, Inc. films but also several of the Toy Storys. Everest is essentially Sully mixed with Toothless, and that’s not a bad combination. But as I said, we’ve seen this movie before. And frankly, it’s been done better. Monsters, Inc IS this movie, except the human Boo is the magical monster. But if you’re going to steal, then stealing from that and ET isn’t a bad place to start.

One of the most interesting choices of the film is that its antagonists, played by Eddie Izzard and Sarah Paulson read as English and American. That can’t be accidental, as it’s their greed, pride, etc that leads them to want to capture the yeti for their own nefarious purposes. It’s hard not to read something into that, although perhaps it’s completely earned.

Or perhaps we shouldn’t read anything more into it oh, the same way we don’t particularly read Maleficent or Cruella Deville as being “English” in an American context. Maybe it’s just a cute movie about a teenage girl and her friends who go on a magical adventure with a yeti.

Regardless, while you can do far better then this by-the-numbers animated film, you can also do much worse. If your kids drag you to Abominable, you won’t hate it, and you might even enjoy aspects of it. It’s not Pixar or How to Train Your Dragon, but it’s trying to be. And that’s not so terrible.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

SDCC 2019: Marvel Returns with Comics, Games, Television, and Spider-Man!

Marvel Comics

Marvel Entertainment returns to San Diego to join in on the celebration for San Deigo Comic-Con International’s 50th anniversary, with all-star panels from Marvel Comics, Marvel TelevisionMarvel Games, Marvel Animation, and Marvel New Media.

This year will also mark a first-ever Hall H presentation for Marvel Television’s flagship series, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that will be guaranteed epic. With exclusive announcements, special video presentations, star-studded signings, and unforgettable fan experiences at the Marvel booth, this Comic-Con is one not-to-be-missed – all starting Wednesday, July 17 through Sunday, July 21.

Check out the schedule of Marvel Entertainment’s panels and featured Television signing below. A full schedule of Marvel Entertainment booth activities, including additional signings and events coming soon.

MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT PANELS SCHEDULE:

THURSDAY, JULY 18th

Marvel Games Panel
1:30 PM, Hall H

Get an inside look at the latest and greatest from Marvel Games! Attendees will see exciting new content from MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 3: The Black Order, Marvel’s Iron Man VR, and Marvel’s Avengers, with many unannounced surprises and panel exclusives. Host Greg Miller (loudmouth at KindaFunny.com) will be joined by Bill Rosemann (VP & Creative Director, Marvel Games) and other special guests from titles throughout the Marvel Games family!

Marvel Television: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
3:30 – 4:30 PM, Hall H

The cast and producers of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return to San Diego Comic-Con in epic fashion as they take over Hall H for the first time ever! Be the first to hear the scoop about the show-stopping conclusion for season six and what awaits in season seven of Marvel’s flagship television show. With your favorite stars in attendance, including Clark GreggMing-Na WenChloe BennetElizabeth HenstridgeIain De CaesteckerHenry SimmonsNatalia Cordova-Buckley, and Jeff Ward, along with executive producers Maurissa TancharoenJed WhedonJeff Bell, and Jeph Loeb, this is a must-see panel to celebrate seven seasons with the world’s greatest fans! This action-packed series from Marvel Television and ABC Studios airs Fridays at 8/7c on ABC.

*Please note: talent is subject to change.

FRIDAY, JULY 19th

Marvel Comics #1000 Revealed: A This Week in Marvel Special Event
12:30 – 1:30 PM, Room 5AB

Marvel’s flagship podcast comes to Comic-Con loaded with secrets, giveaways, reveals, news, guests, and more! And, if you think you’ve got the stuff and want some swag, you can challenge the Marvel crew in a special House of Ideas Throwdown! Join host Ryan Penagos (aka Agent M, VP & Creative Exec, Marvel) along with CB Cebulski (Marvel Comics Editor in Chief) and an array of Marvel creators as they dig into Marvel Comics #1,000, one of the biggest Marvel Comics projects ever assembled, and celebrate Marvel’s 80th Anniversary!

MARVEL COMICS: Spider-Man
1:30 – 2:30 PM, Room 5AB

Get caught in Spider-Man’s tangled web along with Executive Editor Nick Lowe, Assistant Editor Kathleen Wisneski, as well as writers Nick Spencer (Amazing Spider-Man),  Seanan McGuire (Ghost-Spider), and Frank Tieri (Absolute Carnage vs. DeadpoolAbsolute Carnage: Lethal Protectors) to find out what’s on the horizon for all of your wall-crawling favorites! Spider-Man’s mysterious new foe sets his plan into motion! Ghost-Spider joins the Marvel Universe! And New York experiences Absolute Carnage!  PLUS – Don’t miss an exclusive giveaway variant comic of SPIDER-MAN: CITY AT WAR #5!  The stunning rendering by Skan depicts an homage to the classic AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 cover by Steve Ditko!

Marvel Animation Celebrates Marvel’s 80th Anniversary
3:30 – 4:30 PM, Room 6A

Join Cort Lane (SVP, Animation and Family Entertainment), Kalia Ramirez (Director, Family Entertainment – Development & Partnerships),  writers Mark Hoffmeier (Spider-Man: The Animated Series) and Marty Isenberg (X-Men: The Animated Series), and fan-favorite voice actors Josh Keaton (Spectacular Spider-Man, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble) and Jennifer Hale (Wolverine & the X-Men, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy) as they take a journey through highlights of over five decades of Marvel cartoons. Including behind-the-scenes dish on the making of classic shows, a run-down of all ten of Spider-Man’s series, and a 10th anniversary retrospective of Marvel’s Animation division, this is a panel you don’t want to miss! Plus a special in-memoriam look at Stan Lee’s greatest animation moments.

SATURDAY, JULY 20th

Women of Marvel: 10 Years and 200 Episodes
10:00 – 11:30 AM, Room 5AB

Celebrate ten years of Women of Marvel panels and 200 podcast episodes! Join hosts Sana Amanat (VP of Content & Character Development, Marvel) and Judy Stephens (Producer, Marvel) and special guests to talk 80 years of Marvel history, what it’s like working as a woman in comics, and the future of the industry.

MARVEL COMICS: Next Big Thing
1:45 – 2:45 PM, Room 6A

Legendary writer Jonathan Hickman is joined by Editor in Chief C.B. Cebulski and other Mighty Marvel Guests to bring you all the latest and greatest news straight from the House of Ideas! Learn what comes next for the X-Men after the senses-shattering revelations of the House of X and Powers of X!! Plus, stick around for a few things we can’t even hint at yet!

MARVEL COMICS: Marvel Fanfare with C.B. Cebulski
3:00 – 4:00 PM, Room 6A

This is your chance to meet the head of editorial at Marvel! In an exclusive and intimate panel experience, Editor in Chief C.B. Cebulski, along with superstar talents including Rob Liefeld and Skottie Young,will talk about anything and everything involved with Marvel Comics. What secrets are held in the House of X?  Can Venom prove himself a true hero in Absolute Carnage? When is Dazzler’s next album coming out? What were C.B., Rob and Skottie’s favorite Marvel characters as kids, and how do they feel about those characters now?  Ask these questions and more in the Q&A!  PLUS – Don’t miss an exclusive giveaway variant of SILVER SURFER BLACK #2, Giuseppe Camuncoli’s take on Carnage soaring the spaceways on Silver Surfer’s board!  Cover image here.

SUNDAY, JULY 21st

Making Comics the Marvel Way
1:15 AM – 12:15 PM, Room 5AB

A slew of Mighty Marvel guests take you behind-the-scenes and show you how a Marvel comic book is made! Learn about every aspect of production including writing, penciling, inking, coloring, editing, and more – with creators on hand to offer personal insights and anecdotes. If you’re interested in the ins-and-outs of the comic book industry, this is the one panel you can’t miss!

MARVEL TELEVISION AUTOGRAPH SIGNING SCHEDULE:

Please note this signing is a ticketed event and passes will be available on a first-come, first-served lottery basis beginning when the floor opens on Friday, July 19 at the Marvel Booth (#2329).

FRIDAY, JULY 19th

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Signing Event
3:30 PM at the Marvel Booth (#2329)

Around the Tubes

Black_Panther_1_CoverIt’s new comic book day! What’s everyone excited for? What are you reading first? Sound off in the comments below!

While you await the shops to open up, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Around the Tubes

Vice – Ta-Nehisi Coates on ‘Black Panther’ and Creating a Comic That Reflects the Black Experience – A good read before the comic is out today.

The Daily Beast – Agents of SHIELD’s Chloe Bennet: Why I Stopped Using My Chinese Last Name – Another very good read.

NJ.com – Newark firefighter indicted for allegedly selling pirated DVDs from comic shop – Well ok then.

CBR – The Mission: The Death and Rebirth of DC Comics – Always a great read.

The Hollywood Reporter – Robert Kirkman Seeks to Stop a “Hijack” of ‘The Walking Dead’ – Should be interesting to watch.

Gizmodo – Sphero’s BB-8 Can Now Watch and React to The Force Awakens Along With You – Want to do this so bad!

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

The Beat – Big Kids

Comics Alliance – Space Battle Lunchtime #1

CBR – Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1

Newsarama – Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1