A grief-stricken teenager repairs fragments of her broken heart by reuniting a mystical mountain creature with its parents in writer-director Jill Culton’s sweet but familiar computer-animated yarn.

Laser-targeted at the lucrative Chinese film market, Abominable glides in the slipstream of DreamWorks Animations’ Oscar-nominated How To Train Your Dragon series, interchanging a

fire-breathing behemoth

with a musical snow-bound


Visuals are colourful and richly detailed down to the realistic movement of the central character’s voluminous white fur as he gambols excitedly through dense, swirling clouds of flower petals.

There is a cuteness to the creature design – he’s blessed with an inquisitive, child-like nature and large, saucer-shaped blue eyes – to minimise the chance of little ones recoiling in fear when the Yeti unleashes a full-blooded roar.

Culton’s script takes a simple, uncluttered approach to storytelling that should retain the interest of young audiences but risks losing teenagers and parents to the occasional stifled yawn.

On close inspection, the protracted quest to Mount Everest, which provides the narrative framework for life lessons about friendship and family, is a nonsense.

Early in the film, we discover that the Yeti thrums with magical energy that radiates into the natural world.

The journey from Shanghai to the highest peak on earth could be accomplished in a few trouble-free minutes by invoking this Himalayan hocus pocus rather than stringing out the odyssey for 97 minutes.

Resourceful teenager Yi (voiced by Chloe Bennet) intends to honour the memory of her recently deceased father by visiting his favourite locations around China including the giant Buddha statue carved into Lingyun Mountain in Sichuan province.

The girl secretly raises money for her expedition by performing odd jobs around Shanghai when she should be grieving alongside her concerned mother (Michelle Wong) and grandmother Nai Nai (Tsai Chin).

During a night-time visit to the roof of the family’s apartment block to play her father’s cherished violin, Yi stumbles upon an injured Yeti, which has escaped from the clutches of deranged explorer Burnish (Eddie Izzard) and British zoologist Dr Zara (Sarah Paulson).

A tender bond forms between the girl and the stricken creature, whom she christens Everest.

Yi pledges to return her new friend to his snow-laden home in the Himalayas.

Two young neighbours, vain dreamboat Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor) and basketball-fixated Peng (Albert Tsai), become Yi’s accomplices as she and Everest travel more than 3000km west by land, sea and airborne giant dandelion seed head.

Abominable never threatens to live down to its title, with likeable characters, polished animation and heartstring-tugging orchestrations courtesy of British composer Rupert Gregson-Williams.

Two emotional crescendos are borrowed from other sources: Coldplay’s back catalogue (a lush, swooning arrangement of the ballad Fix You) and the aerial acrobatics of Viking boy Hiccup and his winged companion Toothless.

Secondhand inspiration for almost first-class family-oriented entertainment.