Animated tale occasionally breaks through monotony with flashes of greatness

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There's a gorgeous scene in the animated adventure "Abominable" where a young girl, joined by her fluffy Yeti pal, climbs midway up China's Leshan Giant Buddha statue and plays a lovely little tune on her violin as flowers blossom around them.

It's the most effective and most memorable sequence in a movie that has rich potential that it too often squanders in favor of routine cartoon antics. It's the story of a girl and her creature — it happens to be a Yeti, it could just as easily be, say, an extraterrestrial — and aside from a few particulars, you could plot it out on a graph.  

Yi (voice of Chloe Bennet) is an independent spirit living with her mother and grandmother in Shanghai. She collects money by doing odd jobs — walking dogs, taking out the trash — to travel around China, a trip she was supposed to take with her father before his untimely death.

Her plans are interrupted when she discovers a Yeti living on the roof of her apartment building, and she decides to help the friendly creature find his way home back to Mount Everest. 

The Yeti, whom Yi and her pals name Everest, has magical powers; when he focuses his energy he's able to speak to nature. This manifests itself in a number of visually appealing ways; at one point, he turns a hill of yellow flowers into a wave he's able to ride like the surf.

Tracked by a group of baddies — including Burnish (Eddie Izzard), a wealthy industry titan who wants to mount Everest's head like a trophy — "Abominable" hits many familiar notes. Too many, in fact. But when it plays its own song, it's quite an enchanting melody.

'Abominable'

GRADE: B-

Rated PG: for some action and mild rude humor

Running time: 100 minutes

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

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