Strange World

With the release of its latest animated film, Disney has gone ahead and given the Internet Trolls another reason to bitch about “wokeness.” I can hear them in my head already with their special brand of hatred, which is a real shame, because Strange World is a wonderfully beautiful movie, both visually and story-wise. And now the Trolls will never be able to appreciate Strange World in the proper way.

All because of a certain relationship, one that is only hinted at, one that was in the flirting stage, between two male characters. A relationship that is not what the film is about. All it does is inform you about the character of Ethan, but I know there are plenty of people who can not get past their own hatred.

As I said, Strange World is a magical ride with amazing animation, remarkably creative creature designs and some excellent voice over work.

In fact, I spent much of the movie trying to determine the actor voicing the main protagonist, Searcher Clade. I knew the voice sounded very familiar, but I was having difficulty in placing whose voice it was. Finally I settled on it being Jake Gyllenhaal, and it turned out that I was right. Gyllenhaal did a really good job providing the voice for Searcher.

Strange World reminded me of an old pulp series where the adventurer went exploring and found action, but ended up in some kind of science fiction plot. An Indiana Jones, Doc Savage, John Carter style of character. This was a welcome tone with some brand new pulp heroes to enjoy.

However, there was more than just the pulpy goodness. There was also a double generation of daddy issues as we wound up with three generation of Clade men, all with distinctly differing life choices, but all with the same general struggle. It handled the father’s expectations for his son and his desire to see him follow in his footsteps, and the rejection of that desire by the son. We see this go full circle through the backdrop of the adventure story.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, Strange World introduced “a legendary family of explorers, the Clades, as they attempt to navigate an uncharted, treacherous land alongside a motley crew that includes a mischievous blob, a three-legged dog and a slew of ravenous creatures.”

The legendary explorer, Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid) and his son Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal) were in search of a path around the mountain that surrounded their village, Avalonia. Searcher rebelled against his father when he found a powerful new plant and wanted to take it back to Avalonia. Jaeger refused to return without finding the path through the mountains and wound up disappearing for 25 years.

Meanwhile, Searcher grew up a farmer raising that plant, called Pando. He had his own family, including his son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White) and his pilot wife Meridian (Gabrielle Union). When something started happening to the Pando, Searcher was recruited to go on a mission to try and save the energy-creating plant. On the trip, they find themselves in a strange, bizarre world filled with apparently dangerous creatures.

The film is beautiful to look at. The visuals were so full of color that gave this new world a feel of uniqueness. The computer animated film was amazing and will certainly engage the younger viewers. Parents should enjoy the smorgasbord of vibrancy on display in Strange World.

I also enjoyed the score to the film. Henry Jackman scored the film and provided so many perfect beats and musical touches that stood out to me and, many times, I do not notice the score. This one worked very well witht he style of film they were going for.

I know there will be snarkiness tossed at this film, much like the beautiful Pixar film, Turning Red, had to deal with earlier this year. It’s too bad that the Trolls can affect the perception of a movie. Don’t listen to them. Go and enjoy the film for its own merits. It is worthwhile.

4.4 stars

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s