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Quick Review: Strange World
Journey To A Place Where Nothing Is As It Appears
The following is my review for the film Strange World. A reminder, you can click this link to see how I score films when I review them.
A journey deep into an uncharted and treacherous land, where fantastical creatures await the legendary Clades - a family of explorers whose differences threaten to topple their latest, and by far most crucial, mission.
Having seen all sixty previous Disney Animation Studios films, I almost see their catalog like a franchise on to themselves. Not to mention that several of the animated movies the studio have released are among my favorite films of all-time. Last year they were able to have a major mainstream hit in Encanto and a modest financial hit with Raya And The Last Dragon. The former being among my personal top twenty-five from 2021.
Now we have their latest in Strange World which is very much in the same vein as a mid-tier entry in their catalog in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, a take on an exploration adventure - this time touching on family dynamics and environmentalism. Featuring voice work from Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu.
This film has a good chunk of pros. The animation style at times can be gorgeous to look at, especially with the aesthetics used in certain scenes in the prologue and epilogue. The film’s themes on generational trauma, fathers and sons, and working with the environment are well-intentioned. The movie’s characters are very diverse including LGBT representation that may not be the greatest we *could* see in these kind of family oriented movies, but might the the best we’ve seen yet from Disney - especially in the animation department.
Where the film is hurt though is its script. The story is pretty predictable and feels like its going through the motions. While I did chuckle a few times, not all the jokes hit; at times feeling as if the writing was going for the laziest path to humor more times than I would’ve preferred. While the creature and set designs are great, there does come a point in the movie where this grand, unexplored world starts to feel more limited. And in a continuation of a major issue I’ve been having with these Disney movies of late, there is no central villain which causes some tension to be taken out of the story when we’re not having the big action sequences.
Overall I think this is the kind of movies you can take kids to and they’d enjoy it for the most part and I think most adults would too. But I don’t think its one of the next big Disney classics, and I don’t think its going to be particularly memorable years down the line. This is the definition of a decent enough mid-tier Disney movie. If you’ve got kids or are a big Disney fanatic this world might be worth your time exploring; but if you’re more of a casual don’t expect this to be something you see alongside much more iconic titles in the Disney lexicon.