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Strange World

February 14, 2023
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I blame Disney for not marketing this one enough because it was wrongfully done dirty at the theater, and for no good reason, too!

Set in a far-off land called Avalonia, Strange World follows the Clade Family as they embark on a journey to figure out why the miracle energy source powering their land — the green and glowing plant called Pando — isn’t working as well as it used to. Joining an expedition that intends to dive deep into the heart of Avalonia to find answers before things get any worse on the surface, Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal), his wife Meridian (Gabrielle Union), and his son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White), along with a few others specialized in this kind of mission, find themselves in a strange world they never knew existed right below their feet — one that becomes more and more hostile the further they travel. Meeting up with someone Searcher long thought lost forever, a sentient blob creature named Splat, and more than a few kinds of dangerous and exotic threats never encountered before, the Clade clan have their work cut out for them as they try to traverse a world that’s far more than it seems, and in far deeper trouble than they can imagine.

I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for these kinds of adventure movies, especially since this one feels like the final part of a trilogy made up of two other criminally underrated Disney Animation films in Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet. And although I can’t say it’s as good as I had hoped it’d be, Strange World is a visually stunning, perfectly entertaining, and ultimately satisfying entry in Disney Animation’s long and varied contributions to Hollywood. It’s just a shame how half-assed marketing and idiotic concerns over an open LGBTQ+ teenager being a main character led to this one having a disappointing box office haul because, in all honesty, it really wasn’t half bad!

Full of engaging world-building, light themes of family and fatherhood, and just a dash of social commentary concerning energy politics once the script finally reveals what’s ailing Avalonia (what a twist!), Strange World falters when trying to elevate its familiar narrative beats in ways that make it stand out as something truly unique. Sure, the animation and art design are both entirely engrossing and unique to this film, but a great sense of style and world-building can only go so far when wrapped in a story that’s been seen and done before (and done better) by other Disney movies released decades ago.

So while I definitely think this movie’s ultimate success and exposure to audiences suffered from lack of studio hype and some truly stupid opinions stemming from people that took issue with the loving relationships depicted on screen, Strange World is overall a better-than-average film that, in my opinion, will stay underrated for some time to come. I doubt we’ll get a sequel anytime soon, so be sure to check this one out on Disney+ since I’m sure most of you skipped it in theaters LOL

I blame Disney for not marketing this one enough because it was wrongfully done dirty at the theater, and for no good reason, too! Set in a far-off land called Avalonia, Strange World follows the Clade Family as they embark on a journey to figure out why the miracle energy source powering their land — the green and glowing plant called Pando — isn’t working as well as it used to. Joining an expedition that intends to dive deep into the heart of Avalonia to find answers before things get any worse on the surface, Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal), his wife Meridian (Gabrielle Union), and his son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White), along with a few others specialized in this kind of mission, find themselves in a strange world they never knew existed right below their feet — one that becomes more and more hostile the further they travel. Meeting up with someone Searcher long thought lost forever, a sentient blob creature named Splat, and more than a few kinds of dangerous and exotic threats never encountered before, the Clade clan have their work cut out for them as they try to traverse a world that’s far more than it seems, and in far deeper trouble than they can imagine. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for these kinds of adventure movies, especially since this one feels like the final part of a trilogy made up of two other criminally underrated Disney Animation films in Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet. And although I can’t say it’s as good as I had hoped it’d be, Strange World is a visually stunning, perfectly entertaining, and ultimately satisfying entry in Disney Animation’s long and varied contributions to Hollywood. It’s just a shame how half-assed marketing and idiotic concerns over an open LGBTQ+ teenager being a main character led to this one having a disappointing box office haul because, in all honesty, it really wasn’t half bad! Full of engaging world-building, light themes of family and fatherhood, and just a dash of social commentary concerning energy politics once the script finally reveals what’s ailing Avalonia (what a twist!), Strange World falters when trying to elevate its familiar narrative beats in ways that make it stand out as something truly unique. Sure, the animation and art design are both entirely engrossing and unique to this film, but a great sense of style and world-building can only go so far when wrapped in a story that’s been seen and done before (and done better) by other Disney movies released decades ago. So while I definitely think this movie’s ultimate success and exposure to audiences suffered from lack of studio hype and some truly stupid opinions stemming from people that took issue with the loving relationships depicted on screen, Strange World is overall a better-than-average film that, in my opinion, will stay underrated for some time to come. I doubt we’ll get a sequel anytime soon, so be sure to check this one out on Disney+ since I’m sure most of you skipped it in theaters LOL

7.5

Strangely Good

The Verdict

7.5

8

Brian is first and foremost a nerd in every way shape and form. He likes to compare himself to a black hole, consuming any and every form of entertainment unlucky enough to get caught in his gravitational pull. It's not uncommon on any given day for him to read a couple comics, settle down with a good book, watch a few movies (inside and out of the theater), catch up on his ever growing but never depleting Hulu queue, challenge himself with a few good video games, listen to any music he can get his hands on and, of course, write his heart out. He spends every waking moment dreaming up interesting and intriguing concepts and ideas that will hopefully one day inspire and entertain anyone looking for an escape from their daily lives. Graduating from Full Sail University in good old humid Florida, Brian currently lives and works in New York City and is waiting for the day when all he has to do is wake up and create something unique and new for people to enjoy. He is always in the process of writing scripts and stories and is constantly on the lookout for ways to enhance and build his creative drive. After all, life is just one big story, all that really matters is how you strive to make it the best story possible. Disclaimer: Brian does not actually have powdered green skin in case anyone was wondering. A Skrull I am not. Blame the guys at the Color Run for this one.

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