STRANGE WORLD – A Review by Cynthia Flores
This film takes place in a mythical land where being gay is not a big deal and is dealt with matter-of-factly. Unfortunately, at least here in Texas, some people are offended that Disney has an openly gay character in this film. They actually got up and left during our screening. Too bad for them because they missed a genuinely beautiful-looking film with a message about being true to yourself even if you don’t follow in your father’s footsteps.
Strange World is an animated Disney film that tells the story of the legendary Clade family. Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid) is the bigger-than-life world-famous adventurer. He has been on a quest to surpass the mountain range surrounding his world. He is convinced the salvation of his people is out there somewhere. He has raised his son Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal) out in the wilds. He has taken his boy everywhere on his quest to go beyond the impassable mountain range. Once Searcher gets a bit older, he realizes that his father may be wrong about the outside world being where help for their people will come from. Instead, he finds a glowing plant with unique properties that can make life better for them now. The two argue, and Jaeger leaves his son to play with the plants and continues his quest. Never to be seen again…
Twenty-five years later, Searcher is all grown up and married to Meridian (Gabrielle Union). She is a brave pilot that helps him on their farm. They have a young, optimistic teenage son named Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White) who isn’t crazy about being a farmer, just like his dad. One day President Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu) flies in and lands on their farm. She needs the Searchers’ help to save his beloved plant and the power source for everyone on their planet. This sets them all on a quest and uncovers feelings from the past. A past that Searcher thought he had dealt with. This quest may be filled with scary-looking monsters. Still, nothing is scarier than dealing with family drama, such as finding your long-lost father. The trio of would-be adventurers, three generations of Clades, and Meridian and President Callisto Mai stumble upon an almost alien world. It is packed with creatures unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. They don’t know who they can trust and who they will have to battle to reach their objectives.
Strange World is a visually detailed animated film. It starts in an antique storybook-looking city and then shoots you into a psychedelic, undiscovered world. Where there are so many surreal-looking creatures running around that the artist Salvador Dali would have felt right at home there. In fact, several of the animals look like some of his famous reality-bending paintings. Don’t worry. There are plenty of funny characters like “Splat” to keep the kids busy, while there’s also a dense visual vista that will keep the adults oohing and ahhing as the story continues.
I give Strange World 4-stars. It’s a beautiful-looking film from Disney that you will want to watch a couple of times just to catch all the details and beautiful creatures floating by. It is not as strong as some of Disney’s other modern classic films, but it is a nice addition to their catalog.
Directed by: Don Hall, Qui Nguyen
Written by: Qui Nguyen
Selig Rating: 4 Stars
Running Time: 1h 42 min
Animation/ Action Adventure
Wide Theatrical Release: Only in theaters November 23.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, Lucy Liu
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.