Being an animation junkie there is always a sense of excitement whenever a new film premieres from Walt Disney Animation Studios. This is especially true when it is a new Disney musical like last year’s Encanto. That said, Disney, is one of those studios that tends to telegraph in advance when they are less than enthused about a new film, animated or live action.
Unfortunately this is definitely the case with their new 61st animated classic Strange World and even more unfortunate is their lack of enthusiasm is earned with a thoroughly underwhelming cinematic experience. Instead of being strange and exciting Strange World ends up being dull and mostly annoying. It’s a real disappointment because there is tons of unrealized potential here that director Don Hall failed to monopolize upon because of the weak and predictable script.
Let’s start out with the positives of Strange World. Like any Disney animated film the world building and animation is beautiful. I loved the colors and the 2D 1940s adventure reel style in the introduction.
I also thought the voice acting was fine, if unmemorable, and the dog Legend was very cute. The lgtbq representation is better executed than any previous Disney film, and I appreciate it being done well. However, the movie still has to be good around that representation and this just isn’t.
The problem is the very pedestrian script and the unlikable characters. We are supposedly following a family named the Clades as they explore a new “strange” land. Unfortunately the big reveal of what this land is made of is completely obvious from the beginning so it’s not that strange or new to film. We’ve seen films exploring this particular type of world in many other films and like I said it’s clear what it is from the first time we see the floating bridge they walk on we see in the trailers (trying hard not to spoil the reveal.)
We have 3 generations of Clades voiced by Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal and Jaboukie Young-White, and they do almost nothing but argue the entire picture, and that’s just not what I want to see from my animated family films. Literally the most exciting part about this film is when they all get stuck in a closet and the dog has to help them out. That’s not great for a movie called Strange World.
I know animated films are hard to make and that a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this film but in the era of Into the Spiderverse and GDT’s Pinocchio you have to do better. It’s no surprise Strange World received the lowest Cinemascore of any Disney film ever. It’s not interesting or enchanting and the characters bickering the whole time makes for a thoroughly unpleasant experience. If you want my advice I say wait for Puss In Boots: The Last Wish (which is amazing) and watch this on Disney Plus or just watch Encanto for the 30th time with your family. This is certainly not a world I recommend. If you need an adventure honestly Atlantis or Treasure Planet, with their flaws, are better than this.
3 out of 10
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