Director: Don Hall
Writer: Qui Nguyen
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, Lucy Liu
Strange World, which is directed by Don Hall and written by Qui Nguyen, is the latest film from Walt Disney Animation Studios. Despite this, it’s one of the worst marketed Disney films in recent years. I go to the cinema a fair bit, and I haven’t seen a poster or a trailer for this once. It makes no sense, because the film has gorgeous animation, a crazy imaginative world filled with weird and wacky creatures, and a great cast of characters.
Avalonia is completely surrounded by mountains that have never been crossed. Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid) goes missing while trying to cross the mountains with his son Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal), who returns with a new plant that revolutionises Avalonia’s way of life. Twenty-five years later and that same plant is suffering from a diseases that is threatening everything about the utopia that Avalonia has become. While trying to discover the cause of the disease Searcher finds that there’s a whole new world living just under the surface of Avalonia.
The film is one big adventure, filled with great amounts of peril, some funny moments and a sentimental story about fathers and sons. Searcher doesn’t want to end up like his dad, and not understand his son, but in the end he’s very similar, he just can’t see it. There are parallels throughout the three generations. The film is also about the ever timely topic of climate change and living harmoniously with nature.
Everything about the Strange World that the characters explore is filled with excellent creature design and wild imagination. The animation is simply amazing and stunning to watch. There’s so much detail in the little things, and the creature design is wildly imaginative. The visuals and designs give a lot of hope that Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga could one day be adapted as an animated series and completely work.
Since there’s a new Disney film, there’s a new lovable mascot to go along with it. This one comes in the form of Splat, a blue flubber like creature that helps the main character on their journey. It can’t speak but makes beeping noises that sound like BB8 from Star Wars, and it’s simply adorable as well as really funny. It’s not even subtle that Splat was designed to sell toys, they even joke about it in the film with one character saying he wants to merchandise Splat.
It’s another straight up Disney animated classic, and one that will probably find an audience once it’s inevitably released on Disney Plus. It’s a great family adventure film that feels like it has stakes. It’s not toned down for kids and is completely entertaining to watch as an adult. It’s definitely worth watching this, whether it’s on the big screen or streaming.
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