“Overall, Disney’s Strange World is a must-watch. It’s pure adventurous fun, full of relatable characters, laughs, representation, and a very cute dog. It feels like we are entering a new era of Disney animated films,” says Darcie Gray in her review
Are you ready to embark on an adventure? Good because Disney is back at the cinemas with their newest animated feature Strange World. And I had the privilege of attending the multimedia screening over the weekend. It’s been a while since most of us last experienced the magic of a Disney animated film at the cinema due to covid. So get ready to embrace Strange World. The movie is the perfect adventure film that will leave audiences feeling like an explorer. Whether you’re a child or an adult you’ll be inspired to discover hidden wonders and fulfill your dreams. It’s so good to have Disney back on the big screen! Read on for my full spoiler-free review.
It’s here we meet the multigenerational Clade family. There’s the explorer grandfather Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid), his farmer son Searcher Clade (Jake Gyllenhaal), Searcher’s wife and pilot Meridian Clade (Gabrielle Union), and their son Ethan Clade (Jaboukie Young-White). And together, they venture off to save their planet Avalonia. The family along with the president of Avalonia Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu) embark on a journey to discover what is killing their power source. The mission takes them into the very heart of their land. The narrative is a straight-up traditional adventure film. In parts, it’s reminiscent of the Disney films Treasure Planet (2002) and Atlantis (2001).
Strange World is a perfect example of its genre, whilst challenging the stereotypical explorer figure. Jaeger represents the old-school explorer, armed and brave. Searcher is more of a discoverer less guided by destiny and legacy than his father. And Ethan represents a newer type of explorer with traits of his father and grandfather but with a more environmental purpose. The incredible thing about the movie is its hidden themes that transfer to reality (something Disney and Pixar movies are known for), and the inclusion of the environment resounds powerfully.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL MESSAGE
The film is not just a clever commentary on the current state of the environment. It has hope and big laughs aplenty. The Clade family dog is a highlight. And it reminded me of my dog, its goofy ways create a lot of joy within the audience. Splat is also a great non-human sidekick. The voice cast is faultless throughout. But what makes Strange World such a success is its ability to fully capture the interactions that take place within a family. The interactions between husband and wife, teen and parents, grandparent and grandson, and adult children with the parent. This brilliant representation of family, the complexities and depth are relatable.
The jokes, the familiarity, and the emotion between these characters are probably the most realistic in any Disney movie. This relatability is carried through into representation, in which the film is unapologetic. A modern film, with modern characters and themes, perfect for a modern audience. An audience that will be able to relate with at least one character onscreen, teen viewers, and their parents will find this film particularly relatable.
Visually Disney has really hit its stride with the 3D computer-animation style. This latest offering is full of color, vivid backgrounds, and texture. Part of me still misses the old-style animation pre-Tangled (2012). Even though it’s been ten years since Disney started using 3D animation I still had to adjust to the style of Strange World. The cleverness of the visuals within the film becomes apparent in the final moments. And I have no plans for spoiling the big plot point of the film. But suddenly when the twist happens every creature and piece of mise-en-scene makes sense. The impact of which is mind-blowing.
Overall, Strange World is a must-watch. It’s pure adventurous fun, full of relatable characters, laughs, representation, and a very cute dog. It feels like we are entering a new era of Disney animated films. One that nails its characters and is reminiscent of the films I grew up with. Whilst fully capturing society and current issues. Sadly, I have noticed a lack of promotional material for Strange World, which is a massive shame. But hopefully, audiences will flock to the cinema over the next few winter weeks and discover another magic Disney film.
Disney’s Strange World is distributed by Disney and hits cinemas on November 23rd.