December 4, 2022
Review | Disney's Strange World (2022)

“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.

Disney's STRANGE WORLD
ALL ABOARD — Walt Disney Animation Studios’ original action-adventure “Strange World” journeys deep into an uncharted and treacherous land where fantastical creatures await the legendary Clades, a family of explorers whose differences threaten to topple their latest—and by far— most crucial mission. The film features the voices of (clockwise from top left) Lucy Liu as Callisto Mal, the leader of Avalonia; Jake Gyllenhaal as farmer and father Searcher Clade; Dennis Quaid as diehard explorer and Searcher’s father, Jaegar Clade; Gabrielle Union as pilot and mother Meridian Clade; and Jaboukie Young-White as the youngest Clade, Meridian and Searcher’s son, Ethan. “Strange World” releases on November 23, 2022. © 2022 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

FAMILY FORTUNES

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.

Disney's STRANGE WORLD
THREE GENERATIONS AND A BLUE BLOB — Walt Disney Animation Studios’ original action-packed comedy adventure “Strange World” introduces three generations of Clades, a family that comes together amid an uncharted, treacherous land alongside a motley crew that includes a slew of ravenous creatures, a three-legged dog and a mischievous blob called Splat. The voice cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal as Searcher Clade, a family man who finds himself out of his element on an unpredictable mission; Dennis Quaid as Searcher’s larger-than-life explorer father, Jaeger; and Jaboukie Young-White as Searcher’s 16-year-old son, Ethan, who longs for adventure. Helmed by Don Hall (Oscar®-winning “Big Hero 6,” “Raya and the Last Dragon”) and co-director/writer Qui Nguyen (co-writer “Raya and the Last Dragon”), and produced by Roy Conli (Oscar®-winning “Big Hero 6,” “Tangled”), “Strange World” releases November 23, 2022. © 2022 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

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.

Disney's STRANGE WORLD
UNFORGETTABLE ADVENTURE STORY – Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Strange World” introduces a legendary family of explorers, the Clades, as they attempt to navigate an uncharted, treacherous land. The original action-packed comedy adventure features the voices of Dennis Quaid as legendary larger-than-life explorer Jaeger Clade; Jake Gyllenhaal as Searcher Clade, a family man who finds himself out of his element on an unpredictable mission; Gabrielle Union as Meridian Clade, an accomplished pilot and Searcher’s partner in all things. Jaboukie Young-White as Searcher’s 16-year-old son, Ethan, who finally finds the adventure he’s always wanted; and Lucy Liu as Callisto Mal, fearless leader of the mythical Avalonia who spearheads an exploration into a strange world. “Strange World” opens in theaters nationwide on Nov. 23, 2022. © 2022 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

ANIMATION

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.

Disney's STRANGE WORLD
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ original action-adventure “Strange World” journeys deep into an uncharted and treacherous land where fantastical creatures await the legendary Clades, a family of explorers whose differences threaten to topple their latest—and by far— most crucial mission. Helmed by director Don Hall (Oscar®-winning “Big Hero 6,” “Raya and the Last Dragon”) and co-director/writer Qui Nguyen (co-writer “Raya and the Last Dragon”), and produced by Roy Conli (“Big Hero 6,” “Tangled”), “Strange World” releases November 23, 2022. © 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

VERDICT

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.

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