Strange World

#Review: Strange World

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Out this week in cinemas is the next animated adventure from Walt Disney Pictures. Strange World follows the Clades, a family of farmers who are trying to save their world.

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Gabrielle Union and Jaboukie Young-White Strange World is a fascinating film. It starts off as your run-of-the-mill adventure where former explorer turned farmer Searcher Clade (Gyllenhaal) is called to save his world when a power source he discovered is strangely losing power.

Joining him are his wife and son who want to go on an adventure and live the life Searcher left behind when he was young. When they arrive at this strange new world they are greeted by bizarre flora and fauna. Strangest of all though they also find Searcher’s long-lost father Jaeger Clade (Quaid) who has somehow survived all these decades alone.

I’m not my father

Strange World is a fairly straightforward film. It’s about this group of people trying to save the world and the mishaps along the way. Where the film shines though is in its theme of legacy, what it means to be a parent and also trying to live up to the standards set by your parents. I might be biased but this is easily the reason why Strange World hit so hard. I understand the plight of legacy and trying to live up to it while also trying to make your story.

The back and forth between Yeager, Searcher and Ethan was compelling as well as emotional. Many parents and their children will find something within this story that might just remind them of home. On top of that, the relationships within the film are quite sweet and the film tackles the issues that need to be addressed. This is easily the best part of the film.

Strange world, familiar setting

With regard to the strange world, the film falters sadly. I feel like Disney is in something of a rut right now with regard to its visuals. Though the film is brimming with colour and many designs for the creatures that inhabit the underground labyrinth the characters find themselves in I found none of them engaging. I couldn’t put my finger on it until the halfway point of the film and when I figured out what the film was going for in both its plot and design everything clicked into place.

Sadly it wasn’t all for the better as I realised that these designs had been done in other films and in my opinion done better. Also, the film could have been fantastic in the traditional 2D animation style. There are even moments within the film that showcase this art style and it works much better in my opinion.

Strange World excels when it focuses on its characters and their all-too-familiar dynamics. Alas as an animated film its least engaging aspect is the animation.

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