To save their world, a family ventures deep underground on a dangerous expedition.
Spoiler Level: None
Strange World is the 61st film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and is primarily computer generated but does incorporate some standard 2D animation. The story is inspired by the pulp magazines, Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, and the original 1933 film, King Kong. Avalonia is a land surrounded by unscalable mountains that no one has ever been able to venture past. Jaeger Clade, the famous explorer, has made it his life’s goal to be the first to ever make it to the other side. He forces his son, Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal), to accompany him on his expeditions. But when Searcher discovers a plant with the ability to create electricity, he convinces everyone but his father to return back to Avalonia with this amazing discovery. Jaeger is last seen disappearing into the fog never giving up on his dream of being the first to conquer the mountains. Twenty-five years later, Searcher is a farmer of “Pando”, the electric plant he discovered. He has his own family which consists of his wife Meridian (Gabrielle Union) and son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White). Avalonia is now dependent on Pando which powers their daily lives, but something is killing the plant at its heart and Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu), the President, convinces Searcher and family to accompany her on an expedition deep underground to find out what is killing their very way of life, and thus the adventure begins, re-uniting the long-lost father with his son. Can the Clade family save their world without killing each other first? Watch and find out!
This is a fun little film with a lot of cool looking fun creatures, vibrant colors, stunning visuals, and a good story with a couple of lessons to learn. The most obvious is ecological conservation, we need to save our planet even if that means learning doing something that inconveniences society and changes our daily lives. It also teaches fathers to allow their children to be who they are and not force them to follow in their footsteps. Although the script is good and all the vocal talent is amazing, this isn’t a tearjerker, hard hitting emotional film. At least not for me. It is a light-hearted adventure film with some family drama and an ecological message.
The one thing that is really apparent is how inclusive Disney is attempting to be. Avalonia is a type of utopia where all people seem to be excepted without judgment or explanation. The inclusion of a dog with only three legs, and yet that fact is never mentioned or explained. There is no sympathy given because the dog is happy and his missing limb never for a second is looked at as a weakness or with pity. It is just who the dog is. The same is done with Ethan’s sexuality. He has a crush on another boy, Diazo (Jonathan Melo), the word “gay” is never used and his parents never question or show any disdain towards this. When Jaeger asks Ethan if he has a sweetheart at home, and Ethan explains his crush on a boy, there was no look of shock or confusion from his grandfather, just misguided but honest advice on how to win over Diazo’s heart. It wasn’t a big deal…In fact it wasn’t a “deal” at all, it was treated as if it was perfectly normal. Race also does not seem to be an issue in Avalonia with many of the main cast being racially diverse. The name Avalonia is a reference to “Avalon” the island paradise in King Arthurian legends and is well chosen. This is the world we should all be striving for where people are never assumed to be anything other than who they are at heart, never judged as being disadvantaged because of a physical or mental impairment, and never thought to be “less than” simply because of the color of their skin. Why is this important? It not only shows the world as it should be, but it allows children (of all ages) to see characters like them doing great things. Representation is important and I say “Bravo!” to Disney for taking the extra step! Unfortunately, many parents were totally up in arms over the diversity and, more to the point, the LGBT content and waged a campaign against this movie which may have been responsible for it doing so poorly at the box office. To them I would say, put down your hate for an hour and a half and really watch the film. You might learn a thing or two,
This is a fun and exciting animated film with some great visuals and nice performances but lacks any emotional punch. Great for kids to watch over the holidays. Strange World was released in theaters on November 23rd and is now streaming on Disney+
Strange World: Under the Shell
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Acting - 9/109/10
- Music - 8/108/10
- Production - 10/1010/10
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