MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Strange World’ — Another Mediocre Effort By Disney

Remember when Disney used to make classic animations? That seems like a long time ago to me. In my opinion, Disney’s best movie is “Zootopia,” and Pixar’s latest is “Coco.” Now it seems that Disney didn’t think about or care about the most important aspect of any movie, the story.

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Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid) is an intrepid explorer who leads a expedition team to discover life outside of his native Avalonia. He is accompanied by his less than brave son, Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal), who accidentally stumbles upon an energy plant he names Pando. Jaeger wanted to move on, but Searcher felt it was more important to return home to use this new energy source to power and technologically advance his entire city. Years later, Avalonia became a small utopia thanks to the discovery of Pando. One day, Searcher discovers that something is infecting and killing Pando, and if nothing is done to stop the disease, Pando may become extinct. Researchers go on a new journey underground to find the root of the problem. He is joined by his wife Meridian (Gabrielle Union), son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White), and a team of researchers. They must face a strange new world to avoid deadly danger.

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I will say that “Strange World” was more fun than Lightyear, but not by much. I can tell from the trailers that this movie is going to sell hard. It is another classic Disney movie. At most there were ten people at the “Strange World” show and there was no enthusiasm. It’s great that “Strange World” is a strange world, but it also needs a beautiful world and most of all, an interesting world so that the audience doesn’t get bored. The design is not very interesting, and everything is the same. There is a lot of pink and orange in the world. The creature is either in plasma or squid form and, again, there is no kind of joy. One of the main characters, Splat, is a blue walking spear. I will give Disney credit for allowing this creature to express itself through pantomime instead of giving it an annoying famous voice to communicate with other people.

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There are many messages in this movie. The main message is to save the environment, but one must face father and son. Both fathers in this film have their son’s future planned for them without giving them a choice. And the repeated arguments lead to the acceptance of his son and his dream in the end. “Strange World” also introduces the first openly gay character in an animated Disney film.

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When it comes to Ethan’s sexuality, it’s refreshing to see that Ethan doesn’t have to fight or worry about acceptance from his family or society. It is also worth noting that Ethan’s character is not defined by his gender, but by who he is and what he dreams of accomplishing. Ethan is not perfect, unlike the other characters in the movie. Sometimes he fails, but he never gives up and keeps trying. And because of this aspect, most people will be able to relate to Ethan, and he becomes the most beloved character of the film.

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“Strange World” does a good job of sending a message about saving the environment and acceptance, but the story should always come first. Focusing on writing compelling stories should always be Disney’s goal. If Disney wants to include a social message or perspective in the movie, have it come later, but don’t overdo it, and don’t preach to your audience. Finally, an audience must be entertained. Let’s hope Disney starts entertaining us more.

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I give Strange World a 6/10.

Editor’s note: This article contains the opinion of the author, Joe Hogarty. These opinions may or may not be those of WDWNT LLC, Tom Corless, or anyone else on this planet. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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