MOVIE REVIEW: Strange World
“I’m loving this family reunion, but come on! We’ve got a world to save!”
In all honesty, I was not that interested in seeing this movie. There was very little promotion or marketing for this film. I was worried that Disney didn’t have any faith in this film and may be trying to kill it early to release on Disney+. But, I’m glad that I did go to the theater because, while it is fairly predictable, it’s still beautiful and fun.
We are introduced to the fictional town of Avalonia which is tucked in a valley among many mountains. The town explorer Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid) attempts to go beyond the mountains to find things that will help the ailing Avalonia. On one such expedition, hiis son Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal) discovers a plant which he calls Pando whose fruit offers electrical energy. Searcher believes they should take the plant back to help Avalonia, but Jaeger insists on moving forward. His crew agrees with Searcher and Jaeger goes out on his own.
Twenty five years later, Searcher is married to Meridian (Gabrielle Union) and has a listless son named Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White) and a three legged dog named Legend. Searcher has become famous for bringing back Pando which provides fuel and energy for all of Avalonia. But, one day, Callisto (Lucy Liu), leader of Avalornia,calls for Searchers help to go with them on an expedition to find out why Pando is suddenly not yielding the energy it used to. It takes them to a strange new world with never before seen animals and plants. While there, they find Jaeger and father, son and grandson learn about themselves and each other.
Like I said, the film is fairly predictable. You know what is going to happen at the end. But, the film manages to bring heart in a way that doesn’t batter you over the head.. Screenwriter Qui Nguyen (Raya and the Last Dragon) knows how to world build and with Avalonia and the Strange World, he does so in spades. Nguyen co-directs the film with veteran director Don Hall (Winnie The Pooh, Big Hero 6, Raya)/
First of all,I have to commend all the animators and artists who created all the amazing creatures and vegetation of this new landscape. At one moment, it’s Journey to the Center of the Earth and then it’s Jurassic World and then Pandora from Avatar. The eye candy and sense of wonder is endless. I’m glad that Disney decided to theatrically release this movie because the splendor of the strange new world is amazing on the big screen.
I loved that one of the main characters is gay. I won’t tell you who so you can find out who it is. But, its not one of those flash in the pan, “if you blink, you’ll miss it” kind of thing. You will know and it is adorable. The whole film has a wonderful diversity to it. Searcher is white, but Meridian is black and Ethan is mixed. Callisto is Asian and the crew is made up of all races. It was wonderful.
I told my sister before the movie that I will like the movie if I cry. I didn’t cry, but I still did very much like the movie. And, I really encourage you to go to the theater to watch it because that’s where it was made to be seen. And it shows.