Review of 'Strange World'

strange_world.jpg In a colourful, bizarre world a young Searcher Clade (voiced by Jake Gyllenhaal) travels with his adventurous father Jaeger (voiced by Dennis Quaid) who is seeking the “far side of the mountains”. In a massive snow storm Searcher struggles to follow his father. After an argument Searcher turns away to investigate glowing plant, leaving his father to continue the quest. Years later the plant now provides energy for the village and has transformed their society. Searcher and his wife Meridian (voiced by Gabrielle Union) are now farmers and have a precocious son Ethan (voiced by Jaboukie Young-White) who has a crush on his friend Diazo (voiced by Jonathan Melo). A crisis arises when Searcher is informed by Callisto Mal, now president of Avalonia and one of Jaeger's former expedition teammates, that the plant is losing its power and they must travel into the planet on her airship to find the cause. What lies ahead of them is a fantastic trip with more than a few dangers…

This film looks absolutely amazing with a stunning colour palate that may cause permanent eye damage. The largely predictable story, however, is more than a bit basic with a final reveal that only slightly surprises. The first few minutes of the film set up the biggest theme of the story that of the son trying to live up to the expectations of the father. There is also the modern twist of the son in love with another young boy which is a bit unusual for a Disney film but works well here. There are the requisite cuteness elements including a fun, and helpful, “blob” that helps the adventurers as they seek their power source in the vaguely Avatar-esque underworld (note the floating rock islands…and the unusual colourful flora and fauna). However, Avatar this is not. The film is over-long and the one-dimensional characters never really draw you in for some reason – Here it is all about the quest, damn any humanity!

Seeing the trailer for “Strange World” I had hoped it would be a fun return to form for Disney but I was sadly mistaken. Looks great, but definitely not at all filling with simple characters and a somewhat predictable storyline. Great set-up let down by execution.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2023-01-15

Directed by: Don Hall and Qui Nguyen

Studio: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Year: 2022

Length: 102 minutes

Genre: Animation

Other reviewed films by Don Hall and Chris Williams: