REVIEW – “Strange World”

“Strange World” is directed by Don Hall, written and co-directed by Qui Nguyen, and stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu, It tells the story of the Clades, a legendary family of explorers who must set aside their differences as they embark on a journey to a mysterious planet named Avalonia, inhabited by surreal lifeforms. “Strange World” has a handful of inspired sequences and a talented cast of voice actors but it can’t help but fall in line with the rest of the middling output we’ve seen from Disney recently.

Don Hall and Qui Nguyen create a visually interesting and dense world, but can’t seem to find anything to elevate the material beyond a decent kids’ movie. They create dynamic characters and introduce interesting themes and ideas, but it can’t help but feel formulaic. How many children’s movies can we get about generational trauma? Maybe I am putting my gripes with the recent flock of animated movies onto this one, but it’s just hard to get excited or passionate about a film that feels assembled by throwing random darts at a dart board. The film itself is a fun adventure through a mystical land, but I find myself already forgetting it. I am not the target demographic for this film, but then again, who is?

The cast is quite impressive and they all do a great job. I must say I do get a kick out of seeing Jaboukie Young-White in a kids’ movie and Jake Gyllenhaal ranks among my favorite working actors. They all do a fine job and while I don’t want to rag on this film more than I already have. “Strange World” is a fun, light, brief, and somewhat thoughtful animated film that gets the job done.


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