Movie Boy – A “Strange World” Indeed – Port Arthur News | Jobi Cool


Movie Boy – A “strange world” indeed

Published on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 at 12:02 pm

“Strange World”

Walt Disney

Directed by Don Hall and Qui Nguyen

Starring Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jabuki Young-White, Gabrielle Union and Lucy Liu

Rated PG

2 ½ stars

Around the turn of the millennium, Walt Disney executives decided that while “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast” were great, they had few adventure movies that really excited boys.

That’s how we got “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” and “Treasure Planet.”

Remember those movies? no?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

I bring this up because Disney’s latest animated classic, “Strange World,” feels like one of those boy-centric adventures from twenty years ago. The result is a movie that’s heavy on exploration and monster fights, but light on actual character development and emotional resonance.

In short, the story is certainly unique, but somewhat memorable.

The story begins with a father and son adventure team. Jaeger and the Searcher Clade are trying to climb the mysterious mountain that surrounds their community.

The explorer (Jake Gyllenhaal) stumbles upon a mysterious plant that contains a form of energy within its fruit. He wants to take the plant back to the city, while Jaeger (Dennis Quaid) wants to continue climbing the mountain.

At the top we are given the father-son dynamic that will define this film.

Both men think that they are doing what they are doing and are not willing to see things from other’s point of view. Which makes it ironic when the movie flashes forward 25 years and the explorer now has a son of his own, Ethan (Jabouki Young-White) who stands up against his father’s vision.

The story picks up again when the mysterious plant that changed their world suddenly starts dying.

Now it’s up to the explorer to follow the plant’s root system on a perilous journey to the center of the planet.

Do I even need to mention that the inner world is a little weird?

A series of adventurous battles against monsters that want to eat the human explorers, an adventurous trek through the wilderness, some unexpected surprises about the true nature of the strange world, and of course, some life lessons learned. Fathers and sons learn to trust each other.

All of this works well, but none of it really sinks in.

The story is full of weird plot holes, while the characters seem to change because the screenwriter asked them to do so rather than being motivated by the story. The end result is a film that feels like a Saturday morning cartoon, rather than a high-profile Disney Thanksgiving Day release.

It all makes me scratch my head. “Strange World” is a fun little escapade. The monsters are creatively drawn, and the world building is well thought out.

I certainly enjoyed the adventure, and I suspect the little boys might enjoy the trip as well. But that’s not to say it’s on the same level as Disney’s previous animated films.

Give the film credit for living up to its title, but I fear that “Strange World” will soon be forgotten like “Treasure Planet” and other Disney marginal misfires from twenty years ago.

Movie review by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” is published weekly by Port Arthur Newsmedia and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at sean@seanthemovieguy.com.



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