[MOVIE REVIEW] Strange World: a fresh take on quintessential stories

Strange World is the latest film from Disney’s animation department. Disney has had a recent streak of underperforming theatrical runs from animated movies. Lightyear earned $226 million at the box office against a $200 million budget. Encanto, though it did very well on Disney+, only made $228 million against a $50 million budget in theaters. Both of these movies technically made a profit, but compared to recent animated movies such as Minions: The Rise of Gru’s $710 Million box office earnings, and Sing 2’s $409 million earnings, Lightyear and Encanto pale in comparison. Strange World continues the pattern of these Disney animated flops, making $18.6 million over Thanksgiving weekend, against an expected $30-40 million. The movie had very little marketing and so far has done very poorly at the box office.

Strange World begins with a 25 year jump into the future where explorers discover a sinkhole that reveals a lush and fascinating new world. The film covers themes of generational father-son relationships, adventure and friendship. The movie was released on Nov. 23 on Disney+. (FAIR USE: “Strange World” trailer screenshot from Disney.com)

The film is about a group of travelers trying to save their city who end up discovering a new and strange world. The film begins with several explorers traveling through the mountains on a mission for their city, Avalonia. Jaeger (Dennis Quaid), separates himself from the rest of his crew including his son, Searcher, (Jake Gyllenhaal), and Callisto (Lucy Liu), over a disagreement about an electric green plant, Pando. Jaeger continues into the mountains, and the others take Pando back to Avalonia.

Very close to the start of the movie, the time jumps forward 25 years, Jaeger is still missing, and Searcher is an Avalonian hero, famous for introducing Pando. The entire city is powered by Pando, and Searcher is a Pando farmer living with his son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White), his wife Meridian (Gabrielle Union), and Ethan’s dog, Legend. One day, Callisto shows up at his farm in the massive airship Venture. Callisto takes the Searcher’s family to a giant sinkhole to try to save the dying Pando, but find a lush and alive strange world.

Overall, the movie was really enjoyable. The modern twist on classic adventure tales was fascinating and it had strong character diversity.”

They find Jaeger in this world, who has been stuck down here ever since he left on his own in the mountains. Together, the group finds the core of Pando with the plan of killing the monsters that are attacking it. Plans change when they discover this world is a breathing creature, and they decide to destroy the core of Pando to save the creature. One year later, Ethan and his new boyfriend, Diazo, are still in the strange world, collecting resources, and Avalonia is now powered by wind turbines.

Overall, the movie was really enjoyable. The modern twist on classic adventure tales was fascinating and it had strong character diversity. The emotional core of the movie is an engaging and realistic son-father-grandfather relationship. Although the emotional aspect was great, it occasionally could feel predictable. The movie is a nuanced take on an adventure story, taking inspiration from Journey to the Center of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.