Just How Familiar Can Disney’s Strange World Get?

4 Dec

Strange World PosterSpoiler Alert

Disney Animation Studio‘s Strange World is visually gorgeous, but something is missing to make it a film worth remembering. I believe that’s because it’s not as true to those dime novels using ancient mythology to define where the adventure is at. Some pulps involve taking adventage of the era’s current interest in some archaeological dig or is simply high fantasy. Other publications offer sci-fi adventure.

Unfortunately, the Jules Verne influence in this motion picture was not to my liking becuase the trailers suggested an Edgar Rice Burroughs direction. Had I been able to yell at the top of my lungs like Tarzan, I’d be happy. But instead, what we have here is a story about Searcher Clade (Jake Gyllenhaal) ecstatic about discovering an energy-producing plant, and Jaeger, his father (Dennis Quaid), has gone off the deep end. Well, sort of. The elder believes there’s more to find in the unexplored regions of this world since their civilization never expanded past the borders of one city. But without any acknowledgment about why they like to explore, part of this film’s concept falls on deaf ears.

Also, some fans of Disney movies may be taken aback. A lot of fans are used to them releasing a Disney Princess movie. Instead, it’s an action-adventure film which considers the problem of why not every pedigree wants to follow in their father’s footsteps. Here, Don Hall gives us a movie similar to his prior work, namely Meet the Robinsons and Big Hero 6. He also helped co-write this work with Qui Nguyen. Although this playwright worked with Hall before in Raya and the Last Dragon, which was an okay film to watch, what they’ve done here is a mixed bag.

Strange World's directors explain the Disney movie's big twist ending -  Polygon

What they nail perfectly are issues regarding parenting. However, I’m not seeing the same level of fun and general family dysfunction that defined Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In this film, father and son managed to bond while they bounced from one harrowing situation to another whereas in Strange World, the elder members of the Clade clan just can’t see eye to eye. Plus, there’s no danger to threaten Jaeger to cause his son to come running to his aide. Instead, it’s with the youngest who helps unite the generational divide.

But for Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White) to stick around to unite the family, he better know something the others do not when regarding the plot–the flower’s power is waning, and nobody knows why. In what they discover, however, is more than a spiritual awakening as far as the Clade family is concerned. It’s cause for concern for the entire expedition, and what they must do requires either finding a means to stop the disease or go home to say the sky is falling! The world is doomed, and everyone must do something to help.

What’s revealed makes for a great twist ending that’s smiliar to what awoke in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s debut episode. To discover strange new worlds than live in a strange world must means being open to new possibilities. That is, they should learn anything living in the world they exist in may well be a unique life form. The idea is presented when Ethan makes a friend with the gelatinous creature. He would later be named as Splat, but nobody else gets it’s truly alive. Without that philosophical realisation that Jean-Luc Picard concluded the episode with, the denoumont didn’t give anyone that warm and fuzzy feeling a Disney film often closes off with.

And as for whether this world’s relationship with nature has improved, some steps were made to suggest it. Although some people of Avalonia know the continent they are living in is right out of a Piers Anthony novel, to adapt shouldn’t be difficult. As for whether there will be a continuation, it’s possible to course correct new world that Disney’s imagineers have created. I adore the anime style introduction, since it calls back to many of Osamu Tezuka’s early cartoons. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of that brought over to a television series, and that way, not only can we see adventures of Searcher and Jaeger together when they were younger but also learn what would eventually split them apart, prior to the movie.

3 Stars out of 5

Strange World Official Trailer

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