Friday, January 23, 2015

Strange Magic Review Fairy Tale Animated Movie Blends Star Wars & Classic Disney Touches


All images provided by Disney

The long wait is finally over. Strange Magic, 15 years in the making, opened in theaters nationwide today. This new animated mapcap fairy tale musical film direct from the great creative mind of George Lucas, via his production company Lucasfilm Ltd, is the strangest combination yet, weaving classic Star Wars type settings and action scenes with Disney style characters, storylines, and music that bridges the audience appeal across three generations.

In fact, popular songs are key to moving the story along, spanning more than six decades. From the 1950s to today, made famous by Mickey and Sylvia, Elvis Presley, Kelly Clarkson, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and of course Electric Light Orchestra which released the original Strange Magic on vinyl when I was in college in 1975 -- these tunes help tell the tale through the eyes and mouths of a rainbow cast of fairies in costumes channeling modern-day Tinkerbell, jolly little elves, and beastly half-human characters. In true Disney form, during the film there will be orphan main characters lacking a parent among the cast (a fatherless leading man and a motherless leading woman) and a love relationship or two reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast that unfolds.

It's the ultimate story of what happens when light and dark forces meet amidst a divided forest that is half heaven, half hell. Inspired by Shakespeare's comedy play A Midsummer Night's Dream, this is the tale about all the wacky and wild things that occur in rapid succession when a magical love potion gets into the wrong hands. With such a preposterous plot, it's no surprise that everything soon goes haywire and the world's of both woodland communities are turned upside down.

Watch the trailer to get a peek at this new film ...

Directed by Gary Rydstrom (known for Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation and Lifted), I was wowed by the special effects of fairies in flight inspired by real butterflies. I was also impressed by the high quality animation of Strange Magic and would expect nothing less from a Touchstone Pictures film involving The Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm. But what really blew my mind was the how well the lead animated characters were developed and revealed to the audience.

The Disney influence in character typing is everywhere throughout this big screen movie. For example, it doesn't take very long for us all to start hating the stuck up, too good-looking for his own good price charming Roland (voiced by Sam Palladio). While at the same time viewers will find themselves routing for our heroine Dawn (Meredith Anne Bull), as she morphs from being a dainty Cinderella into a strong woman who is not unlike Mulan. And who can't help but fall in love with Dawn's doting Old King Cole kind of dad, the Fairy King, who appears to be a caricature of George Lucas himself, along with the Bog King (Alan Cumming) who may be uglier on the outside than within.

Overall, this is a well-done film worth taking the family to see. However, the fiercest of characters could have been made to look a lot less frightening so this movie will probably be too scary for younger children.

About Strange Magic

Strange Magic, released January 23, 2015 on the big screen, has a runtime of 99 minutes. Stay up to date on everything about this new animated picture by liking the movie on Facebook and following on Twitter with hashtag #StrangeMagic.

FTC Disclosure: Disney provided all images for this post as well as invited MommyBlogExpert to Walt Disney Studios for a screening of this movie prior to release to facilitate this review. No payment or other compensation was received in connection with this post and opinions here are my own. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's home page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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