Strange World (2022)
December 2, 2022 9:12 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] A journey deep into an uncharted and treacherous land, where fantastical creatures await the legendary Clades: a family of explorers whose differences threaten to topple their latest, and by far most crucial, mission.

Starring the voices of Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, Lucy Liu, Alan Tudyk.

Directed by Don Hall & Qui Nguyen (Raya and the Last Dragon). Written by Qui Nguyen.

74% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Now playing in theaters. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is the kind of thing that I'm both looking forward to seeing and extremely grateful my kid has aged out of, as it means we get to go see The Menu and Violent Night this weekend and then wait for this to hit Disney Plus.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:03 AM on December 2, 2022 [2 favorites]

I can not wait for your take on The Menu. I enjoyed it immensely. And I need to see violent Night. I definitely want to see this when it hits Disney Plus.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:18 AM on December 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

I feel really bad about this movie's trajectory. It will be judged on its box office performance which was always going to be anemic, because kids are SICK this winter and going to sit in a theater with a bunch of children is a bad idea. You couldn't pay me enough to spend over an hour or so in a crowded room with a bunch of strange children in winter 2022. But this will absolutely be interpreted by the studio as "queer heroes don't sell tickets to kids' movies". I hope it turns out to do unreal streaming numbers. But ultimately nobody gives a shit about streaming numbers when there are box office numbers to be had.
posted by potrzebie at 11:22 PM on December 3, 2022 [4 favorites]

Re: Box Office: I was listening to a podcast saying that Disney's attempts to do animated adventure movies for boys (Atlantis, Treasure Planet, this) tend to do poorly at the box office. I wonder what that's about.
posted by pelvicsorcery at 7:04 AM on December 4, 2022

It's weird! Because conventional wisdom is that girls will give "boy stories" a look but boys won't do the reverse. Maybe Disney Feature's brand is just too associated to princess stories in the minds of little boys and their parents.
posted by potrzebie at 10:02 AM on December 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

This was fun eye candy. Nice to see cute gay kid crush be completely ordinary. The message was as subtle as a sledgehammer but it's a movie for kids so, y'know, sledgehammer away.
posted by kokaku at 12:48 PM on December 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

This felt very similar in vibe to Treasure Planet and Atlantis; motley crews, weird creatures, strange landscapes etc. Neither Treasure Planet nor Atlantis did well at the box office and Strange World has not either; but I agree that once it becomes available on streaming it will do better and reach its target audience. I really think it will.

It is lovely to have a real, unequivocal, un-ignorable queer love story in a Disney movie; however it wasn't the main plotline of the show. It took up barely 5 mins of story-time. I'd really like to see a Disney movie where the main plot contains a queer love story but Strange World was not that story.

For me the main problem with Strange World was just that, its lack of a convincing emotional through line. I could see that the dad, Searcher, was struggling with his feelings about his father's abandonment and his fear that Ethan would turn out to be like his grandfather. I could see that Ethan was figuring out where he wanted his life to go and struggling with the guilt that he could not be his father all over again. Even though I appreciated the plot twist with the pando/fossil fuel thing (the visualisation of that was amazing, a real jawdropper of a moment), I didn't understand why all the Clades immediately changed their viewpoint on pando with no second thoughts or struggles. I just didn't feel like those plotlines were adequately explored. Instead, there were a LOT of chases and creatures etc. I like those, but without a real emotional hook this story still felt a little lightweight.

This has been the issue for me with a lot of recent Disney output: Raya, Onward, and now Strange World. Beautifully imagined, the level of craftsmanship that goes into making them is next-level, but I just didn't go away feeling anything.
posted by unicorn chaser at 2:43 PM on December 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Streaming on Disney+ now and yeah, oof, I wanted to like this but mostly didn't much? It felt very much like a glued-together collection of bits and pieces from other movies and never quite seemed to be standing on its own feet and:

Directed by Don Hall & Qui Nguyen (Raya and the Last Dragon).

Maybe that's why? because Raya struck me very similarly: pretty, but derivative and unmemorable.

This has been the issue for me with a lot of recent Disney output: Raya, Onward, and now Strange World. Beautifully imagined, the level of craftsmanship that goes into making them is next-level, but I just didn't go away feeling anything.

Yes, but: I have a huge soft spot for Onward which landed with a thud right at the start of COVID lockdowns and never recovered and I do not think it belongs in that list. It has heart. (It's also Pixar, not WDAS.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:18 AM on December 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

this will absolutely be interpreted by the studio as "queer heroes don't sell tickets to kids' movies".

And was very loudly proclaimed as such by the usual "go woke go broke" Twitter assholes, much as the similarly matter-of-fact lesbian relationship in Lightyear was. Ugh.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:26 AM on December 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

My biggest criticism for the film was the size of Jaeger's and Searcher's noses. Really. Something clicked halfway through the film and it seemed like someone had stolen Bert's nose and slapped it on the characters. It was extremely distracting.

Beyond that, I enjoyed the film quite a bit. The creativity and animation of the world building was consistently entertaining and fascinating. While the father-son dynamics came across as a bit overbearing at times, it gave a throughline for the main three characters, the Clades. Perhaps, it hit me more strongly as a father of a young child, and I admittedly think about how I would like my kid to appreciate and enjoy the things I do, without pushing those things on too strongly so as they're rejected later on.

As someone who grew up with Ferngully, Star Trek IV, Medicine Man, and so on, I definitely don't mind a hard smacking of the mind about the environment and change.

Ethan was definitely the best character, if only because he truly was the most rounded character by design. Jaeger was driven singularly to find a way past the mountains. Searcher was driven singularly with being a farmer. Ethan enjoyed both these, but also was focused on himself, with his relationship with his boyfriend.

In the end, it's a great addition to the steam(green?)punk genre of animation.
posted by Atreides at 11:05 AM on January 10, 2023

I liked this a lot, the reviews for this were way more negative than they should be.

I really liked how Ethan proved to be the synthesis of his parent and grandparent, and by doing so realised that their solutions were wrong. I also did like that while Searcher was dealing with a lot of trauma, he was actually allowed to be a pretty good Dad, with his style clearly being much better than his father.

I think this film definitely deserved better, I barely heard of it when it was in cinemas, and the coverage focused on the inclusion of a gay character, rather than it being an involving and engaging story.

My 6 year old absolutely loved the imagery, and has been crawling around under a duvet pretending to be a reaper...
posted by Cannon Fodder at 10:53 AM on January 14, 2023

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