Is Strange World Yet Another Mediocre Disney Effort?

Do you long for the days when Disney made great animated films? I feel like that happened ages ago. Disney’s “Zootopia” and Pixar’s “Coco” are the most recent good animated films. For some time now, it’s been clear that Disney doesn’t care about the story, which is arguably the most crucial part of any of their films.

Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid) is the fearless leader of an expedition to discover whether or not there is life beyond the land of Avalonia. Searcher, his less-than-brave son (Jake Gyllenhaal), is with him; Searcher is the one who discovers the energy-producing plant and gives it the name Pando. While Jaeger is eager to press on, Searcher is certain that getting back to their tribe to put this new energy source to use is more pressing. Years later, with the help of Pando, Avalonia has developed into a nascent utopia. In the future, if Searcher doesn’t find a way to stop whatever is infecting and killing the Pando, the Pando might go extinct. To get to the bottom of things, Searcher embarks on a brand-new trip below ground. He is accompanied on his expedition by his family—wife Meridian (Gabrielle Union), son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White). To stop a catastrophic tragedy from happening, they will have to brave a strange new world.

Even though “Strange World” was more entertaining than “Lightyear,” that’s not saying much. The public trailers gave me a good idea of how difficult it would be to promote this film. This film is no better than the average Disney production. There were maybe 10 individuals who showed out to see “Strange World,” but they weren’t much into it. It’s nice that “Bizarre Universe” takes place in a strange one, but for spectators to stay engaged, it also needs to be set in a beautiful and, more importantly, interesting world. The designs are dull and boring, and everything appears exactly the same. Pinks and oranges, in particular, seem to be quite common. The organisms have the appearance of plasma or squid and are, once again, boring. Splat, a key character, is literally blue slime on legs. Disney gets points from me for not forcing the creature to speak in an irritating celebrity voice and instead letting it converse through pantomime.

The film is dense with symbolic meaning. Both the environment and the relationship between dads and sons are important themes. Both of the film’s fathers have predetermined plans for their sons’ lives. The constant bickering eventually leads to an understanding and appreciation for their sons’ aspirations. Another first for Disney animation in “Strange World” is the presence of an out and proud gay protagonist.

It’s nice to see that Ethan’s sexuality is never a source of tension or anxiety for him, and that he is always supported by his loved ones and the larger community. It’s also worth noting that Ethan’s sexuality isn’t what defines him as a person; rather, it’s his unique identity and aspirations. Unlike some of the other movie characters, Ethan is not flawless. Despite his setbacks, he always tries again. Furthermore, this makes Ethan the most likeable character in the film as he will be able to connect with the largest audience.

The messages of tolerance and environmental protection in “Strange World” are well-executed, but the plot must always come first. Disney’s primary focus should be on telling engaging stories. Disney should wait until the end of the film to inject any political or social commentary, but should never preach to the viewer. In the end, the audience must feel satisfied. We can only hope that in the future, Disney will begin to entertain us more.

Do let me know in the comments section below, your comments on the movie “Strange World”. 

Diksha Dutt is a coder, blogger, and teacher. Apart from blogging, she is an avid reader and a travel enthusiast. Thanks for stopping by and getting to know her.