Disney’s ‘Strange World’ Review | An Ecological Sci-Fi Family Adventure
Adventure is Out There! And “Strange World” is an Epic One indeed! Showcasing breathtaking animation, colourful visuals, heart, and a beautiful story about three generations living up to a family legacy whilst directors Don Hall and Qui Nguyen (who also wrote the screenplay) weave in an impactful eco-environmental message.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ original action-adventure “Strange World” journeys 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.
They’re The Clades!
“Strange World” introduces us to the multigenerational Clade family. There’s larger-than-life explorer grandfather Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid), his family-orientated farmer son Searcher Clade (Jake Gyllenhaal), Searcher’s wife and pilot Meridian Clade (Gabrielle Union), and their teenaged 16-year old son Ethan Clade (Jaboukie Young-White) who longs for adventure beyond his father’s farm and together with the help of their crew aboard the Venture, the Clade family alongside their adorable dog Legend, a mischievous blue blobby creature named Splat and the president of Avalonia Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu) navigate through this Strange unique world in a race against time to save their home.
This nostalgic homage to sci-fi adventures has a moving intergenerational storyline, positive diverse representation, and two adorable sidekicks throughout the film we focus on the family dynamic and relationships between Ethan, his parents, and his grandfather. Ethan is a typical teenager who rolls his eyes when his parents smooch, lights up when his friends visit and get completely tongue-tied when his crush, Diazo, is around. Ethan is the first openly gay character in a Disney Animated feature and the way it’s handled throughout is beautifully done. His queerness doesn’t define him it’s part of who he is, it’s refreshing to see how his family embrace him exactly who he is without question.
“Strange World” also challenges the father and son dynamic as Jager represents the old-school explorer wanting to venture beyond the mountains and ultimately leave a lasting legacy, whilst Searcher is caught between that legacy, and Ethan longs for the kind of adventure that echos that of the grandfather he’s never met. Ultimately this brings to the surface deep parental anxieties and regrets as the Clades’ family dynamic becomes clear. An adventurer expects his farmer son to be more like him, and that farmer transfers his unique expectations onto his own son. At its heart “Strange World” is a story about saving your home and repairing generational relationships.
The voice cast is phenomenal throughout as the movie’s heart and soul are its characters. Everyone from Jake Gyllenhaal to Lucy Liu was fantastic, but the standouts for me were Dennis Quaid as Jaeger Clade whose dreams become an obsession, he’s a man too focused on leaving a lasting legacy and Quaid’s vocals provide warmth, charisma which makes this grandfather a very relatable character. Jaboukie Young-White as Ethan Clade provides such a vulnerable and relatable vocal performance as a young boy searching for his purpose and Adventure in life.
“Strange World’s” visuals are vibrant and cotton candy-coloured as the new world comes to life around the curious Avalonians. The world-building includes peril at every turn. Avalonia is part agrarian, and part retro-futuristic and the technological society uses a newly discovered bioluminescent plat called “Pando”. These round green saplings give off electricity providing Avalonia with a new energy source. Avalonia itself is a Community woven together from a mix of ethnic cultures, the world is both a peaceful and quiet utopia.
However, to save their home from dying they must descend into an enormous hole in the ground. the group all end up in a vast, hidden subterranean world where bizarre creatures, looming danger, and point unknown await the legendary family of explorers. The look of this “Strange World” harkens back to pulp-fiction magazines that were published from 1896 to the late 1950s. This world is weird, fun, and extraordinary, the artists and animators have truly outdone themselves and have created something truly unexpected as everything looks unique and everything is not as it seems throughout this “Strange World” trees may not be trees and mass landscapes may not be real, plants may suddenly take flight it’s a junglelike landscape composed of every single colour except for green, this place is otherworldly yet grounded. One of its inhabitants was the adorable and mischievous blue blob named Splat and credit to the animators who were responsible for bringing personality and movement to such a character.
Voyage To The Heart
The environment is something that we think about everyday as we ultimately want our descendants to have a future, but in order to do that we have to realise the choices we make today will and can affect the future. Avalonia’s energy crisis is at the forefront with the bioluminescent Pando becoming the substitute for fossil fuels.
Family is central and each play part in this environmental story. Quaid’s character Jaeger wants to conquer nature whereas Gyllenhaal’s Searcher is the controller as farmers interact with nature. As for Ethan, he’s the conservationist and the character that ultimately drives the message of the story. If we take a small step forward, we can change so much and treat the Earth a different way.
The Fate of Strange World
“Strange World” overall is a must watch for the family this festive season, its an epic Adventure that’s fun, showcases breathtaking animation, colourful visuals, heart, and a beautiful story about legacy, and the relationship between a father and son as told through three generations that are surrounded in a relatable world with many issues that we are facing right now shown at the forefront. The environmentalist-friendly story truly offers plenty of laughs and feels courtesy of Legend — the family’s big, lovable, three-legged dog, who befriends everyone — and Splat, the blob-like, being that Ethan discovers in the seemingly magical world. Both will absolutely delight of younger viewers and certainly sell merchandise. The score by Henry Jackman is thrilling and adventurous harkening back to John Willam’s Indiana Jones soundtrack. There have been noticeably little to none promotion and advertising but this being Disney’s 61st animated feature film truly makes for a theatrical experience.
Helmed by Oscar-winning director Don Hall (Big Hero 6, Raya and the Last Dragon) and co-directed/writer Qui Nguyen(co-writer, Raya and the Last Dragon). Disney’s “Strange World” is now in cinemas.
Click HERE for an explorers activity pack full of “Strange World” goodies!
Movies That Are Way Better Than People Realize
Many times, films will get undeserved criticism that almost makes it seem that the critics are just trolling in hopes that the film bombs. Of course, that isn’t unusual and people should not be surprised when it happens. However, when that happens, films suffer from it at the time of their release.
Those films may not have gotten such a warm reception because of the time they came out, the audience that they were trying to cater to or any number of factors. Here is a list of films that are way better than people realize.
The Lion King (2019)
This 2019 Disney remake was released to a divided critical reception but, nevertheless, made over $1 billion at the box office. Critics described the film as soulless and lacking emotions in the characters with the advanced CGI, which was said to dip down to the uncanny valley.
I saw this film on Disney+ and I have to say that this was incredibly amazing. I was astounded by the visual effects and how they made each character look like something out of a nature documentary. My friends from college even thought that the animals were real. Jon Favreau’s direction is something to be praised.
I talked about this before and why the critics also got this Disney remake wrong. It stars Colin Farrell as wounded war veteran Holt Farrier who happens upon a big-eared baby elephant with the ability to fly.
Many critics praised Tim Burton’s direction but claimed that it lacked emotional depth which is the craziest thing that I ever heard of because this movie was the definition of raw emotion that was so poignant in its execution that it rivals that of the 1941 animated version. This was definitely another case of butt-hurt critics that were upset that a classic Disney IP was being remade as a cash-grab.
I don’t care if it was a cash-grab. I still loved this movie and thought it was as good as the 1941 film it’s based upon.
The Call of the Wild
Audiences were greeted with this CG dog-filled 2020 film about a large Saint Bernard named Buck, who is stolen and sold for money and becomes a sled dog with Harrison Ford supporting him when he can in a lovable man’s best friend film.
The film was criticized for its CGI claiming that, like The Lion King, the animals dipped down into the uncanny valley. Again, this is just borderline nitpicking. The CGI never feels like it’s overcrowding the canvas of the film and, instead, it enhances the narrative with an incredible look at the technology standard and buoyed by an emotional narrative.
Here’s another dog story that 90s kids are a little more familiar with. This animated dog story tells the tale of an outcast wolf-dog hybrid named Balto who attempts to bring back medicine across the freezing cold of Alaska to the ailing citizens.
Critics described the film as having bland characterization, which is something incredibly strange to note after watching the film. It has all of the tropes of a classic Disney animated film without having the title of Disney. Its score by James Horner is inescapably magnetic with an incredible voice cast from Kevin Bacon and Bridget Fonda.
A Troll In Central Park
Again, if you grew up or were born in the 90s, you probably also remember this movie and watching it on VHS. This is the story of a troll named Stanley who is banished to Central Park for being too nice. He encounters two children as they help him take down the evil Troll Queen Gnorga.
The film was maligned for being childish and immature. However, I remember watching the film and smiling from ear-to-ear with pure joy flooding my countenance and being filled with the splendor of happiness. Long story short, this film is colorful and worth a look.
‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ Review | A Super New Odyssey
A delightful movie that honors Nintendo’s iconic gaming series
WAHOO!! Park your kart and call your friends to see the Family Movie Event this Easter! The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a nostalgic love letter to the game & Nintendo as it transports fans to the Mushroom Kingdom with colourful visuals, gorgeous animation & Easter eggs galore! For the first time, iconic global entertainment brands Illumination and Nintendo join forces to create “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”, a new, big-screen adventure starring pop culture’s most prominent plumber of the past four decades. Based on the world of Nintendo’s Super Mario games, the film invites audiences into a vibrant, thrilling new universe unlike any created before in an action-packed cinematic comedy event.
While working underground to fix a water main, Brooklyn plumbers Mario (CHRIS PRATT, Jurassic World and The LEGO Movie franchises) and brother Luigi (CHARLIE DAY, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Horrible Bosses) are transported down a mysterious pipe and wander into a magical new world. But when the brothers are separated, Mario embarks on an epic quest to find Luigi. With the assistance of a Mushroom Kingdom resident Toad (KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY, Key & Peele, The Lion King) and some training from the strong-willed ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom Princess Peach (ANYA TAYLOR-JOY, The Queen’s Gambit, The Menu), Mario taps into his own power.
The Rainbow Road to Illumination’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Nintendo’s iconic Super Mario Bros. characters have been captivating gamers and fans for decades, so it seems fitting that if anyone can make a successful family film out of Mario, it’s most definitely Illumination Entertainment, the animation studio that’s responsible for creating some of the most beloved animated films of the past decade, including the Sing and The Secret Life of Pets films and the Despicable Me and Minions franchise, the most successful animated franchise in history. Illumination’s iconic, beloved franchises are infused with memorable and distinct characters, global appeal and cultural relevance, making the studio the perfect home for The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is the first time that Nintendo and Illumination have collaborated, bringing together their creative worlds of gaming and animation. The core elements in Nintendo’s game franchises lend themselves to becoming distinctive, imaginative and fun for audiences of all ages and some unfamiliar with the games. the two creative forces formed a thoughtful, fleshed-out story, which would go on to become The Super Mario Bros. Movie, penned by screenwriter Matthew Fogel.
An origin story in the simplest way possible, the film paints the Mario brothers as two struggling yet plucky plumbers in New York City we learn that Mario and Luigi are two outer-borough guys who come from an Italian family. The film brings the importance of brotherhood and shows Mario who’s a little insecure and just really wants to prove to himself that he’s capable. In trying to solve a citywide plumbing issue, Mario and Luigi come across an underground area. When Luigi disappears, Mario goes to see what has happened and gets sucked into the warp zone. Mario lands in the Mushroom Kingdom, but Luigi gets thrown into the dark lands, which is ruled by Bowser. Mario has one objective: to find his brother.”
The road to Illumination’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has been a long, colourful, and winding one. The film was originally announced in 2018 before the reveal of the much-discussed voice cast back in 2021, however, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is a delightfully fun-filled animated adventure flick that will certainly earn the love and respect of Mario fanatics, video game enthusiasts, cinephiles, and families. Even better, it’s truly everything I wanted from a Mario film which is a bright, inventive, funny, richly detailed, feel-good, and incredibly entertaining movie that perfectly captures the spirit of Nintendo’s iconic gaming mascot and franchise.
Welcome To The Mushroom Kingdom
The film is ultimately a dream for anyone who has ever wanted to see the world of Mario brought to life in high quality. Directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic Who also wrote and produced Teen Titans GO! To the Movies has ensured that the Mushroom Kingdom is absolutely jam-packed and full of references to just about every Mario/Nintendo game available. Nintendo fans should keep an eye out for references to Jumpman, the original moniker for the character, as well as more overt references to the Donkey Kong games and a tease of adventures even further afield with a nod to Super Mario Galaxy. The directors took a lot of inspiration from the original Super Mario Bros. games and also Super Mario 3D world creating something that is really authentic and ultimately a beautiful representation of the characters and the worlds they inhabit. The film has those iconic elements that the games are known for and the studios truly have pushed the level of detail making them look believable and immersive, especially in 3D.
The hero’s journey takes us through various forms of action platformer and battle scenes, with side-scrolling 2D angles between scenes adding a Nintendo Switch feel, It’s truly an authentic extension of a Mario game. The most important theme of the movie is perseverance,” Horvath says. “It’s about never giving up. The only way to lose at a Super Mario Bros. game is to give up, and if you just keep playing, you will get better and eventually defeat Bowser. So that became the theme of the movie.
One of the biggest joys of the film for Mario fans will be the vast array of recognisable NPCs, fan-favourite characters and adorable inhabitants who bring life to the lands. When you leave the cinema, you’ll be itching to dive into a game, which is exactly what I did.
The stunning animation style made famous by Illumination is utilised in a colourful and pleasing way throughout “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” and the world-building is absolutely phenomenal as Mario and Princess Peach traverse through wild jungles of the Kong Kingdom, the fiery rock of Bowser’s floating castle, and the frigid Ice Kingdom. The rich worlds are populated by a myriad of Power Blocks and obstacles of Mario iconography. The script by Fogle takes Mario and his newfound friends from the Mushroom Kingdom on an unbelievably entertaining tour through these worlds and characters capturing the momentum of the Nintendo games in such sequences as Mario and Peach training on a makeshift course, a show-stopping smackdown with Donkey Kong, and an exhilarating thrilling Kart Race on the Rainbow Road.
Plumbin’ Ain’t Easy
By far the biggest eyebrow-raiser when the ball got rolling on “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” was the casting of Chris Pratt as Mario. On paper, his casting and the prioritisation of celebrity voice actors over veteran voice talent didn’t really bode well with many Mario fans. However, I’m here to say that Chris Pratt steps into the role with his recognizable charm, his affable, though clumsy, Brooklyn plumber is about as good an adaptation of the character as you can hope for.
Mario is a guy from Brooklyn with big dreams. He’s the classic ‘big brother’ brimming with charm and confidence. We catch up with Mario right as his newly launched plumbing business has gone oﬀ the rails. Just when things couldn’t get worse, he is unwillingly transported to the Mushroom Kingdom and separated from Luigi. Here, and with the help of Princess Peach, it’s up to Mario to save his brother and discover his courage, resolve and perseverance. The film fleshes out the character beyond what we see in the games which ultimately creates a compelling and relatable narrative.
Luigi, voiced by Charlie Day, is Mario’s devoted (and anxious!) little brother and business partner. Where Mario is calm and confident, Luigi is…not. After the brothers fall into the Warp Zone, Luigi is captured by Bowser. When the world is in danger, Luigi must face his fears head-on and ﬁnd the courage to ﬁnally step out of his older brother’s shadow. After emerging from Mario’s shadow in recent years, though was a little disappointing to see him become sidelined with limited screen time. However, the overall development he receives, plus his eventual importance to the plot is the reason why this film is called “The Super Mario Bros. Movie“. I especially loved the spooky “Luigi’s Mansion“-influenced sequences, which see Luigi chased by a group of whimsically menacing Dry Bones in a haunting atmosphere. Hopefully teasing us for a “Luigi’s Mansion” movie.
Princess Peach, voiced by Anya Taylor-Joy, is the capable leader of the Mushroom Kingdom, sworn protector of the Toads and a master of the magical Power-Ups. Together, Peach and Mario embark on an adventure to stop Bowser and rescue Luigi. When Bowser threatens her kingdom, Peach will stop at nothing to defend it and its citizens. Princess Peach redefines what it means to be a princess because she’s the master of her own fate. She’s not weak or helpless, and she’s not a damsel in distress. She’s not looking for anyone to save her. She’s an incredibly driven leader, she’s fearless, determined, capable and has so much heart. She’s very concerned about the welfare of the Mushroom Kingdom—she wants everyone to be taken care of and to live peacefully. Taylor-Joy imbues Peach with quiet confidence, bravery, and badassery. She’s a tough character with her own agency, and being the guide to the hero’s journey, she serves the story in a really crucial way.
Toad is an adorable and cheerful citizen of the Mushroom Kingdom who is desperate to go on his ﬁrst real adventure. Toad is the ﬁrst character Mario meets in this new world, and Toad immediately oﬀers to help Mario save Luigi from Bowser. Despite his light-hearted demeanour, Toad can also have a biting wit and isn’t afraid to go to battle to defend the people he cares about. Key’s performance-infused humour, heart
King of The Koopas
Bowser is the ultimate, power-hungry villain. A giant, ferocious turtle and King of the Koopas, Bowser rules the Dark Lands. The entire world falls into jeopardy when Bowser steals the powerful Super Star and attempts to seize the Mushroom Kingdom and rule it, once and for all. Bowser is one of the most fun characters in the movie because he has so many layers. When we are first introduced to him, he’s evil personified and he’s a bit scary. And as you get deeper into the film, you discover there’s another side to him. There’s a vulnerable, silly side. The character is voiced by Jack Black, He’s terrifying…powerful…and filled with insecurities…a great character to explore. Despite its title, The Super Mario Bros. Movie doesn’t actually introduce its lead stars in its first act. The film’s opening sequence is devoted to Bowser and his search for the Super Star. The film’s opening lays the foundations for the film’s joke-centric vibe and sells the extraordinary threat that Bowser and his army pose. That menacing tonality is aided by Bowser being voiced by someone as charismatic, and as humorously fiendish, as Black. Bowser also plays an incredible piano ballad featured in the film.
Some of my favourite scenes with Bowser are the hilarious moments between him and his trusty assistant Kamek (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson). Bowser’s most loyal henchman. A Koopa with supernatural abilities, he acts as a sycophantic adviser and informant to Bowser. Unfortunately, he also deals with the brunt of Bowser’s wrath when things don’t go as planned.
Courting The Kongs
Donkey Kong is the son and heir of Cranky Kong, the leader of The Jungle Kingdom and Kong Army. Donkey Kong is an extremely powerful warrior—but also a bit of a man-child. He isn’t exactly eager to help when Mario seeks his assistance in protecting the Mushroom Kingdom, the character is voiced by Seth Rogen and he even gets to incorporate the Donkey Kong rap. Cranky Kong, voiced by Fred Armisen, is King of The Jungle Kingdom and father to Donkey Kong. Peach and Mario, seeking Cranky Kong’s help to protect the Mushroom Kingdom, must first prove themselves to Cranky Kong, who is known for his bluntness and his refusal to make alliances.
Easter eggs galore and Orchestral Score
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is a Rainbow Road joy ride that just asks you to find every Easter egg and secrets to Mario‘s game series, as well as games starring his contemporaries. This is ultimately why the film has such a rewatchability factor as you’ll discover something new during each watch. there are some call backs some more obvious than others – the Rainbow Road, Donkey Kong Rap, Cheep Cheep bridge, plus appearances from King Bob-omb and King Boo, and fire and ice flowers being five such additions, Lumaleee also makes a surprising appearance which is definitely a fan-favourite as he’s unnaturally cheerful . Mario Kart is also brilliantly brought to life complete with gliders and a kart selection scene that will make anyone who has played the games smile.
The easter eggs also continue throughout the film, hidden in Brian Tyler’s awesome score Taking on Koji Kondo’s original and iconic themes. Tyler’s love for Nintendo games truly shows as his score has scale and emotional depth whilst still representing the music of the games since their inception. Tyler manipulates short motifs into the score at any given moment from instantly-recognisable item sounds to snippets of the Luigi’s Mansion theme.
The addition of iconic 80s songs, such as Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out for a Heroand A-ha’s Take on Me, serve as further nods to the era Mario and his fellow gaming icons were born in.
Also, see if you can pick out which characters Mario’s original voice actor Charles Martinet plays here, too, before the credits roll and make sure to stay till the very end as “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has 2 end credit sequences.
“The Super Mario Bros Movie” was an absolute joy from beginning to end! The story is fun, delightful and compelling with heart, humour, and adventure capturing the essence of Mario with impactful themes of brotherhood & proving yourself! Fun voice-work & nostalgic score from Brian Tyler.
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie is in Cinemas Now!
Crunchyroll Releases New English Dub Trailer For Makoto Shinkai’s SUZUME
“SUZUME” will be released in UK and Irish cinemas on April 14th in both subtitled Japanese and English Dub.
Today ahead of its theatrical release on April 14th, Crunchyroll debuted a new trailer for acclaimed auteur filmmaker Makoto Shinkai’s highly anticipated new film “Suzume” featuring the recently announced English voice cast led by Nichole Sakura (CBS’s “Ghosts”, NBC’s “Superstore,” Disney+’s “Star Wars: Visions”) starring as titular character Suzume Iwato.
On the other side of the door, was time in its entirety…
As the skies turn red and the earth trembles, Japan stands on the brink of disaster. But one determined teenager, Suzume, sets out on a mission to save her country. Able to see the supernatural forces that others can’t, it’s up to her to close the mysterious doors spreading chaos across the land. A perilous journey awaits as the fate of the country rests on her shoulders.
Additional English voice casting for the film includes Josh Keaton as Souta; Jennifer Sun Bell as Tamaki; Joe Zieja as Serizawa; Rosalie Chang as Chika; Amanda C. Miller as Rumi; Mela Lee as Miki; and Cam Clarke as Munakata.
“SUZUME” will be released in UK and Irish cinemas on April 14th in both subtitled Japanese and English Dub.
Check out the Suzume dub trailer below:
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