It’s been a rough couple of years but something that never fails to cheer me up is a Disney movie and there’s a brand new one heading our way. Strange World is the latest animated fiesta from the wizards at Disney Animation, with a big focus on new lands and adventurous heroes.
Here’s what you need to know about Strange World.
What is Strange World about?
As the title suggests, Strange World explores a bizarre uncharted land through the lens of a multi-generational family, the Clades.
The film is inspired by classic adventure stories like Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Indiana Jones and is populated with weird and wonderful new creatures – including an adorable little blue guy named Splat.
Here’s the plot summary from Disney:
The original action-adventure 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.
We had the chance to speak to the creatives behind Strange World earlier in the year and learned that the film has quite an important environmental message at its heart.
“It started maybe with climate change, but it kind of evolved in the early research,” Hall recounted. “Obviously climate change is a big deal. It is an existential threat that we are facing right now, but there’s (sic) other ones as well. So I wanted to broaden it so that it’s not just specific about climate change. It’s actually about a bigger question, which is; how do we live? …As human beings, there’s no escaping that we have a massive impact on this planet and the life forms that we share it with. So we have to wrestle with that question. We have to reconcile that question. You can’t run away from it,” director, Don Hall, told us.
Animated films have brought us some of the most fantastic new worlds to get lost in, but Strange World takes that to a whole new level. You can get an idea of what to expect from the trailers.
Who are the characters?
In the lead role as Searcher Clade is Jake Gyllenhaal, with his larger-than-life father, Jaeger, voiced by Dennis Quaid. Jaboukie Young-White completes the trio as Searcher’s adventure-loving son Ethan. Ethan is also confirmed to be queer in the movie which marks a big step for representation in Disney movies (finally).
Gabrielle Union voices Ethan’s mother Meridian and Lucy Liu stars as Callisto Mal, the fearless leader of Avalonia who spearheads their exploration of the strange new world.
Strange World comes to us from director Don Hall and co-director/writer Qui Nguyen, who have worked on films like Big Hero 6 and Raya and the Last Dragon. The film is produced by Roy Conli (Big Hero 6, Tangled).
What are the reviews saying?
Reviews for Strange World have been pretty mixed across the board. The film currently sits at 74% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 77 reviews.
Collider praised the film, saying:
“Strange World, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 61st film, feels like a swing for the studio, a throwback adventure inspired by pulp magazines, but also a reminder of the action-adventure films that Disney attempted in the early 2000s with Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet. Strange World—with its focus on the family and character designs that look like they could’ve been plucked out of any Disney film in the last decade—manages to feel both in line with Disney’s style, but also like Disney is dipping their toe back into experimentation. This doesn’t always work, but Strange World is an ambitious and intriguing look at a more adventurous Walt Disney Animation Studios.”
On the other hand, IndieWire had some criticisms:
“Strange World has the makings of a fun, pulpy adventure story, and it is, but much of the plot is bogged down in strange, unfunny dialogue and a needlessly complicated storyline. Each setback or separation between the main characters is easily resolved and seems created only to pad the movie’s runtime.”
When can we watch Strange World?
Strange World is the next big animated film from Disney Animation after last year’s Encanto.
The film will be released in Australian cinemas on November 24, 2022.
For other movies you can catch in the theatre before the year is out, check out our 2022 release date list.