‘Strange World’ Review: Disney’s Latest Adventure Has Plenty of Charm, but Lacks Bite

Legend, the three-legged canine in Disney’s Unusual World, is an exceptionally good boy. He is additionally a stable illustration of the attraction on the coronary heart of this CGI animated film — the 61st within the studio’s historical past — that hit theaters on Wednesday.

He is an efficient boy.


Our canine pal belongs to the Clades, a household whose legacy as explorers was as soon as celebrated in track. (Good luck getting opening tune “It is the Clades” out of your head.) The partaking introduction sequence establishes the film’s traditional pulp adventure-inspired tone, with pig-headed household patriarch Jaegar (Dennis Quaid) setting out on a solo escapade and by no means returning.

1 / 4 of a century later, his son Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal) would not embrace the identical kind of bravery and is decided to reside out his days as a farmer. Charming early scenes at residence along with his spouse Meridian (Gabrielle Union) and son Ethan (Jaboukie Younger-White) current us with a plausible, loving household, particularly as they roll their eyes at his dorkiness. It is all fairly heat and fuzzy.

The CGI characters look unimaginable, with putting outfits and wonderful hair — the stray grey bristle in Searcher’s beard is a very plausible contact. Coupled with the vocal performances, you may rapidly get drawn into the Clades’ lives. Quaid additionally breathes depth and attraction into a personality that would simply have been an obnoxious, one-dimensional blowhard.

Searcher Glade checks out a green cavern in Strange World

Searcher Clade finds himself in a harmful new atmosphere.


As you’d anticipate, the household’s idyllic world quickly faces an existential menace that forces Searcher to return to his household’s daredevil methods in an uncharted subterranean world. It additionally comes as no shock when his extra adventurous household tags alongside, with the canine in tow.

From right here, Unusual World shines in visually spectacular purple and magenta hues — each second is a colourful deal with for the eyes. It is like a enjoyable model of the Quantum Realm seen within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, however nonetheless harmful and unpredictable. 

Ethan and Searcher Clade gaze out over a red and magenta vista in Strange World

This film’s areas are superb.


The journey is punctuated with loads of partaking motion sequences, which shine by way of dynamic camerawork and modifying. The summary atmosphere can sometimes make it laborious to maintain monitor of what is going on on, so you may must pay shut consideration each time the tempo picks up.

Henry Jackman’s grandiose rating solely provides the sense of surprise and discovery with its old-school John Williams vibes.

The explorer staff additionally encounters a resident of this world in slimy blue blob Splat, who strikes up a friendship with the Clades. This little man is certainly the standout character, the supply of a lot of the enjoyable sight gags and appears destined to be a beloved plush.

Ethan Clade and Splat reach out to each other in a dark cavern in Strange World

Splat provides visible comedy to the journey.


These fantastical parts are grounded by touching, relatable character dynamics. Ethan is among the many first overtly homosexual characters seen in an animated Disney film, however fortunately his sexuality is not a plot aspect. His household merely accepts him for who he’s. 

His willpower to comply with in his grandfather’s footsteps and grow to be an explorer makes him develop extra fascinating because the story progresses, particularly since Ethan would not initially look like reduce out for adventuring and his dad is firmly towards it. Since Unusual World lacks a standard villain, that is the supply of a lot of the film’s stress (together with the specter of entering into some colourful beast’s maw or flying right into a wall of acid). It may do with a larger sense of menace.

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The film builds to a barely busy closing act, with the well timed subtext diminished barely by the overly difficult setup for the final huge motion sequence. Not less than the emotional stakes stay clear all through: You will be rooting for everybody to seek out happiness.

Disney’s Unusual World is a visible delight, with partaking motion and a continuing sense of surprise to attract you in. It is enhanced by wealthy characters, a intelligent script and one exceptionally good canine, making it an journey the entire household will get on board with.

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