The Clydes are, in the words of their comic patriarch, born explorers. They seek adventure, live like nomads, love danger and aim to do the impossible. at the beginning of strange world, an effortlessly charming adventure-comedy about father-son relationships from Disney’s animation studios, viewers are treated to a zippy montage of Jagger (voiced by Dennis Quaid) and his son, Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal). is, crossing coniferous forests, diving into the deep sea and hiking mountainous terrain. His travels take him far and wide and make him legends, but he has never seen the other side of the snowy peaks surrounding his small town of Avalonia.
Naturally, Jagger, a bona fide pioneer with an affection for the sound of his own voice, becomes obsessed with accomplishing this feat. The explorers, already reluctant to pursue the dangerous pursuits of both, couldn’t care less. When these differences come to the fore, a rift develops between the pair and they separate bitterly.
The makings of a new classic.
directed by Don Hall (Raya and the Last Dragon) co-directed and screenplay with Raya and the Last Dragon Writer Cui Nguyen, strange world Energetically charts the aftermath of this feud and its effect on the Claud family. Twenty-five years after his father abandoned him, the explorer owns a successful business harvesting pandas (a bright green plant that supplies the town’s electricity) and enthusiastically tends to his family. His devotion to his wife Meridian (Gabrielle Union), a spunky pilot, and their son Ethan (Jabuki Young-White), a sharp-tongued environmentalist, would be admirable if it weren’t so deeply rooted in fear. Not wanting to be like his absentee father, the explorer is obsessed with being a perfect provider and parent.
strange world sketches a loose portrait of this multiracial modern family through a masterful series of scenes, persuading the audience to invest in its story through clever one-liners and compact storytelling. The explorer built an agricultural empire from his serendipitous discovery of pandas. He and his wife – their passionate marriage still on fire – run the family farm with the help of teenage Ethan. When the latter is not cultivating crops, he hides from embarrassing questions from his parents and hangs out with his friends. A particularly tender sequence in which the explorer meets Ethan’s crush, Diazo (Jonathan Mello), sets up, with little fanfare, a landmark moment for the conservative studio: Ethan is the first gay teen in a Disney animated film.
Hall and Nguyen treat Ethan’s sexuality as a fact of life rather than a battleground on which he must seek familial acceptance, a move that relieves Ethan from the insignificance of being an avatar. The character’s source of tension is his relationship with his father, who wants him to become a farmer. Ethan, with his insatiable curiosity for the natural world and innate knowledge of his surroundings, would love to explore areas beyond Avalonia – just like his grandfather. The dimension of the character makes him more relatable.
When the President of Avalonia, Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu), approaches the Searchers with an important mission to save their city, Ethan seizes the opportunity to prove himself as an adventurer. A mysterious entity is killing the panda crop, and although the explorer has called off the expeditions, his intimate knowledge of the plant makes his involvement necessary. So the explorer agrees and Ethan, against his father’s wishes, boards a government airship bound for the Unknown Regions with his three-legged dog, Legend. Meridian, who quickly realizes her son is missing, is not far behind.
A battle between father, mother and son inevitably ensues when Meridian finally catches up to the ship in a dark, cavernous area outside the city. But their cries come to naught after a vehicle malfunction sends the crew into a deep pit and they end up in a windy, magenta-hued environment. Getting back home and saving Avalonia is now a family affair.
The fantasy world beyond their town is meticulously and wonderfully rendered strange world animators, who drew much of their inspiration from the pulp magazines of the 30s and 40s. There’s a painterly feel to the landscape, which combined with the film’s science-fiction feel may trigger memories of Disney. treasure Planet. Pink dominates the aesthetic of this odd, regenerative land where translucent blob creatures roam alongside tall, slow giraffe-like animals and pterodactyl-sized creatures. The sky is a mix of blush and periwinkle, the fauna an array of hints of flamingo pink, cobalt blue, lavender and sunflower-yellow.
There is a whimsical touch to these details, most of which are revealed by Ethan’s willingness to peer into every nook and cranny. Among its many achievements, strange world Reaffirms the fact that oftentimes children stand to teach adults the most. Unlike the old crew members, Ethan is enamored with the prospect of this vast uncharted territory. He doesn’t want to win it, like his grandfather does, nor does he want to inherit it, like his father does. He loves learning about creatures like Splat, a blue fluorescent creature he affectionately names, and understanding how they live together. His connection to the natural world becomes a major theme of the film., Which doubles as a blunt, but still affecting metaphor for our contemporary climate crisis.
It is in this strange land that Claudette and her crew run into Jagger, who ramblingly reveals that he has been trapped in this unnamed world for the past 25 years. The predictable reunion unsettles the explorer, who suddenly finds herself competing with her father for Ethan’s attention and approval. from here, strange world Oscillates between a relatable story about fathers and sons trying to rebuild their bonds and a more unnecessarily self-aware tale about the crew’s attempts to preserve their way of life.
Nguyen’s screenplay works best when it uses the relationship between Ethan, Sercher, and Jagger to deliver a message about a straightforward, but important, inter-generational conflict (and eventual resolution). The interactions between the three maintain a realistic ease, which is in part due to pitch-perfect performances from Quaid, Gyllenhaal, and Young-White, who find ways to make their characters endearing and humorous. It made me wish other figures — like Union’s Meridian and Liu’s Callisto — had more screen time and space to do the same.
least effective, strange world succumbs to vague aphorisms to drive home an already well-conveyed lesson about environmental devastation. This is most apparent near the end, when the Avalonia crew, a small but mighty force that includes a character voiced by the erratically funny Karan Soni, treks deeper into the region. They form a more complete picture of Panda’s nature, and begin to see themselves as part of a wider ecosystem. The film curiously circles this point, such that the audience might miss it if it were not repeated redundantly.
This fear is unnecessary because the film’s characters are strong, and this realization about the world meshes well with the clad men’s own reflections about themselves and each other. end of strange world Comes together like one would expect of a Disney offering, but has a sweetness that can sway even the most committed cynic.