A trippy new Disney adventure

A trippy new Disney adventure

But the title points to what makes “Strange World” work: the place where most of the action is set is truly remarkable to behold. The bright orange and white color scheme is matched by a place where everything humans encounter is alive, from moving pink blades of grass to walking landmasses, to a warped set of pterodactyl-like creatures to amoeba-like things with tentacles that spring. up at the most inopportune times. While there is, of course, a cute blob of a creature that Ethan calls Splat (so cuddly that another character, upon seeing it, says, “I want to sell you!”), most of the set and creatures in the “Strange” World ” logically defies description and is awesome to look at, in the most literal sense of that term. This is a film that truly looks like no other in Disney’s feature animation canon. Hall, Nguyen and the many hundreds of animators on this project have committed to create a world as imaginative and inexplicable as something out of a Jules Verne novel (as this story feels heavily inspired by Verne’s work, among others).

And in keeping with the more modern approach to recent Disney fare, “Strange World” is just as matter-of-fact and engaged in its cultural depictions. Searcher and Meridian form an interracial marriage, and Ethan (a mixed-race character) is clearly, unmistakably queer. Although Ethan’s relationship with his male friend does not culminate in a kiss, it is also established very early on in no uncertain terms. Where some other recent Disney fare has almost dropped a reference to a same-sex relationship, “Strange World” makes Ethan’s sexuality a distinct part of his characterization from the get-go. Such touches help the film stand out from its brethren as much as the visuals do. (And Gyllenhaal and Union make a fun couple, as a husband and wife completely in love and perfectly content to embarrass their teenage son.)

Perhaps it’s the heady combination of memorably strange artistry and immediate diversity that makes Disney’s marketing approach to “Strange World” such a head-scratcher. For years, Disney’s marketing team has apparently pushed hard to ensure that the animation studio makes movies that are, if not boy-centric, boy-friendly. (Why else would an adaptation of “Rapunzel” not be called . literary ancestors are classic fairy tale yarns. Still, it definitely feels like Disney is throwing “Strange World” into theaters and not looking back. It’s a shame, too: while “Strange World” doesn’t have any meme-worthy songs like “Encanto,” its visuals are singular and unforgettable, and its adventuresomeness is real and exciting. This is the kind of thing Disney should make more often.

/Film rating: 8 out of 10

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *