IT IS RARE FOR ME TO SEE A MOVIE WHEN IT’S STILL IN THEATERS BUT THANKS TO DISNEY STUDIOS I WAS ABLE TO CATCH UP ON A FEW THAT I MISSED!
Recently the fine folks at Disney Studios (their home page is here) had sent me codes to several of the movies I missed so that I could share my thoughts on them with you. With Part 1 we were taking a look at the live action version of Mulan. Part 2 discussed Soul and Raya and the Last Dragon. Part 3 looked at the live action story of Cruella. Part 4 discussed Luca and Part 5 talked about Jungle Cruise. Part 6 discussed Encanto and Part 7 talked about Turning Red. Part 8 covered Lightyear and we’ve returned for Part 9 with Strange World!
The story starts with an adventuring father and son duo as they search to reach the other side of a mountain. Jaeger (the father) wants to continue on the mission while Searcher (the son) wants to take a plant that generates electricity back to their home as an end to the adventure. Jaeger decides to continue the mission and leaves the party. Fast-forward 25 years and Searcher has become a farmer and responsible for pioneering the future. However the plants begin to lose their efficacy and Searcher must return to the place his father left him to find out why.
The animation quality is fantastic and the world the studio created is absolutely stunning. Overall the acting was great but I’m not a big fan of Gyllenhaal and think Searcher would have been better cast with someone else. There were two things I thought were handled wonderfully by the film. The first is that Searcher’s son has a male love interest and the film treats it as they would have if it were any other heterosexual love interest without making it obvious that it was what they were doing. The second is that the dog is missing a leg and there are characters with other disabilities like one being confined to a wheelchair. Sure the dog doesn’t have a speaking role but subtle character details like this mean a lot for those that don’t normally see themselves represented and they should have the ability to seem themselves in the characters they are watching just like everyone else.
I watched the film with my youngest and once finished asked her what she thought, she said it was “meh”. I should note that she has watched it multiple times since and really enjoys it. I thought the film was great both visually and in terms of story. I was shocked by how poorly the film did in theaters and suspect it had more to do with either blatant homophobia, racism or the fact that many people these days are under financial strain and waiting for the film to hit streaming services like Disney+.