Strange Magic: 5 Reasons this Soon-to-be Cult Classic is Worth Your Time

Strange Magic is not your typical Disney fairy tale film.
Strange Magic is not your typical Disney fairy tale film.

Strange Magic, the most recent film coming from the mind of George Lucas, had a record-breaking bad debut. So bad in fact, that it’s officially the worse box office opening weekend for a wide release animated picture ever. Word of mouth did not help either as critics weren’t very kind. It was criticized for its pacing, its jukebox musical style, and in some circles for horrible marketing. For its distribution companies Walt Disney Studios and Touchstone Pictures it was not a successful outing. Despite this the film is not without its fans. It’s an oddball film for sure. So much so it’s hard to categorize. Did involving such an eclectic soundtrack ultimately turn audiences off? Did the unrecognizable animation not appeal to the masses? While the film did not make much of a splash now, it’s only a matter of time before it’s considered a cult classic and fan favorite.

George Lucas conceived the idea for the film way back in 2008 when he decided he wanted to make a film for his young daughters. His idea was to reinterpret William Shakespeare’s most famous comedy A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Strange Magic is not a straight retelling but rather pulls the basic premise of the play, a love potion gone awry, to center stage. In the film there are two kingdoms the Fairy Kingdom and the Dark Forest separated by a border of primroses. The primroses are the principal ingredient in love potion. But the Dark Forest, run by the elusive Bog King, has banned love potion and imprisoned the one person who knew how to brew it. Back in the Fairy Kingdom the King seeks to marry off his oldest daughter ,Marianne, to the man who broke her heart and keep his younger daughter, Dawn, from flirting around. When a love potion is brewed right under the Bog King’s nose he kidnaps Dawn in exchange for the love potion to be returned so he may eradicate it.

Strange Magic has a lot to offer from beautiful production and character design to well-executed and genuine character development between its romantic leads. This article seeks not to overlook its mistakes but rather shine a more positive light on a film that deserved much more attention than it received thus far.

Character/Production Design

Strange Magic features a variety of fairy tale creatures. Like many other films before it, such as Labyrinth or Shrek, it seeks to rework the fairy tale formula by populating its world with strong and unique looking characters. This required the animators to create not only delicate looking creatures like elves and fairies but wicked and repulsive characters such as goblins and imps. Most importantly, they all have to look like they came from the same world while still retaining their individuality. Strange Magic does this beautifully. The fairy characters such as Marianne, her ex fiancé Roland, and Dawn have butterfly attributes. They dress in bright colors, have clear wide-set eyes, and feature typical fairy attributes such as pointy ears and cherubic faces. That being said they do not look identical. Marianne has wild, close-cropped hair with wider hips than typically seen in fairy tale films. Her sister, Dawn, is daintier with a more flapper-esque physique. The male fairies such as Roland and the Fairy King are dressed in fine armor. Roland in particular though has flashier armor just as over the top as he is.

Roland and Marianne feature butterfly attributes while having typical features you would expect on a fairy character.
Roland and Marianne feature butterfly attributes while having typical features you would expect on a fairy character.

In addition to fairies they are also elves in fairy kingdom. The elf we get know the most is Sunny, Dawn’s best friend and confidante. Sunny and the other elves are stouter and dress far more simply than their fairy counterparts. But the elves do not come in one size either. Sunny’s sidekick, Pare, is wider and taller than the other elves. However, the characters that received the most unusual and interesting designs are the Bog King and his fellow goblin folk. The goblins with the exception of the King are heavier set with swamp like attributes. Some are frog like with webbed toes and hands. Others have beaks or elephant like trunks. The Bog King has a look unlike anyone else in his universe. He’s rail thin with what might be armor made of bark or some sort of second skin. He has attributes one would associate with a goblin such as sharp teeth and claws. But most interestingly, he has what looks like insect wings that when in use sound like a wasp or dragon-fly. The designs of characters from the fairies to goblins are practical and serve the characters personalities. For example Bog, who lives in a forest looks like he could blend in his environment if he needed to. Marianne who lives in a much brighter, friendly world looks like she just popped out of a flower bed.

Unlike the fairy characters the goblins have a wide variety of characteristics.
Unlike the fairy characters the goblins have a variety of characteristics.

The design choices were intentional, meaningful, and used to fully realize the world in which the story takes place. It does not feel so alien so out there that the audience cannot imagine such a world existing. But its fascinating to look at. An audience can marvel at Marianne’s reflection in a puddle or the glittering light of fungus hanging from a forest tree. Unlike mainstream Disney, Strange Magic does not focus on making its princesses Barbie doll beautiful or its heroes movie star handsome. Instead, they focus on making an entirely unique look, one that has not been seen in the mainstream. One could argue this ultimately hurt the film at the box office. Some critics refer to the animation as ugly or unappealing. Similar criticisms were brought up with Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and that film did not do well at the box office either. Regardless of how appealing you find the visuals you cannot fault its creators for willing to be different.

Voice Acting

The director of the film, Gary Rydstrom, is probably best known for his voice direction. He directed the English dub for films such as The Wind Also Rises and even worked for Skywalker Sound for some time. As to be expected from someone with this much experience with sound, Strange Magic features some truly knock out vocal performances. The cast features some heavy hitters such as Alfred Molina, Maya Rudolph, Elijah Kelly, Kristen Chenoweth, Evan Rachel Wood, and Alan Cumming. Unlike mainstream Disney the film featured no original music and instead featured a vast variety of covers from several decades. This included songs from Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, Elvis Presley, The Four Seasons, and even Metallica. The actors particularly Evan Rachel Wood, Alan Cumming, and Elijah Kelly had to not only be able to sing but be able to put their own twists on the songs, while staying in character. Rydstrom manages to get all of this out of his actors and as result their personalities pop in really wonderful way.

Alan Cumming brings a rock star quality to the film's "antagonist"
Alan Cumming brings a rock star quality to the film’s “antagonist”

Wood, as Marianne, has to change from the optimistic blushing bride we meet in the opening number to a much spunkier independent woman we meet shortly after. She’s able to sell that change not only with her strong vocals but her ability to be fun and quirky. Her anthem for much of the film I’ll Never Fall in Love Again and Stronger is sung with such conviction its hard to imagine anyone other than her taking it on. Sam Palladio who plays Roland manages to be both funny, charming, and arrogant in an incredibly over the top southern accent. And Kristen Chenoweth portrays the enigmatic Sugar Plum Fairy and bounces from manic to sweet with ease. But its Alan Cumming who has the most wide of range. He portrays the Bog King, a character who shifts from a capable villain to romantic lead. Cumming who is probably best known for his work on stage brings a rock star quality to the character. His versions of Presley’s Trouble and Metallica’s Mistreated underscore his villainy but still retain a vulnerability.

As wonderfully performed as these covers are, there is very little time in between each number, at least in the first half. This decision messes with the pacing making it hard to guess how much time has passed between the songs. As a result some numbers seem unnecessary. Adding more dialogue between these numbers would have easily fixed these problems. It would also have added more development for the side characters which feels needed at several points in the film. That being said the film has some very genuine character development between its leads. So much so that you almost forget the missteps in pacing and story structure.

Character Development

As its made pretty clear in the trailer, Strange Magic, is a Beauty and the Beast story in disguise. This trope has been done so many times before, it can be hard to make it fresh. Lucas and his fellow writers manage to do it though with such ease, its admirable really. The Bog King and Marianne fall in love not because the story calls it for it but because they challenge each other, they inspire each other to be better, while still having so much in common. They are well established before they meet, so they minute they do, the audience can detect the spark. Marianne as we first meet her is a bit an oddball. She does not mind dirtying up her wedding dress. She does not need to have perfectly coiffed hair like her sister Dawn. And although she has her reservations of the goblin people; she is not against making peace with them. She even tells Dawn that when she takes the crown she is willing to do just that. After Roland breaks her heart she becomes tougher more reserved but she is still the odd one out. She prefers sword fighting to flirting and believes ruling on her own is a blessing and not a curse. Her love for her sister is as strong as ever and guards her sister from any trouble she might get herself into.

Bog King is introduced as nothing but a cruel, unfeeling king. He believes love disrupts order and brings chaos. Apart from his foolish advisers and his nosy mother, he spends time alone. He is mostly seen in shadow or from the back cutting an imposing figure in the Dark Forest. When it’s revealed to him that a love potion has been brewed he crashes a fairy festival to demand the potion back. In his rendition of Mistreated the audience gets a peek at his insecurity as he scares some elf children and seems to regret it instantly. His goons grab Dawn for ransom and demand the love potion returned to him by moon down. Despite his menacing glower and his army of goblins Marianne is not afraid of him. She punches him in the face. She throws another one only for Bog to catch it before he speeds off with his army. Dawn’s presence brings a softer side to him. Although he knows she has been doused with love potion he cannot help but feel a fondness for her. In one scene Dawn makes him a boutonniere or corsage, by the look on his face it becomes clear he’s never been treated this way before. Later in the same scene you see him toss the boutonniere to ground when one his advisers teases him about it. He has put up a wall to prevent any one from getting in.

Marianne and Bog King find themselves evenly matched.
Marianne and Bog King find themselves evenly matched.

Bog and Marianne’s first real conversation happens between clashes with swords. The two are evenly matched and clearly impressed with each other. Marianne brings Bog out of his shell and for the first time we see him having fun. From then on a begrudging respect is forged between them, so much so that they are willing to trust each other with their darkest secrets. It is revealed Marianne was not the only one unlucky in love. Through dialogue they discover they both feel like outsiders. And they acknowledge that they are things they admire, maybe even like, in each other. As a result Bog softens her making her realize she is not the only in the world who has been wronged. The secondary romance that between Dawn and her best friend Sunny is not explored to the fullest but it’s still worth the note. They share a song and its clear from the beginning how Sunny feels for his best friend. Dawn’s feelings are not explored and as result their romance feels and is one-sided. The characters that are not involved in romance such as Roland and the Fairy King are not really explored at all. Their motivations are unclear but they are fun characters to say the least.

Themes

Like many family oriented films, Strange Magic’s themes are fairly obvious from the get-go. Its story deals with the difference between artificial love and real meaningful love. Marianne discovers over the course of the film that there is such a thing as real love. And Bog discovers the harsh reality of artificial love, seeing it as something as selfish and horrible. Real love, as the characters learn, is selfless and causes you to do things, heroic things, you never knew you could do before. For other characters they discover love was there all along they just weren’t looking for it. While not a really deep or new theme it is certainly a powerful one. The greatest stories, the most lasting stories, often deal with love. It was love and selfless that gained the Little Mermaid her soul. And it was love that transformed the Beast into a prince. In Strange Magic love makes you a hero. It transforms you for the better even if that person does not and cannot love you back.

The film also speaks of the dark side of love or love gone sour. In most fairy tales the lovers meet on whim and fall for the first person who comes sweeping in. And the audience is led to believe they will be together forever. They do not touch on the possibility of the relationship falling apart. They are always at the honey moon phase of their relationship. In Strange Magic right at the beginning we see trust break. Through Marianne and Bog we see two people learn to risk getting their heart broken. They have to summon up the courage to put themselves out there and give themselves to someone who could hurt them. And that is an issue grounded in reality . While not a complicated lesson, its one everyone from a young child to an adult, can understand.

Heart

Strange Magic is nowhere near a perfect film. The narrative structure isn’t as strong as it should be. There are some pacing problems. Still, it’s a worthwhile adventure. It has wonderful character design, spot on voice acting, genuine development between the leads, and plenty of heart. You can feel for the characters, you can understand them. It’s not difficult to see yourself somewhere in there. It may be a bit an odd one with its strange look and jukebox musical style but anyone can find enjoyment somewhere along the way.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Edited by Ryan Errington.

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64 Comments

  1. Well, after watching it i walked away not thinking much of it, but then it got stuck in my head and i just had to see it again. Im not to sure what it is about this movie but i absolutely love it.

    • MelMuff
      0

      I just saw this movie on Netflix a few days ago. I had never heard of it before but it seemed intriguing me so I decided to watch it. That’s exactly how I felt about it. I found some parts too long in either song or dialogue so initially I didn’t care for the movie initially. But the next day, I had the sudden urge to watch this movie again and now it has grown on me. I’m loving all the songs and storyline. The singing is really well done and the songs they used were perfect. I think I have watched it 10 times by now. 😀 I also thought that initially the characters looked weird but now I like the way they look. I guess you just have to give this movie a chance. 🙂

  2. I don’t understand why this was getting so much negative reception.

  3. LooongBarraza
    0

    It wasn’t too bad. I didn’t know much about the movie going in, so I guess I was hoping for a more Willow-like fantasy movie, but ended up feeling more like a Disney Princess movie(reading after the fact that Lucas wanted to make a movie for his daughters, “Just like Star Wars was designed for 12-year-old boys,” says Lucas, “Strange Magic was designed for 12-year-old girls.”)

    So I guess I was far from being his target audience. But aside from my not being too fond of romance heavy movies, I think it stands up pretty well to the princess movies made by LFL’s sister studio. The animation was really good too.

  4. I was very disappointed. There wasn’t much magic preformed during the whole movie and the only magical reference is an absurd concept.

  5. The force is weak in this movie

  6. I didn’t even know this movie existed until just right now. Will give it a chance, thank you!

  7. Strange Magic = Arthur and The Invisibles + The Ant Bully + Epic + Gnomeo & Juliette + Delgo + Fern Gully

    It’s been done before, sometimes for better or for worse… and frankly… it makes me batty.

  8. I have no idea why some people would not enjoy this movie. Probably because they are close minded or were dragged along to it cause of their kids or a family member.

  9. Francesca Turauskis

    Never heard of this film, looks quite sweet

  10. I remember when Spirited Away came out it was taken out of my local theater after like a week. Sometimes great movies don’t get the immediate attention they deserve! Thanks for this, I’m going to give this one a chance. 🙂

  11. A great movie thats stood the test of time.

  12. I… LOVED… THIS MOVIE!! I loved every aspect of it! And it was so much better than the terrible movie “Epic” from two years ago.

  13. Marlo Do
    0

    This is Star Wars for little girls and the whole family.

  14. Clarice
    0

    My son, age 6, who was very adamant that he did not want to see this movie ended up enjoying it.

  15. Elinore
    0

    Strange Magic is a must-see, and I have no doubt that Lucas’ vision will be vindicated by future audiences.

  16. Columbus
    0

    Poor George Lucas, he was once a talented creative artist and now he’s been reduced to a pitiful has been who’s now a shell of himself. He should go into exile and live on deserted island and save himself the embarrassment. He’s like a once skilled athlete who is now way past his prime and refuses to retire

  17. EnidPridgen
    1

    Totally agree! I predict it might become an underdog cult!

  18. Ema Chacon
    1

    I swear to god this movie has been made like 12 times already.

    • seriously
      0

      like….all superhero films and princess films remade over and over. ITS CALLED A GENRE/FAIRY TYPE FILM.

  19. I really dig the style.

  20. If you are looking for a Disney-like movie this will not be it. If not, then watch it! 🙂

  21. Jordan

    Sounds like it could be average? I never saw Epic but heard it was terrible. Interesting review, I hadn’t ever heard of this film before now.

  22. “Strange Magic” is a fabulous animated film!

  23. The characters are complex which i like.

  24. What’s not to love!

  25. The Bog Kingdom was actually pretty cool.. I liked the characters models and shading/lighting quite a lot.

  26. Abhimanyu Shekhar

    I held back because of the negative reception, but now it’s on my to-do list. Thanks for such an article!

  27. All the bad guys had really nice characterization…

  28. bogissexyandyouknowit
    0

    In my country this movie wasn’t in cinema but i saw it on the internet and I love it so much!! I really want see more movies likes this! I am so glad that Bog (in the end) not change in to “prince” or worst xD xD

  29. Cascade
    1

    This movie is great I don’t understand that ppl hate it it’s the greatest movie it’s probably ppl who have nvr felt that way lol they should make more movies like this it’s better I love this movie I watched it like 5 times or more 😋☺️😉😃

  30. CemeteryLikeAStage

    I had to turn this movie off in the first 10 minutes. The songs were annoying and the characters reminded me of jocks from highschool. Awful movie. This is coming from someone who adores animation films.

  31. Cristina
    0

    I had never heard of this movie, but my sister found it and made me watch it and I don’t understand why it is getting such a negative reception. I absolutely loved it. The characters were complex, I laughed a lot, I loved the songs, which were brilliantly performed, and the movie was quite original in my opinion. I don’t know if people were hoping a more Disney-like movie or they are narrow-minded, which is what it looks like to me. Anyway, I also think it only needs time to become a cult classic, as you say. 🙂

  32. I agree with you on the pacing in regards to the utilization of the music.

    One of the reasons many musical Walt Disney movies work for the most part, lies in the fact that when the songs are used, they are used in their own time and place. They provide the necessary transition and exposition in the plot and there is time in between songs to allow the narrative to breath, and the characters and plot to grow and develop.

    Strange magic doe not have that. they wham pop song after pop song down the viewer’s throats, and while a few of them fit here and there, not only do they not give the narrative a chance to develop and actual necessary dialog and actions to take place within the film, but they also have the added weakness of being their for themselves.

    It give the film being their for the sake of the songs and not for it’s own merit.

    If Strange Magic had been a music video for an album, then this might have worked. no one expects narratives to be especially coherent or strong in music videos, since music videos are for the sake of the song, but this is a feature length film made as a film first and not a music video.

    Then their is this whole issue surrounding Mariane and Roland.

    Yes, Roland is an antagonist, he is playing his part, and Marriane reacts how she should reacted to the man after being cheated on nad realizing that it is strictly for the power of being her husband.
    Her outrage is portrayed well enough, the problem lies in everyone else that is the issue.

    Her father and the rest of the court seems to be okay with the fact that Roland cheated on her. in fact the father and many of the court trying to push them back together is particularly grating.
    Sure it could just be how the characters are written as obstacles for the lead, but it is never acknowledged that they were wrong, particularly the father, instead putting forth the message that its okay to do something wrong if you convey just the right amount of remorse, and that the wronged party are obligated to forgive.

    That is a harmful, and dangerous, lesson on forgiveness. making this film all the more disturbing when you remember that Lucas made this for his daughters.

    • It’s not that her father or the court know about Roland cheating on Marianne. When Dawn asked Marianne what was wrong, she didn’t tell her and it seems that she never told anyone the real reason for why she stepped back from the marriage. So it’s understandable, that her father wants to push her back to Rolan, because he believes whatever happens wasn’t so bad and just a misunderstanding.

  33. I am in love with this beautiful movie! How could anyone say it’s bad?! I watched it who knows how many times and I love it everytime, it never gets boring. I love Marianne and even though her and the bog king’s relationship is kinda weird, it’s sweet. I absolutely love the songs so much that the first time I watched the movie, I immediately searched the entire web and downloaded the whole soundtrack. Awesome movie. Loved it. It’s so….so….REAL. Except the whole everyone can sing well and get background music. That is unfair to all us real people. Anyways, this movie is great and recommended to everybody, it will not be a waste of time, believe me.

    Thanks

  34. I love this movie I just can’t figure out what the little things flying around Marianne are.

    • Sprites. XD Roughtly put, they’re kind of like smaller, more elementally based faeries.

  35. Cult classic? Absolute rubbish and you know it. This was one of the worst animated films I have ever seen due it’s nonsense need-to-get-the-boy-plot, which instantly reduced the female roles to nothing more than stereotypical Barbie and the Dreamhouse characters. My intelligent daughter lost interest in the first 10 minutes, along with the other people in the theater. I suggest you actually watch the film without being high or intoxicated, because there is no other way to experience it and enjoy the incessant karaoke pop-tart renditions and token black guy character (the only frikkin character who is for some reason portrayed as an obvious urban minority). What? Did they pick minorities out of the hat and vote on which one would be cast? Ridiculous. Peace.

    • XD In which case I can only hope that you’re very intelligent daughter wasn’t sucked in by the atrocity that was Frozen, or by similar merrit almost every single Disney etc movie ever made with a female role. Give that girl some real power! Give her some Brave! Or some Arrietty! Lilo and Stitch! Howl’s Moving Castle! But don’t diss this beautiful monstrosity of wonderful for being shallow, not unless you’re willing to diss the 90% of every movie ever made with a female role.

  36. I reviewed this film for The Rotoscopers, another online magazine. I went in with an open mind and only knowing that Lucas was attached to the film. Given his film history, and despite the trailer, I hoped that the film would be on par with his live-action work.

    While I enjoyed some of the movie, much of it was very contrived, as if they were trying to make as many songs fit as possible – and specifically those songs. Marianne’s character changes so drastically within seconds, the believability of the movie immediately falls flat. The music – outside of the pop/rock songs – was wonderful and flowed well, and the voice acting was phenomenal, despite some truly awkward writing.

    I thought the animation was beautiful; yes, what was being animated wasn’t always pretty (i.e. Bog, rotting trees, etc), but the animation itself as an art was, in my opinion, quite gorgeous.

    I don’t think I would call this a great film or a classic everyone will love. And I think it’s too soon to say if it’s a cult classic; I have yet to really see a following for it (as many in the comments pointed out, some haven’t even heard of it), but – like Labyrinth did – it has the potential there. I enjoyed the film but it felt disorganized in the writing, a little contrived, and focused on the music rather than the characters.

  37. Of two minds about this movie. On one hand I think it’s way too clumsily done to be the kind of cult classic you are describing here – there are huge amounts of unnecessary, hackneyed characters, scenes and gags cluttering the movie to the point that they both distract attention from the central story and take up time that should have been spend developing central points. On the other, I think you are right. The central story between the Protagonist and the Bog King is spectacularly solid, both characters are developed well well (given how much time there is for development) and events actually get quite compelling, especially once the story starts moving into the climax. The problem is there’s not enough of it – it’s barely a skeleton of a good story, and even that you have to pick from about an hour of filler. In the end I think it’s just another tragic reminder of what happens to George Lucas when he doesn’t have someone to direct his creativity and help him with his pacing problems. There’s plenty worth seeing in this movie, same as with any Lucas film. You will just have to be prepared to pick your way through a lot of uninspired trash to find it.

  38. Jeanette
    0

    I absolutely loved it.. It was such a great movie and the ending where the princess didn’t fall in love with the prince but instead the “ugly duckling” enemy.. Shows true love can be anywhere..

  39. stahlnacht
    0

    I really enjoyed watching it! A new take on the fairy tale type of story!
    I don’t get how it can have so many poor reviews…

  40. go2girl
    0

    Excellent, well written article and right on target. There is something beloved and rock-opera-esque about this film. The voice talent is top notch and Rachel Wood’s character carries the somewhat disjointed story through. Bog is appropriately scary and loveable at the same time. The mushroom-telephone gag is hilarious each and every time.

    We saw this movie as a default one weekend because it was the only age-appropriate movie out. We seldom see movies in the theater and this was a treat. We left the theater feeling somewhat disappointed, it was a weird film. But on the way home, we downloaded the soundtrack and began to sing along.

    We wanted to play the music for others so purchased the movie on iTunes and have since watched it more than 20 times. It is a family favorite — and something the grandparents can also enjoy. The behind the scenes extras play homage to the strength of the voice actors and our oldest has now become a huge Kristin Chenoweth fan, even singing her version of “Love is Strange” live on open mike night accompanied by pink fender stratocaster guitar.

    This is an imperfect film for sure. However it delivers something refreshingly different than the Disney formula — something that just might become, as you say, a cult classic for a new generation.

  41. WeKnowWhatLoveIs
    0

    My family and I watched this movie twice today and we absolutely loved it. I have read all of the comments on Strange Magic both positive and negative. Most importantly the power of love is truly magical and strange. True love has no boundries. It doesn’t see faults, flaws, race, or indifferences. Love…excepts all, protects, is patient, kind and of course shouldn’t cause one harm or bring about hate. Two thumbs up George Lucas!!

  42. I had never even heard of this film before reading this article, but now I’m going to have to find it. Thanks for the good read!

  43. I am so glad to find people who also enjoy this movie. I tell everyone I can to give it a chance. Its beautiful, creative, fun, and touching.

  44. Okay, after reading these reviews I don’t feel so bad or something anymore, because I LOVE this movie. I’m 60 and I have played it over and over on STARZ. I’d never heard of it either but located it in ON-Demand, by accident. The only downside is, I now have all and I do mean ALL, of the songs in my head in the character’s voices and at 2AM when I accidentally wake up, having those songs there, isn’t good. However, tomorrow, I’ll watch it again. Try it with an open mind, a good friend and a bowl of popcorn. And as stated in the article, the voice work is incredible.

  45. Neli morales
    0

    Hey i recently became a mother of a beautiful babyboy who is now about to be 9months n i had never heard of strange magic until i purchased it when my son was about 4 months me n my husband got instantly hooked the graphics storyline n most of all the soundtrack we are very musical individuals n loved the “jukebox” effect of this movie and so does our son who drops anything he is doing when we play this movie n goes to sleep watchin it. I also have four neices ranging from ages 7-12 who fell in love with this movie as well.

  46. Dion Gillespie
    0

    George Lucas made the fairy king in his own image. She fails in love with gingivitis mouth king?

  47. Isabella
    1

    I am so relieved to find sanity in this world! What is not to love about this movie?
    I was so sad when I read all the bad reviews this movie received, wich probably means that the chanse of there ever being a sequel to this movie is limited. However I Hope the creators of “Strange Magic” rise above the bad reviews. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, eh?
    If this is suppose to be starwars for girls I hope they go all the way with a similar chronologic series, let us know more about the characters, the story behind the two forests and then end up blowing our minds with a great AHA-moment! Make the reviewers swallow their tongues. Go Lucas!

  48. Semiramis
    0

    Strange Magic was a wonderful surprise for me and my daughter. We live in Germany, the movie is not released on DVD and I hope it will be… We watched it on PayTv Channel “Disney Cinemagic” for the first time in german language, before only in the original version. And I asked myself HOW is it possible that no one here knows this movie? It’s a beautiful story, great animated, a funny Soundtrack ( we like Mistreated most, Bog King has a Rock Star Attitude with a wonderful performance)… I can’t understand the opinion of the critics. But we also like films like Labyrinth… perhaps we are not Mainstream enough (in a positive sense) and have a heart for the ‘stepchildren’ of the movie industry. Anyway… I think, the time for Strange Magic as a cult classic will come. It’s really not a movie for everyone – but when you are as ‘different’ as Marianne or Bog, you will have an empathy for both and when they kiss you will have a little hope in the heart, that somewhere in the world there waits a soulmate especially for you.

    • Terri Huntley
      0

      Bravo, I couldn’t agree with you more

    • Terri Huntley
      0

      By the way I also loved the mistreated cover as a person who grew up listening to deep purple with my dad I’d happily say that Alan Cummings Version did it justice… I just wish there was a way to get a copy of the covers so I could listen to them while travelling.

  49. Brian H
    0

    I found the review to be a well-composed and informative summary. I am 70 and grandfather of a boy 7 and girl 4-1/2 in Santa Barbara CA. I discovered this movie recently and TIVOed it for them to see. We watch a lot of movies together, mainly old cartoons and new-and-old animated films, though also a few ordinary movies like The Gods Must Be Crazy 1 & 2, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and older children’s classics like Treasure Island, Swiss Family Robinson, Lassie, etc. I also read a lot of Greco-Roman and other mythological stories to them. I’m with them a lot, usually daily and often 24 hours at a time. We view and read a lot of the same material over and over, reinforcing story lines, character development, moral themes, variations and twists, catchy music with an emphasis on classics and show tunes backing old cartoons, etc.

    The kids have strong tastes, though the girl pretty much likes what the boy likes. They are much into ‘friendly’ fantasies of all types, such as Peter Pan; Mary Poppins; animal, dinosaur and fairy/princess animation films, and we all especially love Ratatouille, Finding Nemo, and more recently Epic and Strange Magic. These latter two films are actually thematic variants of one another, and we’ve viewed each at least 30 times (probably closer to 50) though we only discovered them within the past few months.

    Epic is thrilling and enchanting, more along the lines of adorable than challenging, and it is rather conventional, e.g. light, colorful and cute=good, ugly, dirty and gloomy=bad. It is a nature epic, though much less complex than Strange Magic. The latter’s poor reviews stem, I’m guessing, from the fact that the film sends a storm (blizzard, cyclone, tsunami) of sensations at the audience, which is absolutely impossible to absorb in a single viewing. Surprisingly, these little kids immediately adopted the film as their favorite and it has remained so for the past 2-3 months. They sing along, repeat the dialogue for minutes at a time, he writes out the lyrics in notecards and little books he illustrates with nature drawings and specimens, she dances to the movie songs or just sings them and dances around the house or park, they build small sets in which they act out variants of the scenes mixing in their own elements. The themes in the film are intertwined and not too easy to sort out, but just now as we were watching she suddenly said “He needs to find the antidote”, which surprised me a bit, so I asked what it was, and she answered ‘Real love.’ What she meant was that the Sugar Plum Fairy’s potion only works till genuine love occurs, which is a pretty subtle equation for a pre-K kid to articulate. It speaks well for the vocabulary-building power of the film, not to speak of the moral force.

    I could go on about all the beauty, talent and cleverness in the film, but I’ll just say that there are very few parts we believe are weak and those tend to be intellectual (e.g. the lack of clarity regarding why we find beauty appealing and ugliness unattractive). This is not a film for folks who are ‘one-viewing-only’ film-watchers. It takes many viewings to assemble all the cleverness, twists, quick jokes, visual tricks and ‘moments.’ I will say that I am chagrined that the people who made this film have not received anywhere near the admiration my grandkids and I believe it deserves. Perhaps some day it will be seen as the great art it is.

    By the way, being my age I think it’s interesting to compare Lucas with Spielberg. The latter has done some terrific and affecting film-making, though utterly pedestrian animation efforts. However, I’d encourage curious viewers after looking at Strange Magic to watch Lucas’ THX-1138, a sci-fi film still entirely gripping though made 45 years ago. These are films of a different intellectual and emotional order than Spielberg’s, more literature or sociology than entertainment.

  50. Terri Huntley
    0

    I remember when this film was first advertised and I thought to myself I cannot wait till this comes out and just recently I watched it for the first time and while I agree there’s a pacing issue there was an honesty to the storyline and its characters that I easily associated with times in my own life…the unfaithful love trying all sorts to get me back…deciding I didn’t need anyone beside me to make me happy…then being caught off guard by meeting someone that you didn’t expect to have something in common.
    And that’s why I thought this film was amazing because even though this film is set in a fairytale world I could still see bits of reality entwined throughout.
    Oh and for the critics who said the songs were cheesy just because you may not have not have liked them doesn’t mean everyone else shares your opinion…personally I loved the songs they reminded me of my childhood and growing up trying to figure out who I was.

  51. LAURA GARDENER
    0

    I just watched Strange Magic. I loved it. I was left wondering whether the same production crew that created Shrek were involved with the making of Strange Magic. The animation (somewhat life-like faces), the mix of dancing characters and familiar pop music, and a somewhat adult (winky-winky)
    humor) seemed similar to elements of the Shrek series. Personally, I would love to see more films in this style, perhaps from the same creators. Nice
    job George Lucas.

  52. Marisol R
    0

    I’ve always wanted a Beauty and the Beast story where the beast stayed a beast. Is it really love if you know he’s going to become a prince?

    This film finally gave me that. I’m not a fan of animated films. As a mother of two girls I’ve had to endure MANY… This is the only one that doesn’t make me want to poke my eyes out when I hear it 3 times a week.

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