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Strange World

Updated: Apr 24


Both would be more accurate titles for Disney’s 2022 holiday entry, STRANGE WORLD.

Industry rumor has it that Disney knew they were in trouble before this stinker hit theatres when test audiences and advance buzz was negative. It’s easy to see why as you ponder just who they were thinking would want to see this derivative snooze fest.

Imagine “Fantastic Voyage” with a much less coherent story or “Avatar” without any compelling alien characters.

Like those two films, the visuals are stunning, but there is no danger or consequence in the scariest parts of the world created, leaving a lot of great looking settings that don’t serve any real purpose.

Some talented actors are stranded by the material. Jake Gyllenhaal is fun as Searcher Glade, living in the shadow of his famous explorer father, Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid). The opening of the film clumsily introduces them in a comic book style that never quite lands. We then flash forward to Searcher with a family of his own. Gabrielle Union (great, as always) is his wife Meridian and Jaboukie Young-White does a nice job as teenage son Ethan.

Lucy Liu is fun as Callisto Mai, the leader of Jaeger’s original adventurers, but she’s given little to do.

Much has been made of the fact that Ethan is a gay teenager, but if representation is the goal, it’s a shame it isn’t provided in a much better film. The film is certainly loaded with diversity, but it feels like the writers spent so much time checking every appropriate box that they ran out of energy to create a compelling story line worthy of the characters.

By the time they introduced the family dog, and it was missing a leg, I was exhausted and surprised that apparently there’s a vocal group screaming that family pets missing limbs are under-represented in modern film.

Consider the scariest part of the world that the Clade family and Jaeger’s old crew discover.

An acid filled lake looms as the most dangerous part of their quest. Moments later, they traverse it as easily as Hermie the elf and Rudolph floated away on an iceberg to Christmas Town. During the “climax” the main characters take time out to play a board game. Huh? Can you imagine Indiana Jones and Marian playing Monopoly right before the Nazi’s opened the Ark of the Covenant in “Raiders”? No? Neither can I.

Devoid of emotional impact, STRANGE WORLD is boring, a vapid dud buried in cliches and lacking any story. Losing over $100 million for Disney, it’s a costly but predictable bomb.

Checking every box except anything resembling entertainment, STRANGE WORLD gets a D.

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