Overview: A love potion causes chaos, leading to a fairy getting kidnapped and an adventure in the dark forest. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; 2015; Rated PG; 99 minutes.
The Story: If Strange Magic was inspired by Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” then I’m left with no desire to read it. Heartbreak transforms a fairy, Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood) into a steadfast and bold individual. Possessing a love potion that puts the woodland creatures out of balance and a disregard for love in general, the Bog King (Alan Cumming) holds a fairy hostage in exchange for the potion. Marianne follows suit for the rescue, and her actions initiate love to emerge amongst all. This movie is as unfocused, the target audience is indiscernible, and the plot is as cheesy as it all sounds.
The Music: This movie can be cut down to thirty minutes and be ten times better. One of the weaker aspects is the overabundance of music. Producer George Lucas, who selected the songs, went on a rampage of various music collections in an attempt to appeal to both younger and older audiences. The result is a mess. The music weighs the entire production down, and not one of the songs stood out as an anthem of Strange Magic. When the exasperated children in my theater sighed, “No, not another song,” I knew that the movie had failed.
The Animation: Animation requires immense, laborious love, and this movie showcases none of that. Imagination is lacking here. The fairy sisters, Dawn and Marianne, are not distinguished enough as individuals, and their physical appearance are mere replicas of one another. Other supporting characters all share the same face as if they were mass produced; it’s lazy and unappreciative. This movie has no visual clarity. The only impressive scenes are the close-up shots: the flecks of color in the eyes, the textures of hair, or the wrinkles on the skin. The colors representing the two worlds contrast too greatly though, causing a jarring effect.
The Characters: The entire cast of characters– the fairies, elves, and the dark forest creatures– are shallow, interestingly enough since the main theme of the movie is that love should not be made based on appearances. They are unrepresentative of the current population and societal norms. Director, Gary Rydstrom’s take on early teenage years is unintentionally laughable, leading to a whiny and slap-able Dawn (Meredith Anne Bull). Roland (Sam Palladio), the heartbreaker in this tale, is atrociously sickening. He is a failed hybrid of Shrek the Third’s Prince Charming and Elvis. Strange Magic is far from the transformative tale it pretends to be.
Final Thoughts: Parents seeking a possible punishment can consider sitting through Strange Magic with their little humans.