Disney’s latest animated movie, Weird World, takes inspiration from classic adventure movies and magazines, but creates a story that unfortunately doesn’t get much of a kick out of it. It was obvious to me from the little marketing I saw on the film, a clear sign that the studio was abandoning its own film. It’s not that Weirdworld is completely incorrigible. This can be a fun experience for kids. Although at the Inox Kiddle, where I saw the film, the kids were more interested in the slides, they yelled “Wow!” occasionally. I didn’t mind the obsession. I knew exactly where the film was headed, less than half.
Treasures are a family of explorers, and exploration is what they will do until the Day of Judgment. At least that’s what Patriarch Jaeger Kleid (Dennis Quaid) thinks. He goes to the mountains with his son Seeker (Jake Gyllenhaal) through the lands of Avalonia. On such a journey, the Seeker discovers a plant that exudes energy. Satisfied, he wants to return, but Jaeger wants to go further and find out what is beyond the mountains. Furious at what he sees as his lack of courage and ambition, he continues while the rest of the expedition returns to their own lands.
A quarter of a century later, Avalonia is overflowing with prosperity thanks to said energy plant, dubbed Pando. Seeker is now a pando farmer and lives a quiet life away from the city. He is also a married man and his child, Ethan (Jabuki Young-White), looks more like his grandfather than he would like. His farm is visited by Avalonia’s president, Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu), who informs him that Pando’s crops are being destroyed by some sort of corruption. To find out the reason, you will have to undertake an expedition underground. In the bowels of the planet
“Strange World” is a beautiful film. Colors are used judiciously and carefully. Beneath the planet, the Avalonians discover a whole new world that we have seen in many films and novels (Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne). However, the interpretation of the underworld is quite ingenious and goes beyond appearance.
There are beings without discernible sense organs, yet they seem to make sound and are aware of their surroundings. Some resemble giant octopuses, only made from jelly. Some of them look like dragons, but are considered less dangerous due to their furry, translucent bodies. Some are just drops. All this lends the other world to the underworld.
As good as the visual experience of Strange World was, however, it failed as a film. The script, while not entirely “bad” in itself, is painfully predictable. There’s a narrative twist at the end that I suspect writer Quy Nguyen and director Don Hall saw as a twist. But the only thing he will cause is a long groan. The fact that the film comes from the Disney stables makes one wonder about one denouement. “Strange World” ends exactly as one would expect.
The cinematic enjoyment of Weird World can only be had if you are comfortable watching animated films and want to see familiar tropes and…
The last time Nguyen and Hall worked together was Raya and the Last Dragon, which was a gripping, gripping experience that kept the viewer on their toes, but not that. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I would suggest watching it instead.