“Strange Magic” is a new children’s animated musical. The movie is filled with fairies and elves, bright colors and magic along with dozens of familiar songs. Another familiarity is the face that brought you Strange Magic, George Lucas. A face not exactly associated with musicals or fairies, though still the man behind the film.
The lack of association however is justified. Lucas stated that for Strange Magic he was hoping to return to a past film of his, American Graffiti. Despite his intention, Strange Magic is still not a film you would expect Lucas to have created, nor would you want him to attempt again.
Strange Magic relies heavily on the strange and little on the magic. The film itself is gorgeous, with detailed and elaborate animation that gives a surreal life like quality to the environments and the characters. Each location in the film has specific designs that make it uniquely their own within the film and for the genre in general. If only the rest of the film had received the same loving attention.
The film is a musical intended for children, so the expectations for the plot began low, and stayed low throughout the course of the film. There are lovely moments tied to the main plot of the film, such as minor character arcs or morals the film wishes to tell. Overall however, the plot is generic for a children’s movie and would have been decently pleasant.
Had it not been for all of the music.
Disney kicks off it’s 2015 movie slate with a release of Lucasfilm’s “Strange Magic” via it’s Touchstone Pictures label. You know that label Disney keeps around for movies that just don’t quite fit the mold for the ‘Disney’ brand. Because of that, I’ve been cautious about the film’s potential.
That said, three clips from the film that were just released have left me a bit more confident in the animated musical from Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and, believe it or not, actually looking forward to seeing it.
First up is a clip called “ELf-Sized Serenade” and it gives an idea of how the modern music will be worked into the fairy-tale setting. Here Sunny (Elijah Kelley) and Dawn (Meredith Anne Bull) sing to each other in a musical moment from “Strange Magic”:
Another Strangely Magical music moment features “The Duel Duet” where Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood) and The Bog King (Alan Cumming) face-off in a duel. It’s obvious the film is very light-hearded, even in its darker moments.