Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Film Review: "Strange Magic" (2015).

The film's taglines such as "For ages two worlds lived divided: the magical and the mysterious. Until someone crossed the line..." and "Everyone deserves to be loved" describes perfectly the new animated film from Disney and Lucasfilm Strange Magic. This computer-animated musical fantasy comedy film directed by Gary Rydstrom, produced by Lucasfilm and written by Rydstrom, David Berenbaum, and Irene Mecchi, from a story by George Lucas inspired by William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The film centres on Goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion.

Lucas had long wanted to make a film for his three daughters. He described the film as Star Wars for a female audience stating "Star Wars was for 12-year-old boys; I figured I’d make one for 12-year-old girls". According to director Gary Rydstrom, the film is inspired by William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (a romantic comedy involving misunderstandings and cross-purposes between different races), the fairytales The Ugly Duckling and Beauty and the Beast, and the films American Graffiti (1973) (an anthology of stories) and Labyrinth(1986) (a quest undertaken by a female protagonist to save a sibling). Lucas described the story's main theme as the difference between infatuation and true love: "Love is on the inside, it's somebody you have common ground with. It's someone you share the same values with, common interests. You share the things that will last you the rest of your lives, and what the person looks like will not." Before The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm in late 2012, production on Strange Magic was already well underway. Rydstrom and his crew screened the film for Disney executives. In regards to the film's soundtrack, Lucas is a big fan of music and spent five years with music supervisor Steven Gizicki choosing the right songs for the film. He described it as an arduous task: "It was like a Rubik's Cube. When I went through it I had a million songs and had to narrow it down, then as the years went on we kept narrowing it down."

The film stars Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Kristin Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph, and Alfred Molina. Though the film featured a stellar cast and had them give unexpected performances, ultimately the performances were rather disappointing due to the fact that some of the cast members were not a perfect fit to the overall puzzle.

Though Strange Magic is beautifully animated and crafted, its narrative themes are all but too familiar and just does not have enough flair to make it a solid family entertainment. The story lacks the specialness of a Pixar movie — it retreads the same eco-battle archetypes as FernGully (1992) and Avatar (2009) — and it does not make it a perfectly appealing explosion of color for even a lazy summer day. It's difficult to keep its story and characters in your mind's eye, in part because the three credited screenwriters and creator George Lucas who overloaded the narrative with useless musical numbers and threatening silliness.

Simon says Strange Magic receives:

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