tells the story of two side by side kingdoms, the Fairy Kingdom and the Dark Forest. Along the border grow magical flowers, which are used for love potions, but the Bog King (Alan Cumming) from the Dark Forest wants them destroyed.
The story follows fairy Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood), who is about to marry fellow fairy Roland (Sam Palladio), until she discovers he is unfaithful and swears off love. Things take a turn for the worse after a love potion is created and her sister (Meredith Anne Bull) is accidentally dosed and then kidnapped. Eventually she goes head to head with the Bog King, who may not be as evil as he seems.
The story is a romance with classic themes: a princess melts the heart of a monster; the beast can get the beauty. While the story is very cliche at times, it still should be enjoyable to a younger audience or someone looking for a happily ever-after fairytale.
The characters are cute and have fun personalities. Many of the supporting characters stand out as much as the leads with their quirkiness, such as elf Sunny (Elijah Kelley). One character I especially thought was cute and funny was the imp (Brenda Chapman), who actually had no speaking lines (more creature sounds), but was so cute and mischievous. There are quite a few funny moments throughout the film as the characters try to reach their goals.
The film is visually beautiful. While it's not as polished as some CGI films, the world created is lush and colorful. It's a great fantasy atmosphere that fits the film perfectly. There are many different types of creatures and animals, from goblins to lizards to mice, all with unique designs that work to add to the world. Strange Magic
is a musical, which unfortunately at times is a detriment to the film. The first half of the movie is almost completely singing and at times feels like straight dialog would have worked better.
That being said, I appreciated the fact that most of the songs were recognizable tunes, many modern hits (such as songs made popular by Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson, for example), and a few mashups, which is not usually the case of films such as this, which tend to come with their own new soundtrack.
The voice casting is great, and the voice actors do know how to sing. Probably the best of the bunch is of course Broadway singer Kristen Chenoweth, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, however the rest stand up.
Although much of the film felt predictable, and it was easy to guess many of the plot points, I still found Strange Magic
to be a cute and fun animation. It's not going to go down with populars like Frozen
, but I think it's quite enjoyable and funny and can be watched by the whole family together, although it does skew to a younger audience. If you are looking for a romantic and sweet love story with smart animation, check out Strange Magic
. Bonus Features Creating the Magic
This feature is over five minutes. Executive Producer George Lucas talks about doing the project for fun, and the director, Gary Rydstrom, says that Lucas wanted it to be something different and detailed. Lucas goes on to explain some of the design choices, such as striking a balance between realism and stylized. During this some scenes are show as well as some early versions before the animations were finalized.
The actors also are shown talking about their characters and doing voice work.
Lucas, Rydstrom, writer Irene Mecchi, and the actors talk about the music, and Lucas explains that the idea originally was for it to be like an opera with everything sung, but instead of writing original music, using old love songs to tell the story.
They also explain the overall message of the film, that everyone deserves to be loved, and it doesn't have to do with the way you look; you can be unique and weird and still find love in unexpected places. Magical Mash Up: Outtakes, Tests, and Melodies
This feature is about four minutes long. It's the actors singing some of the songs, while also shown are unfinished clips, storyboards, character sketches, animation tests, and more. Sneak Peeks
There is only one trailer, and it's of Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Lost Missions
The bonus features were good for what they were, but it really could have done with a lot more. Being CGI, I expected more features on making and animating the film, which there weren't, and it was disappointing. Packaging
The DVD is in a normal black clamshell case. Unfortunately, the film was only released on DVD, not Blu-ray, yet strangely is available on Digital HD, that does not come with the product. This is really disappointing, as the visuals would pop so much more on Blu-ray.