STRANGE WORLD rests on a novel premise and is a visual treat.

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Strange World (English) Review {2.0/5} & Review Rating

STRANGE WORLD is the story of an explorer’s family. Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid) lives in Avalonia, a region which is surrounded by tall mountains. No one from Avalonia has been able to scale these mountains and go to the other side. Jaeger takes the initiative. He, his son Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal) and a team of explorers begin the adventure. After witnessing several obstacles on their way, the team comes across glowing plants that seem to give off energy. Searcher feels that this plant, termed Pando, can change the future for Avalonia and that they should concentrate on it rather than going off an unexplored path, which could be full of danger. The team members also side with Searcher. Jaeger doesn’t agree to it and he angrily walks away alone. Searcher and the rest of the explorers return to Avalonia. Searcher becomes famous as he harvests Pando and turns it into a fuel resource for Avalonia. 25 years pass. Thanks to Searcher’s efforts, Panda has become technologically advanced, though it’s still cut off from the rest of the world. Jaeger is presumed dead. Searcher has married Meridian (Gabrielle Union) and they have a son named Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White). All is going well until one day, Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu), the leader of Avalonia, informs Searcher that Pando seems to be losing its power. They feel the plants are getting infected and if immediate action is not taken, the Pando plants in the whole region will go extinct. This can take Avalonia back 25 years. Hence, the solution is to go to a giant sinkhole where the giant roots of Pando are located. Callisto asks Searcher to join them as they venture into the sinkhole in a flying ship. Searcher agrees. Ethan also persuades his father to enlist him, since he is bored living the life of a harvester, but Searcher refuses. Searcher, Callisto and the explorers, as planned, go deep into the sinkhole. Suddenly, Meridian comes there to inform them that Ethan and their pet dog, Legend, are hidden on the ship. Before Searcher can send Ethan, Meridian and Legend back to the base, they all get attacked by giant and strange creatures. Soon, their ship goes deeper and lands in the underground world. During the madness, Searcher and Legend get separated from the group. As they get attacked by some more strange creatures, they are rescued by a mysterious man, who turns out to be none other than Jaeger! What happens next forms the rest of the film.

Qui Nguyen’s story is promising. Qui Nguyen’s screenplay has all the ingredients of an ideal Disney family entertainer. Apart from providing entertainment, it also incorporates some important teachings. But the writing in the last part is not up to the mark. The dialogues are spot on and raise laughs.

Don Hall’s direction (co-directed by Qui Nguyen) is fair. Thanks to his execution, the conflict related to Pando is easy to comprehend. The introduction is also done in a very crisp and brief manner. In just 5 minutes, he lays out the setting and the challenges and it’s a feat to do so, considering the plot is novel and not routine. But Don does a great job in this regard. The way he has depicted the ‘strange world’ will dazzle not just kids but even adults.

However, just like at the beginning of the film, he also rushes through the climax. And this dilutes the overall impact. The twist is unpredictable but everything happens too quickly, especially the realization that Searcher has about Pando. It looks very unconvincing. Several questions also remain unanswered about the origins of Pando. Lastly, the awareness around the film is very limited in India.

When it comes to voiceovers, Jake Gyllenhaal does a great job followed by Dennis Quaid. Jaboukie Young-White’s voiceover is lovely and the way the gay character has been presented is progressive. Gabrielle Union and Lucy Liu also do well. Henry Jackman’s music is cinematic. The ‘Clade’ song, played in the intro, is peppy and well-worded. Sarah K Reimers’s editing is neat. The animation, as expected, is terrific.

On the whole, STRANGE WORLD rests on a novel premise and is a visual treat. But due to a weak climax and lack of awareness, it has limited chances to excel at the box office.



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