Strange Magic Parent Review
Strange Magic is indeed a strange little story about two co-existing worlds. In one half of the kingdom everything is sunshine and flowers with happy fairies, elves and imps. On the other darker half, live the Bog King (voice by Alan Cumming), scary looking goblins and talking mushrooms. If all goes well, the two will never meet.
Of course that won’t happen. A collision is inevitable because one side has something the other side wants.
Roland (voice by Sam Palladio) intends to marry the fairy Princess Marianne (voice by Evan Rachel Wood) and become king so he can command an army. But the self-centered pretender gets caught kissing someone else just before the wedding. Finished with the idea of love, Marianne trades in her romantic notions and filmy dress for boots, leggings and a sword to show us she is serious about being an independent woman. However the wimpy Roland knows the only way he’ll raise in the ranks is by marrying the future Queen.
When he discovers Sunny the troll (voice by Elijah Kelley) is in love with Marianne’s flirtatious little sister Dawn (voice by Meredith Anne Bull), he realizes both men can get what they want, if they can get a little help from a love potion. Unfortunately the Sugar Plum Fairy (voice by Kristin Chenoweth) is the only one with the power to make the magic elixir. However, she’s been imprisoned by the powerful Bog King.
Following the themes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Beauty and the Beast, this musical film is full of romantic hits from past decades. (Surprisingly Love Potion No. 9—an obvious choice—doesn’t show up in the soundtrack.) Almost every scene has a melodic interlude with one character or another belting out the words of a classic rock tune or Top 40 song. The script will be an easy adaptation if producer George Lucas ever decides to take it to the stage.
In the meantime the film boasts exquisitely animated backgrounds. Unfortunately the characters have faces that look oddly like a bobble-head on a doll body. Despite 3D animation, their personalities are a little more one-dimensional. From the minute Roland opens his mouth and twists the golden lock of hair on his forehead, we know he won’t be the hero of the story. And as much as Marianne goes on and on about her dislike of love, we know exactly where she is headed as well.
When it comes to content issues this film has little for parents to worry about, other than a few scary moments, cartoon-style violence and interspecies kissing after the love potion is dispersed over the forest. But if you plan to buy tickets for this curious little film, you’ll need to go for the music and not the storyline—because that is as gossamery as fairy wings.Directed by Gary Rydstrom. Starring Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Kristin Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph, Sam Palladio, Meredith Anne Bull, Alfred Molina, Elijah Kelley. Running time: 99 minutes. Theatrical release January 23, 2015. Updated May 18, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Strange Magic here.
Strange Magic Parents Guide
Talk about the movie with your family…
Why are the Bog King and Marianne both so negative about love? Is one bad relationship indicative that nothing will ever go right? What is the best way to get over a broken heart?
In a Wired article George Lucas says Star Wars was designed for 12-year-old boys and Strange Magic was designed for 12-year-old girls. But there seems to be some similarities between the two films, including flying insects that look a lot like flying pod racers. What other resemblances can you find? What does this story say to young girls about falling in love? What influence, if any, might it have on the person they fall in love with?
How do the Bog King’s mother and Marianne’s father feel about their children’s romances? Why does the fairy king think Marianne will be a stronger ruler with a king at her side?
More About the Movie:
From the Studio: Strange Magic, a new animated film from Lucasfilm Ltd., is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colourful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion. Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Industrial Light & Magic bring to life the fanciful forest turned upside down with world-class animation and visual effects. - Touchstone Picture