Strange World Parent Guide
Visuals and voice acting are superb, character development is strong, and there are solid messages aplenty. Unfortunately, the plot is often weak and poorly focused.
Parent Movie Review
Avalonia is an isolated community surrounded by perilous, seemingly unending mountains. Convinced that there must be a way past the mountains, legendary adventurer Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid) sets out on numerous expeditions, all unsuccessful. On one fateful mission, Jaeger’s son, Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal), finds a mysterious, electric plant. With one believing their future is in these plants, and one still stubbornly searching for a new home, father and son part ways. Twenty five years later, Searcher has helped turn the plants into an energy source for Avalonia but they are starting to succumb to a mysterious illness. Reluctantly, Searcher sets out on one more adventure, this time with his son, Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White) in tow.
Nostalgia is in right now, whether you like it or not. Ironically, although Strange World is an original story, itis not terribly distinctive. The world, though beautiful to look at, is almost entirely referential. The style, creatures, and human creations all harken back to sources like H.P Lovecraft, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and Fantastic Voyage. This is not itself a bad thing, as the film is obviously trying to style itself after a vintage pulp adventure comic, but it is indicative of the predictable storyline, which is detrimental to the finished product.
The visuals and voice acting are phenomenal and are worth the price of admission. The writing, however, is lacking. The characters themselves are decently written, and there are a few good laughs, but the plot overall is predictable and lacks the stakes that would jack up the tension and excitement. Or at the very least, the high stakes are diminished by the lack of focus and the ill-timed jokes that undermine the more serious moments. Relationships between the characters, especially the three male Cades, are well developed and powerful, but they can overshadow the adventure, which sometimes takes a back seat.
Although not reaching the highs of recent triumphs like Encanto, Strange World is still one of Disney’s better outputs in recent years. The story and writing are flawed, but still effective in delivering powerful messages about resourcefulness, legacy, family relationships and living in harmony with nature. There is very little negative content, making this a great choice for most audiences. Although I was picking apart the story structure (as English majors are wont to do), the children in the theater seemed to be having a great time, so maybe I’m the real problem here. If you, and the children in your life, like adventure, nostalgia, and stories about father-son dynamics, this is a perfectly serviceable, if somewhat forgettable, option.Directed by Don Hall. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union. Running time: 102 minutes. Theatrical release November 23, 2022. Updated November 23, 2022
Watch the trailer for Strange World
Rating & Content Info
Why is Strange World rated PG? Strange World is rated PG by the MPAA for action/peril and some thematic elements.
Violence: The plot contains some mild adventure peril. A character regularly uses a flamethrower as a weapon.
Sexual Content: A married couple kiss.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None. Adult characters are seen drinking out of glass bottles, but there is no indication as to the contents.
Page last updated November 23, 2022
Strange World Parents' Guide
How do Searcher and Jaeger differ? How are they similar? How do these differences and similarities affect their relationship?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Nurture your child’s inner explorer with Lonely Planet’s Hidden Wonders: A Guide to the Planet’s Wildest, Weirdest Places.
Kids looking for even more of a thrill can look for Atlas of Adventures: A collection of natural wonders, exciting experiences and fun festivities from the four corners of the globe. Written by Rachel Williams and illustrated by Lucy Letherland, this book will give wannabe explorers plenty of things to put on their bucket lists.
Past explorers come to life in Deborah Kespert’s Explore! The Most Dangerous Journeys of All Time. Young readers can follow Columbus, Lewis and Clark, Earhart, Cousteau and Gagarin as they brave the unknown and take immense risks in the quest to learn more about the world and outer space.
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