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New Disney/Lucasfilm Animated Movie: Strange Magic

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by Sword_Of_Goliath, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. GunganSlayer

    GunganSlayer Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Completely agree. This poster is atrocious, just like the general marketing campaign for the film has been. We finally got official confirmation in like November that the film not only still existed (after years of general silence) but that it was also being released in under 2 months. It's great that Disney didn't pull the plug on this project when they purchased Lucasfilm (liked they pulled the plug on several near-complete LucasArts projects), but it's obvious they just dumped this film into theaters.
     
  2. Ingram_I

    Ingram_I Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 7, 2012
    It's nice to see that so many here thoroughly enjoyed the movie. For me, the experience was slightly more mixed. Strange Magic is bizarrely bad ...in a way that sort of works (?) :confused:

    If I were to address the most conventional criticism, it could be summed up in two words: too much.

    In general, too much stuff going on. Too many characters and sidekicks, and sidekicks of those sidekicks. Too many jokes and sight gags per capita; nearly every scene on the verge of bursting into slapstick confetti. Total scattershot narrative. More to the point, too much musical content. The concept of the film -- Midsummer Night's Dream loosely sketched into a quasi-familiar fairytale setting scored by Top 100 billboard hits spanning the past six decades -- is great, or at least innocently fun. The execution, however, was anything but simple, attributed first and foremost to the plain fact that there are too many songs. With such rapid fire excess, not one of them ever really stands out. The whole affair is ironically, musically forgettable, with the exception of offbeat moments of seeming spontaneity here and there that hint at what might have been if reigned-in with greater discipline.

    In American Graffiti the steady flow of pop-songs were heard acoustically, in-camera, in-world, as a background cacophony that narrated the various characters/storylines in a more abstract manner. Here, it’s all refashioned into show tune musical numbers, upfront and in your face. The effect can be overbearing, if not downright garish. Yet, distancing one’s self even further from the movie to study it for the oddity that it is, said sing-alongs gradually blend together as a stream-of-jukebox-thought. It’s peculiar, and even kinda gutsy in terms of fortitude matched with sheer reckless abandon. Likewise in how Lucas and director Gary Rydstrom have appropriated the tropes of a whimsical storybook premise with topsy-turvy intentions.

    The realm of the Fairy Kingdom, for example, is vaguely spoofed, with the uncanny valley-ness of its fairy and elf characters (the latter of whom look more like kitschy garden gnomes) giving way to subtle self-mockery; their exaggerated blitheful expressions and hyphenated musical cheeriness often undercut by vapidity or met with looks of bemusement. There’s even some inspired referencing: the ignoble Prince Roland evoking a curious weave of rockabilly Nicolas Cage with Nicolas Cage as the dopey, doo-woping boyfriend from Coppola’s Peggy Sue Got Married, while the bearded, portly Fairy King bears a resemblance to Lucas himself—a filmmaker who has since commented on the paternal woes of managing teenage daughters. There is indeed a genuine strand of novelty concerning the two main characters, Princes Marianne and the Bog King, which I don’t think has received due credit from critics, and their shared arc is enough to keep the story centered and engaging amidst all the run amok peripherals.

    Thankfully, the majority of the screen time is spent in the more imaginatively realized Dark Forest, a place inhabited by minion-goblins and imps rendered with Henson-like conceptual design, and with what I honesty consider an unprecedented variety for such fantasy filmmaking. Many are quick to rag on the movie for pulling too much from contemporary animated outings like Shrek and Frozen but, really, it's this kooky creatured aspect that tonally harkens back far more to the darkly denizen wonderlands of Return of the Jedi and Labyrinth, and was without a doubt the highlight for me, the part of this world I wanted to explore endlessly. That the very poster for this movie is devoted solely to these background characters doesn’t surprise me the least; few things are more instantly appealing to the littlest of viewers.

    Warts and all, Strange Magic remains an eccentric, twisty-winding fantasy world with no shortage of personality, and there is a definite kind of 'kitchen sink' appeal that I suspect might endure years from now as a fan favorite, or even milder cult hit. It truly is an uncouth scallywag of an animated feature, charming in such respects. If nothing else, it is technically well-made, even dazzling at times. But I think most of all the movie earns its title. Name me a prestigious work from Pixar or Studio Ghibli moxie enough to bring down the curtains on the most unsuspecting of prepubescent audiences with a kaleidoscopic psychedelia rendition of 'Wild Thing'. Points scored for, well, strangeness.
     
  3. Ingram_I

    Ingram_I Force Ghost star 5

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    Sep 7, 2012
    Damn double post.
     
  4. The_Phantom_Calamari

    The_Phantom_Calamari Force Ghost star 5

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    Nov 10, 2011
    Just saw it with my little brother and sister. It was a fun little movie. Nothing mindblowing, but Lucas and Rydstrom have nothing to be ashamed of. Too bad about its box office performance so far.
     
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  5. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 7

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    Nov 12, 2012
    ShaneP likes this.
  6. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 7

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    Nov 12, 2012
    Oh, Strange Magic box office upside: It made more money than Johnny Depp's new movie!
     
  7. GunganSlayer

    GunganSlayer Jedi Master star 3

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    Jan 24, 2013
    Yeah, I've been reading reports here and there that Disney did have some reworkings done to the project, which makes it even more mind-bending that they just dumped the film in theaters.
     
  8. Darth_Harmon

    Darth_Harmon Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2005
    Caught an early showing of Strange Magic, my thoughts:

    I enjoyed this movie far FAR more than I thought I would after reading several negative reviews. I really don't care about explaining why reviewers hated this *COUGH*Lucas bias*COUGH*

    I'd best describe the movie as a children's adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream taking place in a land of fairies, trolls, and other small forest creatures with an animation style similar to Shrek, but minus the fairy tale satire and pop culture references with a dash of Willow, Labyrinth, and told via Moulin Rouge's melding of music from various decades. The characters are aware they are singing, but where the songs come from isn't explained (thankfully) and the music selection was great for the most part. To compare, before the movie there was a trailer for Dreamworks' Home which used Sean Paul's Get Busy. Like, why use such an awful unmemorable song from 2003?

    Unlike a majority of the reviewers, I found the first half very easy to follow and I did not get lost in a sea of characters. The movie has a large cast, but each character plays their part and everybody gets enough screen time. The intro does a good job laying out the schism between lands, and I thought the filmmakers did a fantastic job throwing conventions out the window. I honestly did not see the twist, but looking back I can't see the movie working without it.

    I was actually reminded of Studio Ghibli films when watching the movie, with a large cast of eccentric characters, surprisingly no onscreen deaths or true villians. I also saw a bit of George and Katie Lucas in the design of the king and his daughter, and the literal yin yang at the end of the movie reminded me of The Clone Wars Mortis arc and Star Wars general light and dark themes.

    Overall, a good film. Not perfect, but a real surprise and the first movie of 2015 that I can say I genuinely enjoyed.

    ---

    Disney really dropped the ball with the marketing and the release. With the strong love themes, this should have been released around Valentine's Day and the focus for the ads should have been on the romance and the lead characters.
     
  9. Ingram_I

    Ingram_I Force Ghost star 5

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    Sep 7, 2012
    I don't think they dropped the ball in so much as they never bothered to catch it in the first place. Last year's The Book of Life, an equally offbeat animated passion project from Guillermo del Toro, made close to $100 million total. If not, for all intents and purposes, given the underhanded middle finger by Disney, this movie could have at least made back its budget. Even with such a close business relationship/history, it seems they still regard any projects with Lucas directly involved as the proverbial redheaded stepchild.
     
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  10. Pensivia

    Pensivia Force Ghost star 5

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    Apr 24, 2013
    I haven't seen SM, but I did notice that, in the Jan 16 CBS This Morning interview clip I posted in this thread, GL referred to himself as the the old "curmudgeon bog king" who finally "found his princess" (in response to the interviewer's reference to the fact that he "found love late in life"). Maybe one reason the relationship came off as "heartfelt"?!?:)
     
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  11. -Jedi Joe-

    -Jedi Joe- Jedi Master star 2

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    May 6, 2013
    Saw this film last night with a friend. She and I were both perplexed on how bad the reviews were! It was an adorable little animated flick that was very entertaining. I really liked it and I may get it when it comes out on Blu-Ray. I enjoyed the story and the vocal performances, with a good treat of crisp CG animation. It was criminally underrated and I can only really pin the bad reviews on what Darth_Harmon elegantly described as a Lucas bias. It was, in my opinion, on par with some of Pixar's good entries and much better than most of what Dreamworks, Universal and Sony put out.

    PS: Did anyone catch the little Star Wars nod when Marianne was deflecting the bugs while blindfolded? :p
     
  12. Darth_Harmon

    Darth_Harmon Jedi Master star 4

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    Jul 4, 2005
    Yeah, I can easily say that I enjoyed it more than Pixar's Brave, if we're comparing it to other recent CG fantasy films.
     
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  13. Leoluca Randisi

    Leoluca Randisi Jedi Grand Master star 6

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    Jun 24, 2014
    I dont know, I love it although I havent seen the movie yet but I love the poster, I even made It my Desk Top Wallpaper !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  14. Alexrd

    Alexrd Force Ghost star 6

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    Jul 7, 2009
    I think they mean that it's a bad poster in the sense that it doesn't represent the movie and what it's about (i.e: no main characters). Not that it's badly composited or has any technical flaw.
     
  15. EternalHero

    EternalHero Jedi Master star 3

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    Feb 17, 2014
    Saw it again. Loved it again. More! Only 3 other people in the audience.
     
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  16. Leoluca Randisi

    Leoluca Randisi Jedi Grand Master star 6

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    Jun 24, 2014
    @Alexrd I know what you are saying, maybe after I see the movie I will feel differently ?
     
  17. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 7

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    Nov 12, 2012
    I was in Subway yesterday and the radio station, whatever it was, was playing this song from the soundtrack:



    C'mon Marianne / Stronger with Sam Palladio and Evan Rachel Wood. At least I definitely noticed the "Stronger" part at the end of the song when it kicked in, so that's a thing. Maybe Wood's song was sent out as a single? Pretty sure it was this version and not the original, though.
     
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  18. Leoluca Randisi

    Leoluca Randisi Jedi Grand Master star 6

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    Jun 24, 2014
    The movie still has not hit my discount theater so I still have not seen it :(
     
  19. Darth_Harmon

    Darth_Harmon Jedi Master star 4

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    Jul 4, 2005
    -Jedi Joe- likes this.
  20. BigAl6ft6

    BigAl6ft6 Force Ghost star 7

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    Nov 12, 2012
    Woah? Really? That movie looks fantastic, probably it's biggest selling point, it'd be great on bluray.
     
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  21. Alexrd

    Alexrd Force Ghost star 6

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    Jul 7, 2009
    Yeah, saw the news as well. But I don't recall this being common with Disney. What other (new) movies did they not release on Blu-ray?
     
  22. ATMachine

    ATMachine Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 27, 2007
    My question is... what other old movies haven't they released on Blu-Ray yet?
     
  23. Darth_Harmon

    Darth_Harmon Jedi Master star 4

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    Jul 4, 2005

    It's not so much that as it is Disney not showing much respect for older tv shows and movies that aren't their animated classics, also Disney doesn't show much respect for content they've acquired and didn't produce themselves. Most of the Disney Afternoon shows have had their DVD releases abandoned, as have The Muppet Show. You'd think Disney with all the money they have could afford to take a few risks by completing these series and giving lesser content (like Strange Magic) a blu-ray release.

    I would not be surprised if The Clone Wars The Lost Missions wasn't happening on blu-ray and DVD until Dave and the team pushed for it.
     
  24. EternalHero

    EternalHero Jedi Master star 3

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    Feb 17, 2014
    I guess they're gunning for the Target/Walmart/K-mart impulse-buy market. I can't wait to own it, anyway.
     
    -Jedi Joe- likes this.
  25. -Jedi Joe-

    -Jedi Joe- Jedi Master star 2

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    May 6, 2013
    Well damn, I was looking forward to getting it on Blu-Ray. I guess I'll have to get the digital copy to watch it in sparkling HD.