Strange World: A living failure

December 6, 2022

Disney’s Strange World released in theaters on November 23 to middling reviews. With a combination of negative reviews and poor marketing Strange World seemed to be, more or less, set up to fail by Disney.

The plot of the movie was really simple. A group of people had to explore a world below theirs in order to save their civilization. The plot was done in such a way that made the movie intriguing from start to finish. Lately, Disney has been making films that are only interesting in some parts with a storyline that has been repeated many times before. It was nice to see Disney take a simple plot and branch out the story in a fresh way. 

Strange World focuses on a family coming together, but also shows that they aren’t perfect and have distinctive personalities from one another. The story for this film felt unique because it focused less on the stories of the individual characters and more on bringing the characters together towards their common goal . Disney hasn’t taken this approach very often so it’s refreshing to see them step out of their comfort zone.

Each character was built with distinctive features such as Searcher Clades shedding of tradition, Jaeger Clades adherence to tradition, and Ethan Clade being stuck between. These features, while contradictory, are intentionally made as such; they play an integral part in the growth of each character as well as in the lead up to the grand reveal of the movie. 

The animation of the two worlds were full of colors that were pleasing to the eyes. Within the town of Avalonia, it is filled with earthy tones like deep greens and browns while the world below is filled with a lot of pastel colors with a few that stand out like the blue of the character Splat and the sky filled with yellows and pinks, almost resembling a sunset. 

The juxtaposition of the two worlds in their color palettes really adds to the sense of the unknown that is present throughout the film. This “unknown” is underlined by other feelings of interconnectedness and wonder which only seem to illuminate the ever present differences in the characters. Leading to a level of world building that Disney has been missing in many of their recent animated films.

While Strange World brought a lot of positive things to the world of Disney it was ultimately poorly received, being touted as just another corporate cash grab, uninspired, and just plainly not very good. 

These negative reviews were not helped by the poor marketing done by Disney leading up to the movie with many saying they didn’t even know Strange World came out. Ultimately giving the impression that Disney wasn’t confident in the project and didn’t care enough to advertise it. 

All of this coupled together would, in the end, lead Strange World to be a box office failure losing an estimated $100 million dollars.

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