Strange World movie poster

Strange World

In theaters November 23, 2022



102 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , , , ,

It’s not often an animated movie comes along that is so surprising in both story and execution, that you find yourself recommending it the moment you finish watching it. Coco (2017) was one. The Mitchells vs the Machines (2021) was another. For 2022, it’s Disney’s Strange World.

It’s been 25 years since Searcher Clade (Jake Gyllenhaal), has seen his father Jaeger (Dennis Quaid), a world-famous adventurer lost on a joint expedition to the other side of the mountains surrounding Avalonia. In that time, Searcher has gotten married to Meridian (Gabrielle Union) and has a 16-year-old son, Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White). He’s also cultivated a plant-based power source called pando, which powers everything from airships to coffee makers to lights. Unfortunately, something is causing the pando plants to break down early, severely reducing the amount of energy they produce. President Callisto (Lucy Liu) calls on Searcher to join her expedition to discover what’s killing pando and save it and Avalonia. Searcher believes his exploring days are over, but Ethan believes there’s something more than farming (even if it is the most important natural resource ever) out there, and is very eager to see what that might be. Their unexpected journey takes them to a place no one knew existed with unusual creatures, some friendly and benevolent, others ravenous and very dangerous. It’s Disney, so of course, they’ll discover things about themselves, each other, and the complicated world they live in.

Strange World is real-world-inclusive. Even Legend, the family dog is a happy, energetic three-legged mutt who is loveable and dumb as a bag of hair. and that means that a certain sub-section of people will hate it, but we don’t care about their feelings. This movie isn’t for them, and they can go kick rocks.

Akin to Jules Verne’s novels Journey To the Center Of The Earth (1871) and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1872), Strange World feels like a mid-Century adventure filled with impossible creatures and enthusiastic Explorers. The dialogue is clever and modern, with parents Searcher and Meridian acting like actual people we know – smart and sassy with feelings and emotions. These are complicated characters dealing with a real-world issue and neither the story nor their reactions to what they see and experience feels canned or forced. As the story unfolds and the pieces fall into place, you may find yourself amazed at how what looks obvious was so well-hidden in plain sight, and you’re not mad about it.

Strange World is a family-friendly movie that doesn’t forget the entire family likes to watch movies together without feeling like they’re too young or too old. Adults won’t feel like they’re losing brain cells and kids should feel exhilarated by the bright colors, exciting action, and the age-appropriate danger feels thrilling without any blood. The connection of father to son, and then father to son, and it’s very relatable if you’ve never quite managed to achieve the lofty expectations of, well – anyone.

Strange World (2022) is rated PG for dads yelling at their kids (no matter the generation), airships that dive, mild electrocution, creatures that eat everything, awkward teen crushes, and parental affection that makes everyone uncomfortable.

Strange World is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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