My Thoughts: STRANGE MAGIC (2015)

strangemagic

Oh boy, this movie is…I mean…it’s not as….you would think….I found it…ok, let’s just take this one step at a time. Hopefully that would make things easier.

Strange Magic was the 2015 animated film that I had absolutely no interest in seeing! It was a Lucasfilm production that became Disney’s property after Disney bought Lucasfilm. Disney kinda didn’t focus much on this movie and released it via Touchstone Pictures and the movie was a flop at the box office. When I saw the trailer, I thought it looked like nothing more than a dirtily-animated Epic knockoff, hence I had no desire to see it.

For example, I felt that this scene could have been done with Mandrake in it!
For example, I felt that this scene could have been done with Mandrake in it!

But, I ended up seeing it and what did I think? Let’s talk about the plot first. It’s your typical forest kingdom story: two kingdoms side-by-side, one is the good kingdom ruled and inhabited by fairies, and the other is the dark evil kingdom ruled and inhabited by bog-like creatures, goblins, and the like.

Yeah, the like!
Yeah, the like!

The leader of the evil kingdom, the Bog King, voiced by Alan Cumming, goes about destroying primrose flowers. Why? Because they’re an important ingredient in making love potions (potions that can make people/creatures fall in love) and the Bog King is against love in his kingdom. He’s even held as his prisoner the only one who can make the love potion: the Sugar Plum Fairy, voiced by Kristin Chenoweth.

"No one shall love again!" "But aren't you loving this, Bog King?"
“No one shall love again!”
“But aren’t you loving this, Bog King?”

One day, an elf named Sunny, voiced by Elijah Kelley, heads out into the dark forest to find the Sugar Plum Fairy so that she can make a love potion for him. When the Bog King hears of this, he invades the fairy kingdom and kidnaps one of the princess fairies, Dawn, voiced by Meredith Anne Bull.

To say she's a boy-obsessed perpetual flirt would be an understatement!
To say she’s a boy-obsessed perpetual flirt would be an understatement!

Dawn’s elder sister, Marianne, voiced by Evan Rachel Wood, then heads into the dark forest in order to rescue her sister from the Bog King.

I may or may not have a huge crush on her. Just saying.
I may or may not have a huge crush on her. Just saying.

I don’t want to give away too much more as this pretty much summarizes the first hour of the movie. As you can see, the plot isn’t all that great, to put it mildly, but the film does have some good points. First of all, the animation is pretty good for something that’s not true Disney or any of the major animation studios.

There is a level of believability that the animation presents that other 3rd-party animated films don't offer.
There is a level of believability that the animation presents that other 3rd-party animated films don’t offer.

Secondly, this is a jukebox musical. For those who don’t know, a jukebox musical is a musical in which the characters sing songs, but instead of singing original songs, they sing pre-existing songs. Some of the songs included are Can’t Help Falling in Love, Three Little Birds, Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You), I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch), Tell Him, and Wild Thing. While I don’t agree with all the applications of these musical numbers (some just seem to come out of nowhere), I actually am fond of this idea of a jukebox musical and the film does provide some enjoyable musical moments.

This song was in my head for days after seeing this movie.
This song was in my head for days after seeing this movie.

At one point, the film was supposed to be entirely sung, no spoken dialogue whatsoever. Rather, the characters would just be spewing out famous songs as their dialogues. I honestly wish they had done that because it’d have been a great achievement to tell an entire film only through pre-existing songs!

Basically imagine Les Miserables with a bunch of Elvis and Beatles song...on second thought, never mind!
Basically imagine Les Miserables with a bunch of Elvis and Beatles song…on second thought, never mind!

Thirdly, this movie has a bit of a Beauty and the Beast aspect to it and as you know, I’m a huge fan of the concept of Beauty and the Beast, so I have a bit of a bias towards this film because of that.

If you'll be my beauty, then I'll be your beast, Marianne. Uh...I mean, we could, you know, hang out whenever you're free, if you'd like, you totally a fictional character who doesn't happen to be human!
If you’ll be my beauty, then I’ll be your beast, Marianne. Uh…I mean, we could, you know, hang out whenever you’re free, if you’d like, you totally-a-fictional-character-who-doesn’t-happen-to-be-a-human!

Summing up, is this film good? Eh….no, I and nobody else in their right mind can call this a good film. But…

"You're gonna say that you actually liked this film, huh?"
“You’re gonna say that you actually liked this film, huh?”

No…..I mean….may….no….I mean….I dunno.

"Look, can you see yourself watching this film ever again in your lifetime? Possibly even multiple times?"
“Look, can you see yourself watching this film ever again in your lifetime? Possibly even multiple times?”

Sigh……………………………………………….Yes.

"Half of you, destroy Mark's house! Half of you, destroy Mark's car! The rest of you, destroy Mark himself!"
“Half of you, destroy Mark’s house! Half of you, destroy Mark’s car! The rest of you, destroy Mark himself!”

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18 thoughts on “My Thoughts: STRANGE MAGIC (2015)”

  1. I gave it a D because the writing was so bad. The animation was fine as you say and I didn’t mind the music except it was so uncreative. As soon as I knew there was a character named Marianne we’d get the song Marianne. It will definitely end up in my worst of the year list but it is better than last year’s bad animated movies like The Nut Job. I personally just saw Epic and thought it was much better than this and certainly find Tinker Bell to be way better than both but to each their own. I actually really like the Tinker Bell movie (and movies).

    I had a feeling writing my review that you would write just this review. Funny. 🙂

    1. I actually find the whole idea of a jukebox musical as being creative. And I honestly don’t know much about music other than film songs/musical songs, so I never even knew there was a song called ‘Marianne’, lol.

      Maybe ‘Epic’ is a better movie from a technical scale, but I feel the whole ‘Beauty and the Beast’ element (as well as my crush on Marianne, lol) causes me to get a sort of bias towards this film. I guess it’s a guilty pleasure at best.

      Well, I do agree with you that Tinker Bell is better than both these films. And I’m also pretty sure that this will be my worst animated film of 2015 also.

      1. Maybe jukebox musical was creative for Moulin Rouge or other early on project but now it’s pretty passe. But my point was the song choices were so obvious. They are dancing so they sing I Wanna Dance with Somebody. That’s not creative to me. There are other songs that are more subtly about the topic that would have been much more creative.

      2. Oh, was that a jukebox musical, lol? I didn’t realize. I actually only remember one song from that movie, that Hello song of Elton John’s. I thought he wrote that for the film specifically.

        And I guess I just didn’t notice how not subtle the song choices were. I guess they could have gone different ways with it. I guess if in real life you were to sing famous songs you would do it non-subtlely, like if you mention you’re wild, I feel that you naturally would then sing ‘Wild Thing’.

        I guess I look at it as the characters living in their own world and what comes to their mind when they have to sing.

      3. Yeah I guess it just makes it really predictable and boring when you go for the obvious choice every time.
        For me the biggest travesty of the movie was the terrible script.

      4. Again, I don’t really know anything about music other than film songs and musical songs, so the “obvious choice” of song wasn’t obvious to me, lol, since I never heard it.

        The only songs in this movie that I actually knew were Three Little Birds and Stronger.

        But yeah, if I had known these songs, then maybe the obviousness of it all might have annoyed me.

      5. With all its problems, I feel like Happy Feet was much more creative in the musical selections it picked for a jukebox musical.

      6. But regardless you are missing my point about how on the nose every song was. Being a jukebox musical is fine but be a little more creative than having a character say ‘I’m wild’ and then singing Wild Thing. That’s not creative to me.

  2. [SPOILERS]

    Yeah I feel like I should dislike this movie more than I do because it’s technically quite bad… but it has charm, I don’t know what it is. I love the fact that they end up together despite him looking the way he does… I mean even in Beauty and the Beast the Beast becomes a handsome(-ish) prince in the end.
    Also when she sings Stronger is just awesome, you go girl! And I really like her character. Her “transformation” in the beginning feels a little cliché but she’s very fun after that.
    Lastly, the sister crushing on Bog king is just hilarious.
    No wait, really lastly, it has Kristen Chenoweth and Alan Cumming, so the movie gets points for that.

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