Strange Magic (2015)

“Strange Magic,” a new animated film, is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion.”

– Lucasfilm, IMDB.

Strange Magic is brought to us by Lucasfilm. The story, inspired by A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, was written by George Lucas who had been working on the project for 15 years before production began. Lucas described the film as Star Wars for a female audience, and is said to have wanted to make a film for his 3 daughters. The film currently holds a rating of 15% on Rotten Tomatoes. One review called it “The best Lucasfilm in 25 years”.

Some thoughts from me (Potential spoilers below)…
Every so often a Princess movie comes along and it strikes me in such a way that it becomes my obsession for a good long while. Strange Magic, a random Netflix find, is one of those movies. While many of the movies on this blog are horrendously animated, Strange Magic has (for the most part) very decent animation and design. What makes Strange Magic ‘bad’ is entirely the fault of the bad story and weird characters. It’s a nice reminder that bad animation is not the end all/be all of what makes a movie terrible.

As alluded to in the summary above, this is a ‘jukebox musical’, where pre-existing songs are strung together to form the movie’s soundtrack. Allegedly, George Lucas originally wanted the soundtrack to be entirely comprised of Beatles songs, but decided against this when it was realised how expensive this would be. The songs in the film are amazingly eclectic, often times they don’t really seem to fit the scene, lyrically or musically. After hearing a rather incomprehensible lyric, one character remarks “What does that even mean?”.

I forget how many times I ended up watching this one, or how many times I forced my friends to watch this one. It’s the type of bad film that makes me happy every time I re-watch it.

I think one of the things that makes me laugh the most in Strange Magic is how the movie handles the romance between Marianne and the Bog King, our leads. Their relationship starts kicking off because they bond over their mutual hate of love, which comes after they’ve spent an entire movie sparring and trading jabs with each other. Their relationship, despite being a plot development you can sense coming from a mile away, still manages to feel like it comes from nowhere… but I’ll be the first to admit that by the end of the film I’m rooting for these two. 

Strange Magic is one of those great films that makes me laugh, but also manages to genuinely endear me to it. I’d definitely recommend adding this one to your movie night roster. 

References

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