I’m really looking forward to the day when movies go back to being movies and stop being musicals. I’m not a very big music girl. In fact, despite the fact that I am a fan of Glee, I don’t watch it for the music. I actually fast forward through the music and watch it for the storyline.
Without the music, it’s approximately 7 minutes long.
So generally, I try to avoid movies that feature a lot of singing in them. Heck, I’m the one person left on the planet who hasn’t seen Frozen and never intends to see it. With how much I’ve been forced to listen to the song Let It Go, I already feel like I’ve caught all the high points anyway.
But I decided to give Strange Magic a shot. Not because it’s a musical, but because it’s by George Lucas. This is a mad cap fairytale that is loosely based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Nights Dream. This is a land divided. On one side, there is the beautiful fairy kingdom, ruled by a King (Alfred Molina) with two daughters. The oldest is Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood), who is still recovering from getting her heart broken by Roland (Sam Palladio), the man she was getting ready to marry. On the flipside, Dawn, the youngest daughter, played by Meredith Anne Bull, is the exact opposite and spends her time flirting with her best friend Sunny (Elijjah Kelley). The other side is made up of the Dark Forest, which is kind of what you’d expect a dark forest to be. The evil Bog King (Alan Cumming) has kidnapped the sugar plum fairy (Kristin Chenoweth), and now the fairies are fighting to get her back.
The movie is a bit convoluted and I had a bit of a hard time seeing any inspiration from A Midsummer’s Nights Dream, with the exception of a fairy who makes love potions. It was a bit confusing, which isn’t really good when your target audience is under 12.
I will say the movie had a few laugh out loud moments. While critics have been panning it widely, I won’t call it terrible. The scenery is beautiful, the animation excellent and the characters are intriguing. The problem comes for the labyrinthine story line and the music, which felt a bit too Moulin Rouge for a kids movie.
It’s a bizarre film but again, it’s not terrible. It’s just a bit drawn out. Dare I say it? I think this would have been way better without the music. When watching, you’ll repeatedly wonder why a specific song was chosen at a particular time. It’s like the person who chose the music hadn’t watched the movie.
A Midsummer’s Night Dream is already a convoluted story. Adding even more to it makes it far too messy. I mean, it’s Shakespeare. Why improve on Shakespeare? Just do the movie based on the original plot, without adding in a bunch of stuff or some important life lessons about how beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
A confusing score and an even more bewildering plot line don’t really make this movie the best it could be. I think the creators would have benefited from a ‘less is more’ stance on this one. If it had been simplified, I think the movie would have really shined. As it stands now, it’s a bit of a forgettable effort.
WE GAVE IT: 2.5 Stars