Living in weird times has been a strain on finally introducing my daughter to the world of filmgoing. The time had finally come, and Disney’s Strange World wound up being a far better choice than some of this year’s other family/animated outings. Full of amazing characters, timely themes, and enough inclusion to choke the “woke police,” this is the high flying adventure we’ve been waiting for from the Mouse House.
The adventurous Clades — Jaeger (voiced by Dennis Quaid) and his son Searcher (Jake Hyllenhaal) — are on a quest to discover what lies beyond the mountains surrounding their village. Never one to settle, after Searcher accidentally discovers plants (called “pando”) which seem to be a source of power, Jaeger sets off on his own.
Twenty-five years later, Searcher now has a family of his own — wife Meridian (voiced by Gabrielle Union) and son Ethan (voiced by Jaboukie Young-White). But destiny comes calling when they discover the pando is infected, and Jaeger’s old crew arrives to whisk them on the adventure of a lifetime to save their precious resource.
Laughs are had, life lessons are learned, and heart strings are pulled. What may catch people off guard is how relaxed Strange World is. It’s not a spoiler to say there’s no antagonist, director Don Hall — and writer/co-director Qui Nguyen — provides an entire cast of protagonists. There’s also a lovably marketable sidekick, along with all the derring-do one can handle. It strangely isn’t getting the kind of marketing we usually see out of a Disney film, but Strange World is more than a fantastic addition to the wonderful world of Disney animated features.