Reviewed by: Hannah NeCamp—first time reviewer
|Featuring:||Evan Rachel Wood … Marianne (voice)
Kristin Chenoweth … Sugar Plum Fairy (voice)
Alan Cumming … Bog King (voice)
Peter Stormare … Actor (voice)
Maya Rudolph … Griselda (voice)
Alfred Molina … Actor (voice)
Elijah Kelley … Sunny (voice)
Sam Palladio … Roland (voice)
Bob Einstein … Actor (voice)
Meredith Anne Bull … Dawn (voice)
Robbie Daymond … Actor (voice)
Llou Johnson … Actor (voice)
|Producer:||Industrial Light and Magic
Lucasfilm Animation Singapore
|Distributor:||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
This is a story about love. And while it is a great movie for demonstrating how the world views love, I think, as Christians, we must ask ourselves, “What is love?” and “How is our love different from the world’s love?”
The film opens with a brief summary of itself. This is a story of the beautiful Fairy Land (with a lovely fairy princess) and the Dark Forest (a scary bug king) and how love changes them both. A bit cheesy and overplayed, already…
The main character, Princess Marianne is “in love” with a certain handsome young fairy named Roland. They are to be married, but on their wedding day, Marianne sees him kissing another fairy. She is crushed, becomes very bitter, and transforms into a young woman who doesn’t need anyone and proclaims that she will never fall in love again.
Now to the Dark Forest… The Bog King has been hurt in the past and, like Princess Marianne, has vowed that he will never love anyone again, nor will he allow anyone else to love again. Ironically, Bog’s mother is obsessed with finding him a wife. She tells him how much she desires that he should not be alone—just as, in Fairy Land, the Fairy King has been telling his daughter Marianne the exact same thing. Do you see it coming?
The Bog King and Princess Marianne do some “tough flirting”—fighting with one another in order to get to know each other better. Surprisingly, they both lower their guards and fall for one other. I think you have a pretty good idea of where this one is going.
There are certainly some positives about this movie. For example, the Bog King is portrayed as an ugly, mean, and grotesque bug. He makes a comment about how no one could ever love him; he’s too ugly. Princess Marianne tells him that he’s not ugly, and although I believe that their love is extremely shallow, there is a valuable lesson here to not judge a book by its cover.
“I’m ugly. Why was God so unfair to me this way?” Answer
Without spoiling the movie, it is interesting to see that once again, Hollywood uses the theme of sacrificial love. “Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends” —John 15:13
On the other hand, there is some wrong thinking that gets plenty of time in “Strange Magic.”
The idea that if you are not married or in a relationship with someone, then you are a problem in need of fixing, is simply wrong-headed and not wise counsel. It often creates terrible problems for young persons, as well as old. The Lord ordains our lives with the most loving care. He promises to never leave us. Therefore we should not worry about one another being “alone.”
We should be trusting the Lord to direct our paths and not trying to direct our own.
There is also the predictable element in the story of a young person defying the counsel and direction of her parent… but everything turns up roses in the end. See “The Little Mermaid,” et al.
And there is plenty more.
Heed the majority of movie critics on this film; it really is not a very good movie. Don’t waste your money or your time on it. Overall, this film is directed toward children while having very adult themes. While being an animated film with beautiful colors, fantastical creatures, and a love story, this film falls utterly short in conveying a positive lesson about love to our children. It must be far more than the lightning-fast, emotionally-based, very shallow kind of attraction that too often fails to endure. They need to learn about love from Ephesians 5 and 1 Corinthians 13, not from “Strange Magic.”
You may have read that the story is supposed to follow Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” (loosely). This will simply go over most children’s heads.
You should know that watching this movie is something like watching a string of music videos—music video covers, actually. Mostly, this was more annoying than fun, however some may enjoy the imitations.
Objectionable content (with kids in mind): Griselda shows off her leg, in a flirtatious manner, and reminisces about when she was younger and “hot.” There is a reference to shaking one’s “booty.” Inappropriate comment is made about a goblin being naked. Marianne goes on a tangent about how horrible Roland was and starts calling him a “son of a…” but is stopped. Roland passionately kisses a bug and gets an antenna in his mouth.
Violence: Moderate / Language: Minor (no profanity) / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…This ill-conceived take on Shakespeare's fairy tale makes for one bad “Dream.” …A shrill, garish hodgepodge …there’s virtually nothing about this forced, fractured fairy tale that feels remotely fresh or involving. …
—Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter
…Strange, indeed, but not magicical… A noxious cauldron of ingredients that shouldn’t have been mixed: fairies, Shakespeare and classic rock. …
—Rafer Guzmán, Long Island Newsday
…“Strange Magic” is jaw-droppingly terrible… [1/4]
—Lou Lumenick, New York Post
You can’t judge a book by its cover, but sometimes a film’s release date tells you a lot. …A kids’ movie coming out anytime except when the kids are all off from school? Um, yeah. Well. OK then. …It’s a lot of nothing. …
—Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)
…The results are nightmarish. …Kids won’t have a clue what’s going on most of the time. … [1½/4]
—Linda Barnard, The Toronto Star
…indeed strange. What’s missing is the magic. …plays more like a very long music video than a feature film…
—Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
…mostly wholesome, but caution is advised for children. …
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…includes oddly psychedelic, kaleidoscopic interludes, which make me wonder whether this flick isn’t so much aimed at grade school kids as it is at college students bored out of their minds (and maybe stoned out of their skulls). …
—Paul Asay, Plugged In