Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Movie Review - Strange World

Qui Nguyen coats his animated feature with world-building, transforming what is ostensibly a standard narrative into an exceptionally poignant, visually gorgeous, and thoroughly jubilant tale in a vibrant world. The writer-director has crafted a heartfelt and humorous ode to classic, pulp action-adventure comics of old with his 2022 animated film Strange World.

In terms of script, there is the old familiar framework: An emotional tale of an estranged father and son, and the legacy and expectation our previous generations can leave behind. It borrows heavily from classical works like Jules Verne’s ‘Journey To The Centre Of The Earth’, as well as Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, but there is a complexity, comedic, and contemporary feel that elevates Strange World from its pulpy premise.

We follow Jake Gyllenhaal’s Searcher Clade, the son of legendary explorer Jaeger. Gyllenhaal is our audience vehicle – an everyman character – but his complexity comes from his relationship with his father, played with roguish charm by Dennis Quaid. Jaeger disappeared on an unchartered adventure in year’s past, and now Searcher is heading on a similar trip, torn from his normal home-life by a sense of generational duty. He takes with him Ethan, his son played in earnest and humorous manner by Jaboukie Young-White, who definitively steals the show. When Jaeger, believed to be dead, is found living as a Crusoe-esque figure in a manic, goopy world of alien lifeforms, generations collide and are forced to reconcile with emotional trauma.

A film of stunning beauty – pushing the envelope on animations malleable form – Strange World is at its core an age-old message that is a more than welcome revival. Charming and disarming, the film is a triumph and the best animated feature of the year with a heart of gold.

Strange World opens tonight at the Bowen Summergarden Cinema.

Strange World is a visually gorgeous animated feature with a message of bettering our world

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