"Strange Magic" Casts a Spell on Home Audiences

Touchstone Home Entertainment and Lucasfilm casts a spell on audiences with their release of “Strange Magic” on DVD… and ONLY DVD. I can’t quite understand why an animated movie obviously crafted with a solid high-definition transfer in mind wasn’t brought out on Blu-ray. Movies that bomb at the box office and get bad reviews are put out on Blu-ray every week. Why draw the line at a film created by George Lucas which will certainly do better than others without the “Star Wars” creator’s name attached to it? Inquiring minds may never know.

In "Strange Magic," the Bog King (Alan Cumming) is the leader of the Dark Forest. He hates the notion of love and has ordered the destruction of all primroses, which are an essential ingredient of love potions. However, when he meets Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood), a feisty fairy princess whose heart was broken by a philandering fiancé, he begins to change his mind. Meanwhile, an elf named Sunny (Elijah Kelley) makes his way to the Dark Forest to collect enough primrose petals for a potion of his own.

“Strange Magic” has a good life lesson at its core, even if elements of the story and plot seem familiar to those we’ve seen in other movies featuring fairy tale lands, elves, dwarfs, and the likes. The two sisters in the film remind me of the ones in “Frozen,” which might or might not be a coincidence.

The only thing that drives me crazy about “Strange Magic” is how every question or problem posed in the movie is answered by a Top 40 musical number from the 1960s through now. I guess I should expect that from a film promoted as a musical version of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The movie is rated PG for some action and scary images. The Bog King gets a bit dark in some instances and could startle younger viewers. A few of the chase and rescue sequences might be distressing for some children as well.

There’s a limited amount of bonus material for “Strange Magic.” The 5-minute featurette “Creating the Magic” includes interviews with Executive Producer / Story Writer George Lucas and other cast and crew. “Magical Mashup” contains outtakes, tests, and melodies for viewers to enjoy.

“Strange Magic” isn’t anywhere near as bad as reviewers make it out to be. The animation is quality and up to the standards of today. Why wouldn’t it be when it comes from prestigious effects and CGI houses like Lucasfilm and ILM? I have one question for everyone in closing. Did anyone else out there think that the Fairy King resembled George Lucas?

"Strange Magic" is available on DVD and as a Digital Download.




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