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Strange Magic seems like the type of film that should have been a VOD/ Direct to DVD release but instead was released in theaters.
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story
Two kingdoms have been split apart for eons. One side being the fairy kingdom, and the other being the dark kingdom. Of the fairy kingdom, there is Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood) and Dawn (Meredith Anne Bull) who are the princesses, and of the dark kingdom there is only the Bog King (Alan Cumming). Peace is maintained by a clear line which neither side crosses. That is until Sunny (Elijah Kelley) decides to cross the line in pursuit of a love potion. Thus setting off the Bog King who has long kept the sole maker of the love potion, the Sugar Plum Fairy (Kristin Chenoweth), locked away for years.
One of the first things you’ll notice is the animation within Strange Magic is quite beautiful. Not on a Final Fantasy level, but certainly detailed and cute enough to leave you in slight awe. But then comes the music. Of which, thankfully, when it comes to the Fairy Kingdom’s side of the soundtrack, are all mostly recognizable tunes from Kelly Clarkson among others.
Now, as for the story, I won’t pretend that Strange Magic goes places you wouldn’t expect for a kid’s film, nor does it try to make its message/ lesson not seem overdone. However, despite the way the message is given, there remain some touching moments which may get you a little teary-eyed toward the end. Well, at least if you are a sap like me.
As noted in the overview, there is something about this film which truly doesn’t seem like it deserves a theatrical release. Perhaps because it has a similar look and feel to those new Tinkerbell movies Disney has been releasing, just with a better animation budget, and music. And while the music of the Fairy Kingdom is good, or perhaps tolerable is a better word, the Dark Kingdom’s music, to me, was the most obscure rock music I have ever heard. For most of the film’s soundtrack is love songs, and while we get “What Doesn’t Kill You” by Kelly Clarkson, “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” by the Four Tops , and other recognizable songs, I can’t name one song the Bog King sings.
Though perhaps the worst part of the movie is the generic story which has one decent love story, and then one which seems slapped together to represent not judging a book by its cover, among other things. Which I only criticize for the build was terrible, and it really did leave me feeling that there was more money put into the animation, than giving the writers time to craft a good, and compelling, story.
Overall: TV Viewing
Films like these show why Disney and DreamWorks dominate when it comes to animated films. For any studio can produce a production with beautiful animation, get a bunch of recognizable names, and license a few songs. However, not many seem to take the time to craft a story so that the film has more than recognizable names, characters who look like they could sell toys and just enough of a plot to fit a learning to read storybook.
Now, as for why Strange Magic is TV Viewing and not a Skip It? Well, it is because the singing is good enough, though I wish they invested in more recognizable rock music; the story has enough cute moments to get you invested; and the kid who was in the theater with me seem to giggle during it, meaning perhaps the wee one in your life may get a kick out of the film. But, as for the adults, like Paddington, this isn’t a movie necessarily made with adults in mind.
Things To Note
 This song will get stuck in your head for the title is repeated multiple times.