Movie review: Strange Magic

Stephen King, Writer


George Lucas has always been known for science fiction works, particularly the Star Wars movies, but now he’s moved onto fantasy with his new movie, released in theaters on Jan. 23, Strange Magic.

The story of this musical fantasy-comedy is by Lucas himself for which he was inspired by William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and it was directed by Gary Rydstrom. It stars Alan Cumming, Meredith Anne Bull, Evan Rachel Wood, Elijah Kelley, Sam Palladio, Kristen Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph and Alfred Molina. The main character Marianne (Wood) is the sword wielding heir of the Fairy Kingdom and she sets out into the dark Forest to rescue her flirtatious younger sister Dawn (Bull) from the Bog King (Cumming) with the help of Sunny (Kelley) an elf whose in love with dawn, and the unwanted help of her ex fiancé Roland (Palladio), who wants to get the crown and lead the fairy army. The main plot device of the story is the love potion, created by the Sugar Plum Fairy (Chenoweth).

The movie is CGI animated, done by Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Industrial Light & Magic, making this the second CGI animated film by Lucasfilm since Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the voice acting was done with motion capture.

The film features good comedy as well as great detailed animation since Lucasfilms’s last CGI film, and many of the characters are all very different, each having their own internal conflicts all based around love, which is what the story is all about. It teaches real love is more powerful than the kind that can be found in a potion vile, while also showing great action that makes you wonder how George Lucas can go from lightsabers to normal swords, and wookies, stormtroopers, and droids to fairies, goblins, and elves. I also like how the soundtrack features real live songs such as Wild Thing by Chip Taylor, Love is Strange by Mickey Baker and Sylvia robinson, and the title of the film, Strange Magic by the Electric Light Orchestra.

Although the film is a musical, I felt that the soundtrack takes up most of the story than actual dialogue, especially since it seems like every scene of the movie had a song, compared to other musical films so a little less songs would have done it well.

The film overall has a great story with hilarious singing characters with a good moral that nods to Shakespeare.