When I was little, unlike most people, my first real exposure to the world of George Lucas was not Star Wars nor was it Indiana Jones. My very first exposure to one of Lucas’ world was Willow, a film, that I believe, doesn’t get the acclaim or praise it deserves. Strange Magic, a film born in the mind of Lucas, touches on that Willow universe just a teeny bit. Fairies, princesses, elves, and magic…with a touch of Shakespeare and full of pop music, that’s what Strange Magic is made of. While Strange Magic does have it’s faults, it has strong female characters, gorgeous animation, a touch of whimsy, and characters that kids will not only relate to, but enjoy.
Strange Magic begins as we see Marianne, a butterfly princess (Evan Rachel Wood, who can sign, by the way), singing and flying through her kingdom just before her wedding to Roland (Sam Palladio). When Roland turns out to be not so charming, Marianne decides she is done with love. In contrast, her sweet younger sister, Dawn (newcomer Meredith Anne Bull), crushes on a different boy almost hourly (as young girls do, or well, I did). But as wrapped up on crushing Dawn is, she doesn’t see that her closest friend Sunny (Elijah Kelley) is hopelessly in love with her, despite his serenades to cheer her up (Three Little Birds by Bob Marley sung wonderfully, I may add).
The Bog King (Alan Cummings) resides in the dark forest and wishing for love to be eradicated from all the land, he has his minions rid primroses and captured the Sugar Plum (Kristen Chenoweth) fairy, as she can make love potions from the petals.
Using Sunny’s affections for Dawn, Roland convinces him to go into the Dark Forrest to retrieve a primrose petal and have the captured Sugar Plum Fairy (Kristen Chenoweth) make a love potion so that Dawn can fall in love with Sunny and Marianne can fall in love with Roland so he can get his army, which is what he really wants. Sunny is successful, but when the Bog King finds out that a potion was made, he kidnaps Dawn and will only release her if the potion is given back to him by the time the moon sets, otherwise she will never be seen again.
As Sunny and an imp make their way to save Dawn, along with Roland, who has other things planned, Marianne defies her father, and goes after the Bog King herself. Marianne and the Bog King both have a few walls to break, but will it be in time to save Dawn?
Here’s the thing about Strange Magic. IT’S NOT STAR WARS. I’ve seen too many references and comparisons to it, and after talking to George Lucas himself, I know that this world is meant to not even scrape that universe. Strange Magic is just supposed to be fun for kids to watch with their parents, maybe pick up a few new artists to like other than One Direction, and just remember what it was like to just watch a movie to be entertained. So, if you are looking for Star Wars or Indiana Jones, don’t go to Strange Magic but, if you are looking to take the kids out to see something fun, different and gorgeous on screen, then I suggest Strange Magic is just the adventure you seek.
Strange Magic is rated PG and opens January 23.