By Ranny Levy, Founder/President of KidsFirst!
George Lucas has turned his charms onto the tale, Strange Magic, a new animated film, that is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer B. comments, “The animation and design are exquisite. The character designs look exactly like something George Lucas would create.”
Reviewed by Keefer C. Blakeslee, KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 14 Click here for video review
This is an original, visionary, animated musical, inspired by a classic tale by William Shakespeare. An assortment of characters, from fairies to goblins to elves, who live in two different worlds clash over a magical love potion. Their encounter teaches them all that everyone deserves to be loved.
While the story is inspired by Shakespeare’s Midsummer’s Night Dream, George Lucas has adapted this story in a manner that is enjoyable for younger audiences. That’s not an easy task to do, especially when taking Shakespeare’s work.
The film’s music spans several decades from nostalgic rock to pop and includes various love songs. The song choices are perfect for this film. Every song sets the tone for each scene whether it’s fast-paced action or slower-paced romance. While the songs appear spontaneously, they are where most of the comedy comes from, and the characters poke fun at them from time to time.
It also helps when there are magnificent voice actors portraying the character. This film has a talented cast. I have a huge respect for voice actors because all the character’s emotions comes solely from their voice. In this film, every actor successfully does that.
The animation and design are exquisite. The character designs look exactly like something George Lucas would create. The forest is literally flourishing with life. We see beautiful fairies to the impressive goblins we see incredibly rich details showing their scales, teeth and wings. And, their movements are fluid and believable. You are successfully transported into their world.
My favorite character is the Bog King (Alan Cumming). Not only do I admire the mosquito look of his character, but also the voice actor who plays him, Alan Cumming. Alan is a wonderful performer whether it’s stage or film. He is a capable singer and actor which he proves again in his portrayal of this character.
My favorite scene is the duel duet between the Bog King and Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood). This is where the animators really show off their skills. The fight is swift and the witty comments between the two characters share make the scene even more entertaining.
The message this film stresses is that everyone deserves love. The love potion supposedly makes the person you love feel the same way towards you. However, through a misunderstanding, the Bog doesn’t think any can love him, even with a love potion.
I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommended it to 5 through 18-year-olds. Adults will enjoy this too. Kids might be amazed by the imaginative animation and parents can enjoy the blast-from-the-past music.
Samantha A., KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 11
Strange Magic is an animated film about two worlds. One where there is happiness, singing and love in the air. In the second world, everything is evil, with mystery around every corner and its leader – a dark, heartless king called “the bog king” (voice by Alex Cumming) that bans all love in his dark world. These two worlds have always been separated until one fairy princess named Marianne, (voice by Evan Rachel Wood) crosses the barrier and changes everything.
I have to admit, this movie is different from anything I have ever seen before, but I’m not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing. It is a musical and most of the songs are songs that have been on the radio by popular artists. For example, Kelly Clarkson’s “What Doesn’t Kill You Stronger” and that is something I liked. But, something I am not a fan of are things that happen in the movie and how the movie is directed at children, but has some very mature things in it.
This movie is unpredictable which isn’t a good thing all the time. This movie takes a turn that I had no idea how it even happened, to be honest. I don’t even know how it got to where it ended. It all went so fast that I didn’t get time to understand what was happening at the moment. Other times, it is kind of cool seeing what is happening next. But overall, I didn’t exactly like how things move so fast and I never really got the concept of what was going on.
One thing that I love about the movie is that the characters are different. There are fairies, goblins and imps. I really liked that mythical feel of the movie.
This movie may look like it’s for kids but trust me, it’s not. There are things that I didn’t even understand so I doubt that kids and younger than me will understand what is happening at all. There are also some mature scenes in the movie that made me unsure if it is kid-friendly or not. For example, the husband cheats on his wife on their wedding day. That happened within the first 20 minutes of the movie.
I am recommending this movie for ages 10 to 13 because it still has a kid-friendly touch that would draw little kids in. But, like I said, it does have some mature scenes. I am giving this movie 3 out of 5 stars because it isn’t something I liked but I know that some kids would. Gary Rydstrom, the director and George Lucas, the writer do a good job on this film but it is just not something I personally enjoyed.
Ranny Levy – Founder and President
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