Review: Strange Magic
That Strange Magic is an utterly inexplicable and forced film is one thing; what sets this utterly poor production apart from other forgettable films is that it’s frequently and indescribably uncomfortable.
This odd and animated tale, one that begins in the middle of what we are supposed to believe is some sort of romance, seems to have no clue what it wants to be, no idea where it’s going, and no remorse for hurting its audience.
In brief, there are two fairy worlds: the light and the dark. The former has skinny and beautiful princesses (including one voiced by Evan Rachel Wood), curious elves, and men who wish a woman would keep her place. The latter has goblins and trolls and whispering mushrooms and is led by something called the Bog King (Alan Cumming), a distorted creature who hates love. Our fairy heroine catches her idiot fiance cheating on her, and that sets in motions some quest for a love potion by various parties to get various women to fall in love with them, but that involves going to the dark side and well, whatever.
Truly, the film dives right into this plot without feeling or emotion, and using famous pop culture love songs to propel the story. Rather, it (mostly) butchers famous pop culture love songs; it’s like watching really awkward karaoke, if there is any other kind.
It is at this time I would like to dispel any notion, any perpetuating campaign that, as the filmmakers may have you believe, Strange Magic bears any resemblance to or inspiration from a famed romance penned by a particularly talented English poet of the late 16th and early 17th century. This film is not worth of having his named mentioned in its review.
More telling instead may be that it is from the mind (and heart?) of George Lucas. Even in all the film’s triviality and bizarreness, it falls back on familiar and ugly tropes, namely that physical appearances don’t matter as true love conquers all; except of course for women, because they have to be slender and pretty and just feminine enough not to make the males feel uncomfortable.
That unimaginative characterization is just one of the many lackluster components to this bizarre, meandering musical. A couple chuckle-worthy throwaway jokes and a song by Kristin Chenoweth (she’s the Sugar Plum Fairy, because, of course), don’t come close to redeeming this hugely miscalculated, joyless, messy piece of meaningless atrocity.