Have you ever gone into your backyard, saw a butterfly out of the corner of your eye and thought “maybe that’s not a butterfly…. maybe it’s a fairy…” That’s Strange Magic.
When I was little I had an infatuation with fairies and all things whimsical. I imagined they lived deep in the grass, they had their own little mushroom homes and gathered dew from the flowers. I loved daydreaming like that. I love that Strange Magic takes that imagination – a daydream that most little girls have – and turned it into a feature film.
Strange Magic follows a night where two fairy sisters – Marianne and Dawn – learn about the power of love. Dawn (Meredith Anne Bull) is a free-spirited fairy who falls in-love with every boy she meets. Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood) is the strong-headed older sister who has her heart broken and declares “I’m never gonna fall in love again!”. Sunny (Elijah Kelley) is a lovesick elf, smitten with Dawn even though she doesn’t see him the same way. Then there’s the Bog King (Alan Cumming), a creature who lives in his dark thorny world and cutting himself off from the fairy world. Like Marianne he doesn’t believe in the concept of love and holds the Blue Fairy (Kristin Chenoweth) locked up. Why? She is the creator of a special love potion, and The Bog King won’t have anyone falling in love as long as he’s in charge!
Strange Magic is not only a fairy tale in the literal sense, it’s also a musical. George Lucas wanted to make a movie where the words of songs would tell the story. That’s one unique thing about the film – there’s MUCH more singing than standard dialogue. Not only singing, but music that is now or once was popular – titles like Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch), Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger, and the classic I can’t Help Falling In Love. It’s almost as if George Lucas took a cue from Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge but made it for a younger audience.
The animation is , of course, brilliant – as to be expected from LucasFilm. The facial expressions are human enough to be believable, fantasy enough to be magical. The backgrounds are colorful, sometimes moody, and definitely lend a visual flair to every scene.
As a mother of almost-5-year-olds, I can see my children enjoying Strange Magic. The film might be just a tad long for my daughter (who can’t seem to hold still), but there’s enough excitement, happiness, and visual stunnery (is that a word?) that they would enjoy it, even though the main audience is a little older.