Strange Magic $$$$
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Alan Cumming, Elijah Kelley, Meredith Ann Bull, and Sam Palladio.
Directors: Gary Rydstrom.
I happened to be looking for a PG movie to take my family to see and this is what was playing at the luxury theater we planned to attend. Nobody in the family had heard anything about the film so we were a bit unprepared for a musical. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed it, but it took a few numbers for us to adjust our thinking. The best way to describe the movie is Grease in fairyland.
The plot is pretty simple. Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood) is preparing to marry Roland (Sam Palladio) when she catches him cheating on her. She vows to never fall in love again. Meanwhile, Sunny (Elijah Kelley) travels into the dark forest in order to have the Sugar Plum Fairy (Kristin Chenoweth) create a love potion that will make Marianne’s sister, Dawn (Meredith Ann Bull) fall in love with him. The problem with that is the Bog King (Alan Cumming) holds the Sugar Plum Fairy captive and forbids the making of any more love potions.
There you have it, a tale of love from both the light and dark side of the point of view. And even though I found it a bit odd, I really enjoyed it.
This is how I rated Strange Magic.
1. Fun – How can nearly 100 minutes of music and the pursuit of love not be fun? Alright—don’t answer that. I like musicals and this certainly hit the spot. I gave the film a full MB for fun.
2. Story – Let’s face it, musicals are fairly weak as far as story goes. Other than being on the simple side there is nothing wrong with this one. I enjoy where they go with the story, but don’t feel that it deserves a full rating for it. I gave Strange Magic half a MB for a pretty standard tale.
3. Technical – Good animation. Check. Lively music and sound. Check. An interesting take on the classic romantic tale. Check. I gave it a full MB for hitting all the right technical notes.
4. Acting – The acting did not get in the way of the story. Which is good, but not great. Alan Cumming (The Bog King) turns in the strongest performance in the film. I also enjoyed Elijah Kelley and Maya Rudolph (Grisela) as well. However, the acting just wasn’t strong enough to warrant a full MB so I am giving it half a MB for some solid voice work.
That combines for a rating of 3 Movie Bucks. And that may be an unfair rating as I would be willing to pay full price to see the film again. It was a lot of fun. A matinee makes more sense for an outing with the entire family, but don’t hesitate to take a date to this and pay full price (assuming that both of you like odd musical fare).
Randy’s Rating System
$$$$ = Full Price See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$ = Matinee Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$ = Discount Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$ = Rental Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0 = No Sale Don’t see this movie at any price.