Disney's STRANGE WORLD Flies Into Theaters With Mostly Positive Reviews

Disney's sci-fi action comedy Strange World hits theaters today. Here's what critics are saying about the latest feature film from Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Walt Disney Animation Studios' latest feature film Strange World arrived in theaters today. Although Disney has typically had success with theatrical releases during the Thanksgiving holiday release window, the movie industry has changed quite a bit since the pandemic. Reviews and positive word of mouth are more important than ever to a movie's box office success as people have become more willing to just wait for the film's eventual arrival on streaming services. With that in mind, how are initial reviews for Strange World?

With 62 reviews counted as of this writing, Strange World currently sits at a 74% on aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. While a 74% is nothing to scoff at, it is on the low end when it comes to Disney films. Compared to other Disney animated films, it's about middle of the road but if this were a Pixar film, it would be towards the bottom of the list, on par with Lightyear and 2006's Cars.

So what exactly is holding Strange World back? Many critics have praised the film's diversity and representation (it features the first openly gay teen romance in Disney movie history). However, the story itself seems to lack originality.

The critics consensus for Strange World reads: "Strange World is a Disney milestone in terms of representation -- but as a storytelling experience, this dazzlingly animated adventure offers little audiences haven't already seen."

Looking at the positives, critics praise the film's sci-fi action and family-friendly fun. It's got a positive message that, according to the L.A. Times, "tackles father-son relationships and the idea of legacy with an ecological, environmentalist twist." Accentuating this environmental twist are vibrant, colorful worlds.

While the positive reviews certainly outweigh the negatives, it's worth noting that some reviewers found the general story to be bland and "excessively boorish." Slant Magazine's Derek Smith wrote: "While Strange World’s examination of generational tension is tender and inspiring, the film’s sci-fi elements and environmental message are more half-baked in their execution."

Overall, it sounds like Strange World is just a middle-of-the-road film by Disney standards, but that's not to say it won't be enjoyable. As it's releasing during the extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend, it could be a perfectly fine film to take the kids to for an enjoyable outing.

The similarly rated Frozen 2 released during the same weekend in 2019 and went on to find great success. It's a family-friendly movie with a fun premise, bright visuals, and an important message told in a way we've yet to see from Disney. The question will be is that enough to convince families to head to theaters knowing Strange World will eventually make its way to Disney+ in a few weeks.

The feature film introduces a legendary family of explorers, the Clades, as they attempt to navigate an uncharted, treacherous land alongside a motley crew that includes a mischievous blob, a three-legged dog and a slew of ravenous creatures. “Inspired by classic adventure stories," said director Don Hall, “‘Strange World’ is an original animated adventure/comedy about three generations of the Clade family who overcome their differences while exploring a strange, wondrous and oftentimes hostile world.”

Do you plan on seeing Strange World in theaters? Let us know in the comments below!

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