If George Lucas' name wasn't all over the trailer for Strange Magic, you might not guess that he had any influence over it whatsoever. This doesn't look, sound, or feel like a story from the mind of the guy who gave us Star Wars and Indiana Jones; if anything, the film looks like a riff on last year's Epic and 1982's The Dark Crystal, with a helping of Shrek on the side.
Strange Magic purportedly borrows elements of plot from William Shakespeare, too, specifically A Midsummer Night's Dream, a play about love and several cases of mistaken identity. Perhaps just a touch of the Bard will help tie the movie's narrative together; the world here is apparently divided into a kingdom and a dark forest, which respectively serve as home to the traditionally "good" creatures (elves, fairies) and traditionally "bad" creatures (goblins) of all fantasy folklore.
So this is a segregated landscape, at least until "love potions" made from fauna that blooms along the realm's border, are let loose on denizens from both sides of the fence. If you're familiar with A Midsummer Night's Dream, you can probably imagine what sorts of hilarious misunderstandings this leads into, but it's hard to look at the trailer above and divine a through line (beyond alchemical shenanigans).
Partly that's because whoever cut this preview together doesn't appear to have had much interest in doing that; there are jokes galore here, plus a glimpse at Strange Magic's set list, which includes hits from Steppenwolf and The Temptations as performed by the film's cast members, to name a few. There isn't, unfortunately, much more than that.
The characters in Strange Magic aren't named here, and the actors doing the voice work aren't credited, either. You'll have to do a Wikipedia search to find out that it boasts the talents of Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Kristin Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph, and Alfred Molina (among many others).
That's not a great way to sell a movie that nobody heard of until just a couple of weeks ago. One thing working in Strange Magic's favor is the animation; the trailer makes the production look terrific, so even if Lucas and director Gary Rydstrom (who oversaw the English language versions of Studio Ghibli films like The Wind Rises and From Up on Poppy Hill) just have something generic and homogenized on their hands, it'll at least be lovely to behold.
Strange Magic hits theaters on January 23rd, 2015.
Source: Yahoo! Movies
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