Strange Magic is a 2015 computer-animated musical fantasy film directed by Gary Rydstrom and produced by Lucasfilm, based on an idea by George Lucas inspired by William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The film was released on January 23, 2015 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures under the Touchstone Pictures label as the first Lucasfilm production after the Disney purchase and the only non-Star Wars film by Lucasfilm Animation.
Bog King, the leader of the Dark Forest, hates the notion of love and has ordered the destruction of all primroses, which are an essential ingredient of love potions. However, when he meets Marianne, a feisty fairy princess whose heart was broken by a philandering fiance, he begins to change his mind. Meanwhile, an elf named Sunny makes his way to the Dark Forest to collect enough primrose petals for a potion of his own.
Why It Sucks
- The plot uses every love cliche you can find in the book.
- The "no one loves me because I'm hideous" cliche.
- The forced love cliche combined with the love potion cliche.
- The romantic chemistry built up via song cliche.
- The misunderstanding cliche.
- The "I want more in life" cliche.
- On the topic of cliches, the film blatantly rips off other movies.
- Bog King is a ripoff of Shrek as he believes no one will ever love him because he is ugly. The misunderstanding cliche said above is also stolen from Shrek.
- Roland is a direct copy of Gaston from Beauty and the Beast.
- The elements of the film, such as the woodland creatures being the steed of the ferries, copy off Epic.
- Unlikeable and cliched characters.
- Dawn is very annoying. The film itself seems to be aware of this while she's affected by the love potion.
- Bog King's minions are unfunny comic reliefs.
- The Sugarplum Fairy is unbearable and obnoxious.
- Sunny is absolutely stupid, seeing that he promised to take care of the love potion yet screwed everything up at the ball.
- Roland is as much of a predictable villain as Hans from Frozen is.
- The Fairy King forbade Marianne from searching for Dawn and his reason is never justified.
- The musical numbers are obnoxious as they're only pop-rock versions of popular hits including (but not limited to) "Can't Help Falling in Love", "I'll Never Fall in Love Again", "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)", "Strange Magic", and Tell Him", and "Wild Thing".
- On the topic of the musical numbers, the characters not only refuse to shut up, but also never stop singing. The musical numbers come up so frequently that it makes the audience appreciate the songs even less.
- While the animation is lovely to look at, the character designs of the ferries and elves have this uncanny feel to them.
- Similar to Rey and Kylo Ren Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (another product of Disney and Lucasfilm), Bog King and Marianne's romantic chemistry is not developed properly as they only begin to fall in love near the end, with only 20 minutes left in the running time.
- The ending shot, although well-intentioned, can nauseate the viewer.
- The post-credits scene showing Roland kissing a fly is tasteless and not very funny.
- False advertising for two reasons:
- The poster includes none of the fairies or elves or even Bog King appear on the poster. The only characters that contribute anything to the plot on the poster are Bog King's mother and the Imp.
- Despite the movie titled Strange Magic, there is less magic in the movie.
- Bog King's death fake-out is pointless and cliched, especially when he emerges alive.
- It is never explained how the love potion failed to work on Marianne.
- Despite the uncanny designs, the animation is splendid to look at, as the visuals were done by Industrial Light and Magic, which also did the visual effects for Star Wars, Indiana Jones (both are also property of Lucasfilm), Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean (another property of Disney), Poseidon, Star Trek, The Avengers, and the live action Transformers films, as well as the animation of Rango.
- The Imp is at least cute.
- Some musical numbers can be enjoyable.
- Some funny moments, such as "You should see your face" and Dawn singing "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" and annoying Bog King and his minions.
- It was a nice idea for George Lucas to make a film for his daughters, despite the idea being poorly executed.
Strange Magic received negative reviews from critics and audiences. The film currently holds a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 60 reviews, with the consensus reading "Like most modern animated movies, Strange Magic is lovely to look at; unfortunately, there isn't much going on beneath the surface.".
The film was also a box-office bomb, losing around $40–50 million and grossing only $13.6 million against a $70–100 million budget.
- George Lucas described the film as Star Wars for a female audience stating "Star Wars was for 12-year-old boys; I figured I'd make one for 12-year-old girls." According to Rydstrom, Lucas "really wanted to make a beautiful fairy tale with goblins and elves, and do it in a way that only this company can do. He had been working on it for a long time." Rydstrom mentioned that Lucas emphasized that the story should be about "finding beauty in strange places".
- On the film's plot, director Gary Rydstrom stated, "We pitched it as a Beauty and the Beast story where the Beast doesn't change."
- This was the final animated film released by Touchstone Pictures and the last blockbuster budgeted film by George Lucas following his semi-retirement in 2012.
- However, George Lucas is returning as executive producer of Indiana Jones 5, with director Steven Spielberg stating "I would never make an Indiana Jones film without George Lucas. That'd be insane.".