Christian Movie Review
January is traditionally a bland time for movie releases. Some say studios dump pictures into January on purpose to release them when it doesn’t really matter. When I first saw the trailer for “Strange Magic” and the weird promise that the story was “from the mind of George Lucas” (i.e. the story idea was his, but the film was made by someone else) I dismissed it.
Then I went to see it, and I ended up seeing it twice in one day. And I’m not that kind of a girl.
I just had so much FUN watching this film. Truly the mix of great character development, lovely music, and a fun plot arc was a magic potion in itself.
Even though the film dived at the box office and with critics, after the Parental Guidance Issues I will explain in more detail why I think people should give this film a chance.
Parental Guidance Issues at a Glance…
Sexual Content/Nudity/Themes of Sexuality: Various characters through the film kiss, some under the magic of a love potion. A man is caught cheating before a wedding.
Alcohol/Drug/Smoking Content: Does a love potion count?
Frightening/Intense Content: None, though at times the “villain” is made to look a little scary in early scenes.
(Review continues below)
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Entertainment Value and Film Craft
Critics have not been kind to this movie. Sometimes I think they’ve forgotten how to sit back and just be entertained. It’s not hard with this film. The casting team needs to take a bow; I truly loved their picks for the voice talent. Alan Cumming (“Emma,” “GoldenEye”), Evan Rachel Wood (“Across the Universe”), Sam Palladio (“Nashville” TV series) and Elijah Kelly (“Hairspray”) are among the well-chosen cast. They are expressive, charming, and they boast professional singing voices.
And, be warned: this film is a full-on musical. It uses songs sung by the characters the way that Broadway uses them: to replace scenes of spoken dialogue and to advance the plot. What’s fun and fascinating, however, is it uses classic rock, pop, and golden oldie Top 40 hits — everything from “Can’t Help Falling in Love” to “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).”
Worldview and Themes of Redemption
At its core, “Strange Magic” is about love’s power to overcome any barrier and learning to trust others again and forgive, even after we’ve been hurt badly. It also teaches a clear lesson about being open and transparent with others instead of trying to manipulate them in the direction we want. While all of this is told with magic and fairies and goblins and imps I did not sense it crossing into any truly dark territory that children could not handle. Hollywood loves “message movies” and this does fit that bill; numerous lessons can be gleaned, especially for girls (both the boy-crazed ones and the girl-power ones). It uses the worlds of “faery” and imagination (and Shakespeare — the film is based on “A Midnight Summer’s Dream”) to teach important truths that are compatible with a Christian worldview.
“Everyone deserves to be loved” splashes across each poster that advertises “Strange Magic.”
Take that message to heart and give this movie a chance. It deserves it!
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