From the Rookie Corner – Strange Magic

strange magic 4Well, I did it again. I sat through another short person movie…. and it was bad. Way back, I wrote about Frozen the first time I saw it. I still stand behind my ‘too much singing’ opinion, but there were plenty of amusing moments in the movie and there was a good underlying story. I am not totally heartless and cynical. I have sat through MANY short people films that I enjoyed. This weekend was not one of those times. We planned to do lunch and then a movie. It costs less money to take the family out to lunch than to spring for popcorn and beverages. PLUS – a late lunch gets me off the hook for a full dinner. I check the movies available. Paddington stars on the hour…. we could make that. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb was scheduled 15 minutes after than. Strange Magic started 30 minutes after that. I was not committed any any one movie. Having three options spread out like that works pretty good when taking a tribe out to lunch. I was covered for slow eaters, slow service, etc. Whatever movie was playing when we were done would be the one we say. Personally, I was hoping for Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb which seemed the lesser of the three evils. I however, was not in charge. And we missed the start. We were going to see Strange Magic –  whether I wanted to or not. We settle into our seats with a little snack. We could hear the trailers – but there was no image. I should have taken the hint from the universe. I should have run. Asked for a refund and just gone home. But, noooooooo – Miss Stubbornpants had to stay. I THOUGHT (foolishly) the film had potential. The film was allegedly from the mind of George Lucas and a sort of reimagining of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream. What could go wrong? Well, let me tell you. Singing. So much… singing. Again. After 10 minutes, my son turned to me and said ‘If this is another Frozen, I swear…’ leaving the threat implied. He was wrong in one sense – it was NOT another Frozen. Frozen, though I still do not like so much singing, had original, well written songs. Strange Magic features all your favorite hits! (Sarcasm font inplied) strange magic3 A quick breakdown of the facts of the film: Gary Rydstrom directs the film written by Rydstrom, David Berenbaum, Irene Mecchi (Brave),  and George Lucas (story). The film features the voices of Evan Rachelstrange-magic Wood, Elijah Kelley, Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming. Good start, right? The centers on a fairy princess named Marianne about to marry the Roland – a very ‘prince charming-esque’ character whose vanity makes him instantly unappealing. Marianne catches him kissing another fairy. On their wedding day. She naturally cancels the wedding. She swears off love – singing away. Marianne gives herself a bit of a makeover and emerges as some sort of goth chick and focuses on avoiding males – much to her father’s dismay – and honing her battle skills.. She is NOT in a good mood. strangemagic marianne Her sister Dawn is ALL about the love and has crushes on several fellas – a disappointment to her BFF STRANGE MAGICSunny who is in love with her. And, yes – there is a song. Roland’s attempt to wed Marianne was motivated by his desire for an army. Like most marriages, right? Roland convinces the love sick Sunny to go to the Dark Forest seeking the Sugar Plum Fairy who has been imprisoned by the Bog King. The Sugar Plum Fairy knows how to make a love potion which will solve Roland AND Sunny’s problems. It turns out, the Bog King mirrors Marianne’s feelings about love. He kidnaps Dawn holding her for ransom – he WANTS that potion so he can destroy it…. because love is bad and evil and stuff. Marianne tries to rescue her. Stuff happens. Everyone fall in love and lives happily ever after. The end. Cute, right? Not really. The story was extremely predictable at every turn. The film felt very Beauty and the Beast….. and maybe a little Frozen? The use of song was excessive. I know, I sound like I just hate music. Not true. I love music. I expect music in short people film… but this was a but much and felt both tacky and forced. I guess I missed that part where this was a musical.When I looked at the listing, the categories were: Animation, Family and Fantasy. Folks – I need to be warned about the musical bit. I know Into the Woods is a musical – so I EXPECT a lot of singing.  I hit the internets to see how much music WAS in the movie. Maybe in my head it just felt like a lot. On the Song On Lyrics site I found not only the soundtrack list:

1. Can’t Help Falling in Love  2. I’ll Never Fall in Love Again  3. Three Little Birds  4. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)  5. C’mon Marianne / Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)  6. Trouble  7. Love Is Strange  8. Say Hey  9. Mistreated  10. I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)  11. Straight On  12. Strange Magic  13. Tell Him / Wild Thing 

It should be noted that I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)  was used quite a few times… Also on the site was a list of all the other songs that can be heard in the film that are not on the soundtrack:

1. Crazy In Love 2. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)  3. Without You  4. I Gotta Feeling  5. Can’t Help Falling in Love  6. Crazy Little Thing Called Love 7. Bad Romance 8. Barracuda 9. People Are Strange 10. Addicted to Love 11. Rebel Rebel 12. Rock-A-Bye-Baby 

Short version – if you like musicals, you may enjoy this. I found the story to be weak and felt too similar to other popular movies. To me, some of the songs felt forced – like they were trying to cram a few more song in. Visually, it was good. Other than that, I say wait for Netflix. If you think you can trust a rookie…

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