Family Fridays: Strange Magic

I saw Strange Magic for the first time in theaters, along with my then 15, 9, and 7 year old siblings, and our mother. They had come to visit me at college and we all decided to go see a movie. We originally weren’t even going to see Strange Magic – but my youngest sister and I had already seen Annie, Night at the Museum had sold out, and I refused to pay the full price ticket to see Paddington. So we all collectively sighed and went in to see the only other kids movie showing that none of us knew anything about.

And man, was it worth it.

Now in general, I’m a sucker for musicals. I’ve seen both professional and amateur productions of all sorts of musicals and I’m usually first in line to see them when they turn into movies. The beautiful singing – with a leading lady voiced by the criminally underrated Evan Rachel Wood – combined with colorful, beautiful, and unique animating style meant that right off the bat, Strange Magic had my attention. It also immediately snared the attention of my mother because it is a jukebox musical, meaning it uses songs that have already been released. The musical includes music from Dionne Warwick, Mickey and Silvia, Whitney Houston, and a lot more.

strange magic
The two main characters of the story: sisters Dawn and Marianne, voiced by Meredith Anne Bull and Evan Rachel Wood, respectively.

What finally turned it from good to great was the plot itself. The story centers around two fairy princesses. The oldest, Marianne, turns bitter and hardened after her fiance cheats on her, while her younger sister Dawn remains convinced that true love is out there. Dawn’s best friend, an elf named Sunny, gets talked into making a love potion for Marianne’s ex – but of course, the potion goes wrong, and Dawn gets hit and falls in love with the king of the evil fairies, Bog.

It’s silly and ridiculous but hear me out – there is absolutely nothing funnier than a creepy fairy king named Bog who crashes a party, yells at everyone there about how love doesn’t exist, continues yelling about how ridiculous it is that everyone keeps bursting into song for no good reason, but then steals everyone’s instruments and starts singing an Elvis Presley song anyways.

strange magic
The Bog King, voiced by Alan Cummings, and the Sugar Plum Fairy, voiced by Kristen Chenoweth.

And honestly that’s only the beginning of how absolutely ridiculous this movie can get. I’m fairy certain I enjoyed it more than my two younger sisters did; which isn’t to say that they didn’t enjoy it, because once it came on DVD they begged my mom to buy it and then watched nothing but Strange Magic for almost a week straight.

It’s true, it got pretty bad reviews by just about every critic out there but interestingly enough, a lot of moviegoers found it fun. Because, honestly, that’s what it is – fun. Not every movie is going to be a master piece like Moana – although for the record, the animation in Strange Magic was cutting edge for that year. Sometimes you just want to have some fun for an hour or two, and Strange Magic is a good way to do that.

-Kassie Marie

Advertisements

Family Fridays: Muppet Treasure Island

Picking a movie for family night can be a monumental task when you’ve got a bunch of people to please. Finding the balance between something kid friendly and funny and something that won’t put the adults to sleep can be difficult, especially when little ones want nothing more than to watch the same movie at least fifty times in a day. Rather than give up and put in The Lion King for the 18th time today, try browsing for something new in our kid’s DVD section.

An easy way to change up the movie pick is by looking at movies that are a bit older but underrated. A personal favorite would be Muppet Treasure Island.

Muppet Treasure Island is an underappreciated Muppet movie that features some well known actors as well as the typical Muppet characters. An upbeat take on the classic novel, Muppet Treasure Island follows the story of young Jim Hawkins as he searches for the long lost treasure of the notorious Captain Flint. Along the way he and best friends Rizzo and Gonzo come across a plot by pirates to steal the treasure away and finds himself pulled into an adventure he never expected.

Tim Curry, starring as the villainous Long John Silver, finds himself perfectly cast as he hams it up alongside his Muppet costars, showing equal parts over-exaggerated villainy and sweet sentimentality. Baby-faced Kevin Bishop is a sweet Jim Hawkins, just longing for a simple adventure.

Beyond the human leads, Kermit the Frog takes a turn as the serious and anxious Captain Smollett, but it’s Kermit’s friends Fozzie and Miss Piggy that shine in the movie. Fozzie stars as the dimwitted Squire Trelawney who spends most of the movie conversing with Mr. Bimble, the man who lives in his finger. It’s a silly gag but a funny one nonetheless. Miss Piggy, meanwhile, makes a grand and hilarious turn as Benjamina Gunn, ex-fiance of Kermit’s Captain Smollett. Since their breakup, she has found herself the leader of an island of wild pigs – and has her own glamorous secrets in true Miss Piggy style.

Of course, the movie features classic Muppet humor with characters such as Gonzo and Rizzo frequently breaking the fourth wall and references to real world events.

muppets

It’s all in all a cute movie with a humor that appeals to both children and adults in that typical quirky Jim Henson style.

written by: kassie