Strange Magic

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Strange Magic Movie Poster Image
Uneven animated musical is stranger than it is magical.
  • PG
  • 2015
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Viewers will become loosely familiar with plot elements and themes from A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Positive Messages

Love shouldn't be based just on looks, but on personal connection, friendship, and mutual attraction. The story also encourages people not to assume anything based on someone's size or beauty.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Marianne is a protective big sister who wants Dawn to be independent and not so boy-crazy. Instead of pining away for her cheating ex-fiance, Marianne concentrates on being a better princess -- one who doesn't need a prince just because he's hunky and good with a sword. Sunny loves Dawn and bravely risks his life to save her -- even though he misguidedly wanted to make her love him with love potion.

Violence & Scariness

Mostly grabbing, pushing, and shoving, along with a kidnapping/hostage taking. The Bog King and his cronies battle the fairy army, occasionally with swords. The fairy army brings down the Bog King's kingdom. The Sugar Plum fairy is imprisoned for most of the movie.

Sexy Stuff

Several long kisses: The first involves a groom cheating on his bride-to-be on their wedding day; she catches him kissing another fairy in a kiss/embrace. Two other sets of couples kiss; in one case, the female fairy caresses the male fairy's back. When the love potion is unleashed, a lizard repeatedly licks Sonny.

Language

"Son of a ..." (the character doesn't complete the exclamation).

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A love potion leaves those under the influence believing they're in love with the person they lay their eyes on after being exposed to it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Strange Magic is an animated musical loosely based on Shakepseare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Like a Baz Luhrmann film, the movie -- which George Lucas co-wrote and executive produced -- uses a mix of classic and contemporary pop and rock songs to further the plot. The fairy-themed romance/adventure features more kissing than the typical animated tale (including one male fairy kissing someone other than his bride-to-be on their wedding day), and the violence includes hand-to-hand combat, dueling, sword play, and a kidnapping/hostage situation. Themes center on the idea that love should be based on more than looks, and you shouldn't assume anything based on someone's size or beauty.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4, 4, 6, and 8 year old Written byKaywebb924 February 1, 2015

Horrible

This movie is so bad in so many ways. So many songs that the kids don't recognize, a cheating fiancé, unnecessary close ups of the bog king, the list goes... Continue reading
Parent Written byMeinjueiro May 30, 2015

Cheating groom, really?!

Within the first 15 minutes of the movie, a fairy groom is seen hugging and kissing another fairy, on his wedding day. The bride (lead character) becomes depres... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byThecoolcomet December 15, 2015

Interesting intreging and puzzling

Was a fairly decent movie with appropriate content
Kid, 8 years old April 7, 2016

A+!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is the best movie. It's one of my favourites.

What's the story?

STRANGE MAGIC opens on a fairy princess' doomed wedding day: Marianne (voiced by Evan Rachel Wood) is supposed to marry her betrothed, Roland (Sam Palladio), but she catches him kissing another fairy and calls off the marriage. Meanwhile, on the border of the Fairy Kingdom is a field of primroses that serves as a border between where the fairies live and the Dark Forest, where the Bog King (Alan Cumming) leads a world of goblins, slugs, and other insect-like creatures. He also holds the Sugar Plum Fairy (Kristin Chenoweth) hostage, so she can't make love potion from the primroses. Roland still hopes to marry Marianne -- hopes to be king and run the army -- so he enlists help from Sunny (Elijah Kelley), an elf in love with Marianne's younger sister, Dawn (Meredith Anne Bull). Roland convinces Sunny to sneak into the Dark Forest with a primrose petal and free Sugar Plum for some love potion. Naturally things don't go as planned, and instead the Bog King ends up taking Dawn hostage -- but not before the love potion causes her to fall in love with him.

Is it any good?

Strange Magic doesn't deliver on any level -- as a romance, as a musical, or as a fairy adventure. Some of the Glee-style mash-ups seem like they'd work (Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love" and Beyonce's "Crazy in Love"), but they don't, and others are just head-scratchingly bad ("C'mon Marianne" and "Stronger"). The filmmakers deserve kudos for attempting to expose kids to classic songs they're unfamiliar with in addition to Top 40 fare they've probably heard again and again, but the music feels forced into scenes rather than being seamlessly incorporated.

Despite -- or perhaps because of -- George Lucas' involvement, Strange Magic is just too much, trying too hard but underperforming in the end. Some of the characterizations are cringe-worthy (the Bog King's mom -- played by Maya Rudolph -- feels like Fran Drescher-meets-Mrs. Costanza) and the action unexciting. The admittedly uplifting message (love is more than skin deep) is sweet, but Strange Magic is a bizarre story that's unlikely to find a place in your kids' heart.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the use of popular music in Strange Magic. How do the songs tie into the story? Is it a traditional musical? Are there other movies it resembles? Which ones?

  • If you know the story of A Midsummer Night's Dream, talk about which elements from the movie are like the play and which are original. Is it confusing when a movie is loosely inspired by a play or book but doesn't follow the story closely?

  • What's the movie's message about looks? Were you expecting certain characters to magically transform into more beautiful creatures?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love animation

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