As the tagline to "Strange Magic" says, "Everyone deserves to be loved." And this film does to. But, that won't be easy.
As the tagline to "Strange Magic" says, "Everyone deserves to be loved." And this film does to. But, that won't be easy.

"Strange Magic" casts no spell

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. A simple bit advice, handed down to me by my Grandma Lu a long time ago, has stuck with me. Although I should have heeded it more often that I have, thankfully I haven’t made as many missteps as some people in Hollywood have.

I get it, to be able to get a hit, you have to stick your neck out. And if you stick it out there enough times, you will get a smack on the head that will hurt. George Lucas, the mastermind behind "Star Wars" and "American Graffiti," has his bumps and bruises. He also has millions of dollars and lives on a ranch.

"Strange Magic," a music-filled fairy tale animated in perfection, is a prime example that just because you have the ability to make a film, does not mean you should.

The DVD released earlier this week features Evan Rachel Wood as Marianne, who finds love in an unlikely place … the bog, where Alan Cumming voices the Bog King.

My OnMilwaukee.com colleague Matt Mueller reviewed the film from Touchstone Pictures – Disney was smart enough not to put the Disney label on this animated tale.

"Did I see a new animated movie called ‘Strange Magic’ last night? Did that actually happen, or did I grind up DVD copies of ‘FernGully’ and ‘Moulin Rouge,’ snort up the resulting powder and go on a mind-boggling 90-minute feverish rock opera pixie nightmare?" Mueller wrote.

I can’t argue with Mueller, that the general audience would have to really watch, really hard to find something enduring in the film.

Maybe I’m too harsh. As the tagline says, "Everyone deserves to be loved." And this film does too. If you need to sing along to songs you have heard and see a little love story to feel better about your own life … then, by all means. Love this movie, love yourself, shine above all else. Life is too short to be gloomy all the time.

Sing, dance, love life and give your cash to people who don’t need it.

For those of you that want an honest review, then know an audience that has experienced good animated films and good musicals will know that this is far from good.

So, maybe this movie is meant to entertain children … it is animated after all. Well, I’d say this is in the category if some really out-of-touch people generations removed from being children, or are removed from spending any real time with children, made something they thought children would like. I had young children in my family watch the DVD and they were entertained as little as I was.

Sure, Kelly Clarkson’s "Stronger" and Burt Bacharach's "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" are hit songs in their own time. "I Wanna Dace With Sombody" by the late singer Whitney Houston, who once told Oprah that "crack is whack," is a fun song too. But just stringing them along with some flying fairies a film makes, well, that is just an insult on our intelligence.

It’s an insult on the intelligence on anyone older than seven too.

There may be a few old people out there who do think children would like this film, and maybe that’s the audience this is marketed to. But there are far better children’s animation and musical efforts out there worth the money.

For the DVD, there are outkes and a feature on creating the magic. The extras are what makes home entertainment releases fun and insightful. In this case, the extras are better than the film.

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