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Strange World

Strange World is a 2022 American computer-animated science-fiction adventure film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The 61st film produced by the studio, it was directed by Don Hall, written and co-directed by Qui Nguyen, and produced by Roy Conli. The film stars the voices of Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu. Set in Avalonia, the film follows the Clades (Gyllenhaal, Quaid, Young-White, and Union), a legendary family of explorers, and Callisto Mal (Liu), the leader of the exploration, who must set aside their differences as they embark on a journey to a mysterious land inhabited by surreal lifeforms to save a resource called the Pando from losing its energy power source.

Strange World takes inspiration from pulp magazines, Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) and King Kong (1933). In addition, the land of Avalonia was given an orange-and-white color scheme to contrast with the titular strange world, as the filmmakers chose red and magenta. To communicate non-verbally, several animators worked to create the movement of the character Splat. While the film is predominately CGI, the film does incorporate 2D animation from Randy Haycock with additional 2D animation by Eric Goldberg and Mark Henn in certain scenes.

Plot[]

In Avalonia, a land surrounded by an endless wall of mountains, Jaeger Clade and his fifteen-year-old son Searcher are adventurers who brave the wilderness to explore new worlds. While trying to traverse the mountains, Searcher discovers a green plant that gives off energy. Searcher and the rest of the expedition team decide to return to Avalonia with the plant while Jaeger angrily continues his mission alone. Twenty-five years later, a now forty-year-old Searcher has made a name for himself by introducing the miracle plant, dubbed Pando, as a fuel source for Avalonia. He and his wife Meridian are Pando farmers, while their son, Ethan, has a crush on his friend Diazo and chafes at his father's expectation that he will become a farmer as well.

One night, Callisto Mal, the president of Avalonia and one of Jaeger's former expedition teammates, shows up in her airship, the Venture, and informs the Clades that Pando is losing its power; she asks Searcher to help find the cause. He joins an expedition to travel into a giant sinkhole, in which the roots of Pando have been located. Meridian chases after them in her crop-duster to find Ethan, who stows away on the Venture with their dog, Legend, but when the crop-duster is destroyed in an attack by red wyvern-like creatures, she joins the expedition as well.

The Venture crash-lands in a subterranean world, and Searcher and Legend are separated from the group. They are attacked by a creature (called a "Reaper") but are rescued by Jaeger, who has been living underground all these years. He has been trying to cross the mountains from below, but is blocked by an acidic ocean, and states his intention to board the Venture to attempt to cross it. Meanwhile, Ethan sneaks away from the Venture to find his father. He befriends an amorphous blue creature, naming it Splat, before being reunited with Searcher, Legend and Jaeger. They are attacked by more Reapers, but are rescued by Meridian and Callisto and return to the Venture.

Searcher insists on completing their mission, while Jaeger wants to continue journeying across the Strange World. Ethan becomes frustrated with them and their opposing worldviews. After another wild encounter, Searcher and Jaeger finally have a heart-to-heart talk and realize that they do respect each other's goals in life. Eventually they find a cluster of Pando's roots, which is being attacked by the Strange World's creatures.

When Searcher learns that Ethan wants to explore more of the Strange World, he blames Jaeger's influence on him. Frustrated with Searcher, Ethan jumps off the Venture and on to one of the Reapers. Searcher follows him aboard a small flying vehicle, but as they are reconciling, they realize that they have passed through the mountains to the ocean beyond, where they see the eye of a giant turtle-like creature. The two realize that Avalonia is on the creature's back, and that they have been traveling through its body. They also realize that Pando is an infection attacking the giant creature's heart, and the Reapers and other creatures they have been fighting are its immune system. They head back to inform the expedition team that Pando must be destroyed, but Callisto has them locked up to prevent them from stopping the mission, while Jaeger furiously sails off to see for himself. However, Legend and Splat release the family. To stop Pando from killing the creature, Searcher and Ethan head to its heart to clear a path for the Reapers, while Meridian takes over the ship and convinces Callisto to help. Jaeger returns, and with his help they break through Pando. Creatures appear and destroy Pando, bringing the heart back to life and saving the land.

One year later, Ethan is in a relationship with Diazo as they and their friends collect resources from the Strange World; Avalonia has shifted from Pando energy to wind turbines; Jaeger revisits his ex-wife Penelope, who has remarried during his absence; and Searcher and Jaeger's relationship has improved.

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