Well … so maybe that title is a slight exaggeration of the truth. But the point is, this little film was exactly what I wanted it to be, without me even realising it. I didn’t know how much I needed a film like this until last night. Okay, let’s start at the beginning (a very good place to start).
The film Strange Magic (Rydstrom:2015) first came to my attention as a recommendation from my aunt, and I’ll admit I was a tiny bit sceptical about it, having not long watched a film she hated that I really rather enjoyed. And I’m pretty sure she only watched it because her 6-year-old daughter wanted to. But that’s beside the point. What I need to tell you about is how bloody fantastic this film is. It’s magical and uplifting and fun. But more than that, it’s refreshing.
**SPOILER FREE POST**
All based around the almighty Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, though not too closely I might add, the story revolves around Marianne, an independent young fairy after coming off the back of heartbreak, and her flirtatious sister. As the Bard once said, “The course of true love never did run smooth,” and chaos ensues with the introduction of a powerful love potion, all backed by a glittering soundtrack.
But wait. Don’t turn your nose up just yet. Not just because it’s a family adventure film.
Okay maybe it’s not the most stimulating film ever made, and there are probably numerous problems you could find if you were really looking – the trailer for one is less than fantastic. But if you’re not going to be a film critic about it, I say give it a chance. Besides, analysing it would spoil the fun.
The important thing for me about this George Lucas production (shameless name drop) was the role of Marianne and her position in the story. She’s a heroine princess. Not in the same way as someone like Elsa (thank goodness!), but in her own way, and she is true to herself. Perhaps more strikingly, this doesn’t change. Identity is an important ideal for me, both for a character and someone in the real world, and even more so in places where there’s the possibility for a role model. I think being true to yourself is one lesson that can never be over-taught, and can often be overlooked in films with a young audience. Whilst Marianne does grow as a person, her identity remains true, and she doesn’t quite fit the bracket of ‘pretty as a picture’ princess, just because it’s what is expected.
Where there are several elements to the story that are kind of predictable, it is a refreshing take on a love story. Although, I’m more inclined to call it a story about love, really. And it was nice to see a family film not perpetuating all of the stereotypes and gender roles that we see so often, and have come to expect.