Once again, Disney released a film that has generated more controversy due to a specific social issue than the film’s plot, of course, it is Strange World, which came out on November 23, 2022. The Walt Disney Animation Studios film is directed by Don Hall and produced by Roy Conli. Disney confirmed that it is the company’s first film with an openly gay character which turns out to be the protagonist, and this has become a controversy on the part of specific audiences. Disney has been criticized for the same situation when in Lightyear two female characters had a kiss scene, it became a huge conversation between different publics.
Strange World is inspired by pulp magazines, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and King Kong. Strange World first opened at the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles on November 15 of this year. the film received good reviews despite the disaster at the box office, where Disney lost $147 million.
The film is based on Avalonia, a land that is full of mountains. Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid) and his son Searcher (Jake Gyllenhal) are two adventurers who are discovering new worlds. Searcher discovers a world that gives green energy, but his father insists on staying on the mission, however, no one in the group pays attention to him, including his son. 25 years later Searcher became famous after having investigated the plant that bears the name “Pando” thus turning it into a resource for Avalonia. He is married and has a son named Ethan who has a crush on Diazo.
The voice cast is formed by Jake Gyllenhall as Searcher Clade, Dennis Quaid as Jaeger Clade, Jaboukie Young-White as Ethan Clade who is Walt Disney Animation Studios’ first openly LGBTQ teenaged character, Gabrielle Union as Meridian Clade who is married to Searcher, Lucy Liu as Callisto Mal (the president of Avalonia), Karan Soni as Caspian, Alan Tudyk as Duffle, Adelina Anthony as Captain Pulk, Abraham Benrubi as Lonnie Redshirt, Jonathan Melo as Diazo, Nik Dodani as Kardez, and Francesca Reale as Azimuth.
What is really going on with Strange World is that audiences are not surprised by the plot, but by Ethan Clade. A couple of months ago Lightyear was the topic of conversation for a long time because of the scene of two characters of the same sex kissing, even the movie had to be banned in different countries.
Strange World has ignited the spark again with the issue of sexual orientation, but this time it is different because Ethan has a crush and he tells his father. Searcher supports him and even gives him advice without worrying if his son is gay or not. What the film wants to represent is that no matter the circumstance, parents will always love their children just as they are. However, the teenagers do not have a kiss scene in the movie.
Strange World had the worst at the box office and is first as the worst opening in recent years, behind Encanto, Lightyear, and West Side Story. There is no exact reason why Strange World failed at the box office by grossing $18.6 million, but it is believed that Disney gave more importance to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Avatar.