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STRANGE MAGIC is a strange film. Not just the movie itself - a musical fantasy inspired by William Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM - but nearly everything surrounding its release. It's a Disney film, yet it's not - the first film from George Lucas to follow the sale of Lucasfilm to The Walt Disney Studios, but released through Disney's sometimes-used Touchstone Pictures label. It's a Lucas film, yet it's not - with the STAR WARS creator getting a "story by" credit, but screenplay and directorial duties falling on others, most notably Gary Rydstrom, a Skywalker Sound Designer whose credits include WRECK-IT RALPH, FINDING NEMO and TOY STORY. When I first covered the film here on THE ROCK FATHER last November, I commented on how the marketing was sorta old-school in that it came out of nowhere - and it looked really cool. But when the film came-and-went in January with little fanfare, I (like many) missed it until the DVD release in May - a 2015 home video release with no Blu-ray. Again, very strange, indeed.
Vibrant, colorful, and very much musical, this story of fairies, monsters and other mythical creatures is packed with re-workings of pop tunes from the past several decades, from Whitney Houston and Deep Purple, to the Four Tops, the Troggs, ELO and Elvis Presley. But it doesn't really work, and that's unfortunate.
Sure, STRANGE MAGIC captures a bit of the attention of my daughters (almost 3 and almost 6), but even they had issues staying enthralled through the entire film, completely unlike the creator's STAR WARS Saga, or even recent Disney Animation Studios fare like FROZEN and BIG HERO 6 - both of which keep them glued to the screen from beginning to end.
Something is missing here... a bit of "magic" perhaps, and I can't even really put my finger on what. While it's possible that STRANGE MAGIC could one day amass a cult following and sing-along screenings down the line, it plays like a film that's not really good, nor bad, but simply one that exists.
James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor ofThe Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider— a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.
He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers.
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.
Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.