Though the animation titan that is the Walt Disney Company has mostly been sticking to its roots with infectiously fun musicals such as Encanto (2021) and Frozen II (2019), the studio has also been exploring animated expeditions into more adventurous stories. Recently, there have been a wide variety of these non-musical adventures, including hit films like Raya and the Last Dragon (2021), Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018), and Zootopia (2016), just to name a few. But their latest adventure takes a page out of some of Disney’s most legendary exploratory films like Pixar’s Up (2009) and the criminally underrated Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001). Strange World (2022) reunites the duo behind the Academy Award-nominated Raya and the Last Dragon, directors Don Hall and Qui Nguyen, bringing with them an all-new adventure packed to the brim with exploration and excitement. The latest from Walt Disney Animation Studios follows the Clade family, more specifically the optimistic Ethan Clade (Jaboukie Young White), his overprotective father Searcher Clade (Jake Gyllenhaal), and Searcher’s own estranged father Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid). The trio of would-be adventurers, along with Searcher’s wife Meridian Clade (Gabrielle Union) and president Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu), stumbles upon an almost alien world, packed with environments and creatures unlike anything they’ve seen before.
The Clades have already made their way to the theater, but how exactly does one watch Strange World outside the multiplex? To find out, consider the information below your guide to this unique environment.
Editor’s Note: This piece was updated on December 25 to include the details about the film’s DVD and Blu-ray release.
Is Strange World Available on Streaming?
Just like Encanto, Strange World premiered exclusively in movie theaters. The last non-musical Disney film, Raya and the Last Dragon, took advantage of a unique distribution schedule. The film was released both in theaters and on Disney+ for an extra fee in addition to the streaming subscription. This was a decision made because many audiences were still staying home due to the pandemic, but theaters were also starting to slowly but surely open up. Now that things have gotten somewhat better, Strange World didn’t follow that release model and instead had its premiere exclusively in theaters.
After the film had a pretty disappointing performance at the box office, Disney made the animated adventure available to stream on Disney+ starting on December 23. This is once again very similar to Encanto, and while the acclaimed film did perform decently at the box office, it made its way to the streaming platform just in time for Christmas, and it found an even bigger streaming audience. If you don’t have Disney+ yet, the service costs $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year. If you also want access to Hulu and ESPN+ in addition to Disney+, the Disney Bundle is also a great option, costing $13.99 per month for the Hulu ad-supported tier and $19.99 per month for the ad-free tier.
When Was Strange World Released in Theaters?
Families around the country were able to meet the Clade family this past Thanksgiving, as Strange World was available to watch in theaters as of Wednesday, November 23, 2022.
The first teaser for Strange World feels like something that Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) from Up would have watched as a kid in the theater, as it opens up in black and white and even has a fancy narrator sporting a transatlantic accent. In addition to showing off the film’s unique visual style and fantastical (and dangerous) creatures, the teaser also focuses a bit more on Searcher Clade, who clearly prefers the much quieter and less dangerous life of a humble farmer than he does that of a daring adventurer.
The second trailer gives a bit more insight into the plot, showing that Searcher and his father haven’t seen each other in decades, ever since Jaeger disappeared. It also shows that whatever this expedition is, it has the fate of the entire world hanging in the balance, giving it even more urgency than ever before. Most of the trailer showcases much more of the action-packed spectacle the film will surely have, with the Clades and the rest of the crew of explorers facing off against a wide variety of dangerous and unusual wildlife.
When Is Strange World Coming on Blu-ray and DVD?
If you were hoping to get physical media of Strange World, you’re in luck. The film is getting a 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Steelbook, and DVD release on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2023. Wait, in theaters for Thanksgiving, streaming for Christmas, and home media for Valentine’s? Looks like Disney is really looking to promote this one as a movie for all holidays. The physical release includes four special featurettes: “Anatomy of a Scene – Creating A Strange World”, exploring the animation team’s creative process; “Strange Science,” focusing on how real science influenced Disney’s animation team; “Creature Feature”, taking a look at the bizarre creatures that inhabit the titular strange world; and “The Hidden Secrets of Strange World”, a round-up of all the references and easter eggs. We’ll also be getting four deleted scenes and outtakes showing the fun stuff that happened in the recording booth.
More Animated Adventure Films You Can Watch on Disney+
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001): We already briefly mentioned Atlantis, and we’re going to do it again because this hidden gem in Disney’s animation catalog deserves as much attention as possible. Set in the early 1900s, the film follows young Milo Thatch (Michael J. Fox) as he fulfills his lifelong dream of becoming an adventurer, joining an expedition to find the lost empire of Atlantis. Complete with one of the most unique animation styles ever to come from Walt Disney Animation, Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a fedora and a bullwhip away from becoming the best Indiana Jones animated film never made, and is without a doubt one of the most action-packed and entertaining animated films on Disney+.
Treasure Planet (2002): The dream project of Aladdin‘s (1992) creative duo Ron Clements and John Musker, this sci-fi reimagining of Treasure Island came out only a year after Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and is also an animated feature that seems to often be overlooked. The story is largely the same as the original, but it brings a unique steampunk aesthetic to the classic adventure tale. Characters embark on space travel despite still using ships with sails and a Victorian-inspired production design. It also absolutely nails one of the most important aspects of Robert Louis Stevenson‘s original novel, which is the complex relationship between Jim Hawkins (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Long John Silver (Brian Murray).
Up (2009): Most remember Pixar’s masterpiece for its soul-crushing opening, but at its core, it is a remarkably poignant story of coping with grief and finding a will for adventure again. Carl Fredricksen rarely left his house after losing his beloved wife but takes the chance to have the adventure of a lifetime when he equips his house with hundreds of balloons to travel to the gorgeous, untamed landscape of Swallow Falls. Though he starts this journey as a grieving, heartbroken and aloof individual, he eventually learns and grows to find happiness again with the help of a stowaway boy scout, a talking dog, and an ultra-rare bird.