So, as far as I can tell maybe twelve people actually bothered to watch the movie Strange Magic? And of those, maybe five actually liked it?
Okay, I’m oversimplifying here. However, it definitely wasn’t a popular movie, from the first trailers on. I’ll admit that even I wasn’t particularly enchanted by the trailers. To be fair, I think we can all agree that they were BAD trailers. The movie wasn’t a masterpiece or anything, but it was not half as awful as it looked in the trailers. I thought trailers were supposed to do the opposite?
I know, I know, it’s not uncommon for trailers to be awful, and I have a feeling that’s doubly true when nobody really expects the movie to do well in the first place. Well, congrats, it didn’t. I almost didn’t even bother picking it up off the shelf when I glimpsed it at work during my break — that’s right, I almost turned down watching it for FREE — and that was before I even checked the ratings. Oof. Not pretty. However, there are ratings and there is what people thought of the movie. The actual reviews weren’t so bad, mainly criticizing things that I didn’t care THAT much about in an animated movie (y’know … the plot) and praised some things that sounded more intriguing (like the animation of everything but the actual faces of all the primary characters, yay!).
So, in that spirit, I’m just going to breeze right past the actual plot (I do have some comments on it — how can’t I when the Bog King is Black Beauty?! –, but this isn’t a movie review) and zero in on a fairly irrelevant visual detail.
The main characters in this movie are elves and fairies. They’re tiny. They wear flowers and leaves and all that — y’know, fairy stuff. The big ones ride dragonflies. That’s the size range we’re talking. Once in a while, a “large” animal makes an appearance — a rather shifty-looking squirrel that inexplicably serves as the only fairy mount in the movie (they can fly, after all), and a pretty little agama-type lizard that initially tries to eat everyone — but there’s nothing large enough to really overwhelm the overall scale of the fairy world.
But then there are the bones.
In the Dark Forest various things are made out of animal bones, which of course adds to the overall creepy aesthetic. But as with the eerie abandoned residences of the Hundred Acre Wood, one asks oneself: Who left all this behind? The throne is seemingly the lower jaw of something (with all but two canines missing), and the entrance to the palace is an entire weathered skull of some kind of toothy insectivore-slash-dragon thing (with nothing BUT canines, like a massive version of the possum/bandicoot/shark that is the Imp). Both jaws are big enough to swallow pretty much any living thing we see in the movie (that’s almost a spoiler, actually, but for entirely unrelated reasons).
So, these big guys who leave their heads lying around. Are they only active during the day? *Too* big for something as small as a fairy to concern itself with? Or maybe they’re from a recently-extinct (or eradicated) race of fairyland-style megafauna, leaving behind a mere handful of representatives like the Imp who were too small or clever to kill off?
Whatever their fate, I decided to sketch out what one such critter might have looked like in life, going more off their general size and the Imp’s appearance than anything (since nothing else really has *quite* that many sharp little teeth, and frankly the gate skull looks more like a carnivorous horse).
Et voila. A much larger, and slightly more catlike, cousin to the Imp so poorly rendered in the corner there. It’s actually still too small here, but it could be a juvenile. Heck, it could be crouched in the future court of the Bog King, since an old lair is as good a place as any to find animal bones. Maybe he just decided to go with what was already there for the decor — he seems like that kind of guy (and his mother is certainly the kind who would insist on SOME kind of decor).
So there we are. Because an unnecessarily-complex exploration of a tiny detail in one of the lowest-rated movies of 2015, culminating in a drawing of yet another toothy animal with unnecessary ocelli, is inarguably in keeping with the spirit of this blog. Just be happy I didn’t get started on the fairy wings or there’d have been no end of it….