Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 61st animated feature, Strange World, introduces a legendary family of explorers, the Clades, as they attempt to navigate an uncharted, treacherous land alongside a motley crew that includes a mischievous blob called Splat; Legend, the family dog; and a slew of ravenous creatures. Ralph Potts reviews the Best Buy Limited-Edition Collectible Steelbook from Disney Home Media Distribution.

Publication Poster Fictional character Animated cartoon Book

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Disney - 2022
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 102 minutes
Genre: Family

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, Spanish/French Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Lucy Liu, Gabrielle Union, Jaboukie Young-White
Directed by: Don Hall, Qui Nguyen
Music by: Henry Jackman
Written by: Qui Nguyen
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: February 14, 2023

"Journey to a Place Where Nothing is as it Appears"


Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 61st animated feature, Strange World, introduces a legendary family of explorers, the Clades, as they attempt to navigate an uncharted, treacherous land alongside a motley crew that includes a mischievous blob called Splat; Legend, the family dog; and a slew of ravenous creatures.

My Take:

I had only seen the teaser trailer for Strange World and there was little about it that grabbed my attention. I am a fan of animated adventures so, reviewing it was a no-brainer. At its core, this is a story about family, specifically three generations who each are seeking their place in the world. Searcher Clade is a brilliant family man—who, as a teenager, discovered a plant-based power source that changed the world of Avalonia. Even with a statue in town in his honor, Searcher is at his core a humble farmer, growing, harvesting and distributing the crop alongside his wife and son.

Searcher’s dad, Jaeger, set out at a young age to be the kind of explorer legends are made of. A statue in town (right next to Searcher’s) memorialized the great explorer, who has not been seen in 25 years, presumed lost during an expedition. Searcher’s son, Ethan, is a happy 16-year-old with a great sense of humor and a decent work ethic (for a teenager). Ethan helps on the farm, but he's not sure he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps. The three Clades have huge differences that can prove divisive—and at the same time, they have more in common than any of them is willing to admit.

The plot that surrounds the Clades deals with the decline of the seemingly invaluable resource discovered by Searcher during the last expedition he was on with his father before his disappearance. Without it the everyday lives of the inhabitants of Avalonia would be heavily impacted as it powers their homes, equipment, vehicles etc. An expedition to travel the core of Avalonia is undertaken in order to find out what can be done. Searcher, his family and a group of adventurers set out and soon discover everything that they thought they knew about their home is wrong. For Searcher, he comes face to face with an additional discovery that makes him reassess his life.

As a film about family and the inner turmoil that can arise from it, Strange World does a nice job of delivering a nicely crafted story that resonates. That aspect shares too much of the runtime with a deeply rooted environmental message and audacious visuals. I don’t necessarily have a problem with focusing on social themes however, I find that if emphasis spends too much time in the forefront, it waters down the remaining components that make a film feel well-rounded. Overall, I liked Strange world. I appreciated its themes and loved the production elements which were simply excellent.

Jewel case Publication Games Book Fictional character

It's available in the Ultimate Collector’s Edition release (seen at the top of the review) as well as in a Best Buy Exclusive Limited-Edition 4K Steelbook (which I received for review) which features collectible packaging and beautiful artwork inside and out.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for action/peril and some thematic elements.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.

UHD Presentation: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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Dolby Atmos Rating: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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Strange World comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Disney Home Media Distribution featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

I watched the Blu-ray version of Strange World first so, going into viewing the Ultra HD presentation the 1080p video quality was still fresh in my mind. Digital animation tends to look quite good in high definition so, based on the quality of the Blu-ray rendering, I looked forward to a positive viewing experience of this film in Ultra HD.

In terms of resolution the differences are apparent as there is a noticeably finer texture in the minutia, especially in the characteristics/physical makeup of the characters and the various elements located in the subterranean world. This also applied to backgrounds which emphasized depth of field. The wide-angle shots of the expansive labyrinths look nearly 3D at times. The image has lots of pop as the expanded color gamut and emboldened dynamic range draw out the broad chromatic palate, and use of contrast. There are a host of colorfully rich sequences containing multi-faceted lighting and specular highlights.

Whites are gradational and bright and the monochromatic grays, blues and black featured in the sequences that take place at in darkened areas, or in dimly lit environs look terrific.

As good as Strange World looks in 1080p, the Ultra HD rendering, while not heads and shoulders above it, takes it to another level making for a visually engaging and pleasing video presentation.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that makes steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics, music and discrete sound effects. This is done very well and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely.

There is some excellent use of the overhead channels during the opening sequence during the avalanche where icicles fall and creaking sounds fill the listening area. The variety of living things in the Strange World do a great job of bringing the entire platform to life. While this isn’t what I would regard as an aggressive Atmos mix I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere combined with discrete object placement which combined to make for an entertaining overall listening track.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

    • Resolution/Clarity:
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Audio: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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    • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Strange World comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

This is an excellent video presentation that boasts vibrant colors that are rich in saturation and bold in depth. Detail rendering is terrific as the video has three-dimensional quality with crisp texture and excellent fine articulation. Contrast is boldly applied, whites are crisp, and colors pop without distortion or loss of detail. Blacks are deep with excellent dynamic and enriching gradational highlights. This is a beautiful and pristine quality digital transfer that sparkles on Blu-ray.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack makes for a rewarding home theater experience. As has been the case with recent Disney sound mixes on Blu-ray, turning the volume up is a requirement. In this case, I found that a 4db increase yielded the best results. After that, dynamics are solid, providing the elements contained within the recording with definitive energy and gratifying impact. The music plays an integral role in this presentation and the entire surround platform is used to present it.

Dialog is crystalline with appreciable tonal inflection and non-sibilant vocal character. The auditory is rich in clarity and detail which allows the subtle environmental sounds in the recording to easily be heard. The mix creates an immersive surround sound experience that achieves excellent balance which correlates nicely with the events transpiring onscreen. Low frequency effects are solid, prioritized appropriately and, on occasion, prove room energizing. This is a well-rounded surround sound mix that makes for an entertaining audio presentation.

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Strange World Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Strange World Blu-ray
    • Anatomy of a Scene: Creating A Strange World – Learn about Walt Disney Animation Studios' creative process through a single, visually stunning scene as the filmmaking team puts all of their imagination – and more – on the screen.
    • Strange Science – Jaboukie Young-White (voice of Ethan Clade) hosts an exploration of how Walt Disney Animation Studios artists were inspired by real science to create Strange World.
    • Creature Feature – Journey into the world beneath Avalonia and meet some of the terrifying, slimy, gassy ¬– and sometimes cute – creatures that inhabit this Strange World.
    • The Hidden Secrets of Strange World – Uncover the references and characters from some of your favorite Walt Disney Animation Studios films hidden throughout the film, along with some fun facts and behind–the–scenes stories of how Strange World was made.
    • Outtakes – Go behind the glass as we join the cast of Strange World inside the recording booth for some fun, flubs and outtakes.
    • Deleted Scenes
    o The Ballad of Jaeger Clade
    o Lightning Lynx
    o Funerals and Promises
    o Ethan and Searcher
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

Strange World is Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 61st animated feature and is well suited family entertainment that can be enjoyed by everyone. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Ultimate Collector’s Edition from Disney Home Media Distribution featuring excellent Ultra HD/top notch high-definition video, crisp lossless surround sound, including a solid Dolby Atmos immersive listening experience, and a fair supplemental offering. I wouldn’t say that this one qualifies as a must have but, a rental on family movie night is a good start.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-NZ7 4K Ultra High-Definition Laser Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Seymour A/V Center Stage XD 2.35.1 100” Wide Retractable Screen
Marantz AV7706 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems