The “Disney of Christmas” has no downsides. Avalonia, the strange journey by Don Hall and Qui Nguyen, available Friday on Disney+, lives up to its title. The journey undertaken by a handful of adventurers to save the Earth, threatened by a plant-destroying virus, takes them into a universe as original as it is rich in surprises.
“You don’t find out where they are until pretty late,” Don Hall said 20 minutes. But the spectator has all the keys in his hand to guess it. This turns out to be strictly correct: as with many puzzles, the clues seem obvious once the solution is given. The first magical images unveiled at the Annecy Festival have been brilliantly developed into a universe of dazzling visual richness.
A brittle creature
“The animators were asked to let their imaginations run wild, both for the sets and for the creatures that inhabit Avalonia,” insists Qui Nguyen. Among the film’s most astonishing successes we find Splat, a blue creature so expressive that we quickly forget that she is not gifted with speech. “A character like Splat is pure happiness for anyone working in animation,” insists Don Hall. You have to give it life and make it endearing by starting with a ball of blue fabric. This is the essence of our profession. Splat joins Aladdin and the Flubber Blanket in the pantheon of bizarre, cute and surprisingly living creatures that the Disney studios have made a specialty of.
“We played the card of originality for the world that the heroes discover,” says Qui Nguyen. But we’ve anchored their relationship at the heart of a family environment where many viewers will no doubt recognize themselves. The childish relationships are at the center of a story that does not hesitate to reserve surprises in this area as in an ecological message to which the directors are very attached.
“You can find food for thought on many subjects in it Avalonia or just get carried away by the story,” admits Don Hall. Regardless of their choice, the viewer will spend an exotic moment where excitement, poetry, humor and tenderness are on the program. The qualities knowAvalonia, The Strange Journey would have been worth discovering indoors.