4K/Blu-Ray Review: “Strange World”

The 61st animated feature from Walt Disney Animation Studios comes home to add to your longstanding collection this Valentine’s Day. Full of heart, humor, and adventure, the film’s style is a throwback to the style of film the studio put out in the early aughts, like Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet, while also being made with modern inclusion sensitivities. At home, this vibrant and imaginative film doesn’t look better than it does in the 4K Ultra HD/Blu-Ray/Digital Ultimate Collector’s Edition.



Three generations of Clades are reunited on a daring adventure. Famed explorer Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid) went missing years ago after proceeding on an expedition when his son, Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal), discovered an energy source known as Pando and chose to return to mountain-locked Avalonia where the plants changed the city’s way of living. Sixteen-year-old Ethan Clade (Jaboukie Young-White) has only ever known life on his father’s Pando farm and secretly longs to be an explorer, so when his dad is asked to go on a mission to discover why Pando crops are dying, Ethan can’t resist stowing away on the airship with their dog, Legend. But what awaits beneath the surface of Avalonia is far more strange and mysterious than anyone could’ve dreamed of.

Science-fiction meets science-fact in this generational family story that comes with a biology lesson. Strange World will undoubtedly be used by educators for generations to come to help kids understand the miracle of how viruses are fought. But on top of that, it’s a fun world that audiences will want to revisit. Although not a major theatrical draw last November, the film has remained in the top 20 on Disney+ since its Christmas launch on the streaming platform. What you won’t find there are a nice assortment of bonus features exclusive to this home video release, plus the superior 4K picture and Dolby Atmos sound that streaming can’t yet replicate.

Bonus Features

  • Anatomy of a Scene: Creating A Strange World (23:20) – 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 (13:43) – 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 (6:14) – 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 (5:24) – 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 (2:03) – Go behind the glass as we join the cast of Strange World inside the recording booth for some fun, flubs and outtakes.
  • Deleted Scenes (11:41): Heads of Story Lissa Treiman and David G. Derrick Jr introduce four deleted scenes, viewable individually or as a “Play All” option.
    • The Ballad of Jaeger Clade (3:05)
    • Lightning Lynx (3:20)
    • Funerals and Promises (2:33)
    • Searcher and Ethan (2:26)


Walt Disney Animation Studios is known for its excellent use of color, but Strange World ramps everything up several notches with scenes that predominantly feature both cool and hot colors all at once. No medium is better equipped to handle the vibrancy the film offers than 4K Ultra HD. The world of Strange World isn’t as textured as most Disney environments, primarily because of the flatter, fleshier scenery, but the color is where the real distinction between the Blu-Ray and 4k presentations can be seen. On Blu-Ray, there’s not so much a loss of texture, but the color spectrum feels more compressed. That being said, viewed on its own and not back-to-back with the 4K, the Blu-Ray presentation is also a winning format.


The primary audio mix on the 4K disc is a Dolby Atmos 7.1 mix. Henry Jackman’s excellent score, plus ambient notions, fill the full sound field, placing viewers in the center of the action. Other audio options on the 4K disc include a stereo descriptive audio track, plus 7.1 Spanish, French, and Japanese dubs. On Blu-Ray, the main mix becomes a 7.1 DTS-HDMA track, with Spanish and French reduced to 5.1 and Japanese omitted (the stereo descriptive audio track remains).

Packaging & Design

Curiously, the typical 4K/Blu-Ray/Digital packaged release of Strange World has become a Disney Movie Club exclusive. The more generally available buying option is the Best Buy exclusive SteelBook release, which is what was sent to us for review. The exterior of the SteelBook creates a panoramic view of the landscap when opened. Interior artwork depicts a similar vignette of the airship. Both discs include artwork, with Splat and Legend on the Blu-Ray, and the three Clade men on the 4K disc. The only insert is a code for the digital copy, redeemable through Movies Anywhere.



The main menu on both discs features an animated view of the terrain, with Splat occasionally popping up. It is set to ambient noise rather than score. The Blu-Ray disc opens with an ad for the live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Selecting “Sneak Peeks” plays an additional ad for the Disney Bundle (Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+) before repeating The Little Mermaid.

Final Thoughts

While not a romance, Strange World offers families some quality bonding time this Valentine’s Day. The Blu-Ray disc includes some worthwhile bonus features, while the 4K disc features the best in-home picture and sound. On top of that, owning Strange World has value for parents whose kids will be going through biology class as the film contains some edutatainment curriculum about how bodies fight off viruses.

Strange World Buying Options

Alex Reif
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).