Strange World – Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Last fall, Disney unleashed their sci-fi family animated adventure Strange World upon theaters. Unfortunately this one was a whiff for them at the box off. Coupled with Lightyear, it was not a financially sound year at the box office for their animated science fiction fantasies. Nonetheless, it became their Christmas Day Disney+ movie release and will now be making its way to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray. It comes with an Atmos track as well as a handful of bonus featurettes. If you order from Best Buy, you can get the collectible steelbook version which was the edition that was used for this review. If you don’t care for fancy packaging, then there is a standard 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray version that you can order from any given retailer. Both versions arrive on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, so maybe you get one for that person you fancy or they get one for you?



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. The voice cast includes Academy Award®*- and Tony Award®-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal as Searcher Clade, a family man who finds himself out of his element on an unpredictable mission; Emmy®- and two-time Golden Globe®-nominee Dennis Quaid as Searcher’s larger-than-life explorer father, Jaeger; comedian, actor, writer, filmmaker and musician Jaboukie Young-White as Searcher’s 16-year-old, adventure-seeking son, Ethan; actress, producer, bestselling author and TIME100 cover honoree Gabrielle Union as Meridian Clade, an accomplished pilot and Searcher’s partner in all things; and critically acclaimed actress, producer, director and fine artist Lucy Liu as Callisto Mal, Avalonia’s fearless leader who spearheads the exploration into the strange world.

Disney’s Strange World gets points for bringing some nice original science fiction to the table, It presents some rather whacky creations and aesthetic to the fold. There are some unique creatures, plant life and terrain with which our characters start in and go on to discover in the movie. We live in an era where science fiction can play it safe a lot of the time in terms of designs and looks of things (Lots of aliens and tech looked super similar in the 10s), but this one is a little fearless and/or borrows inspiration from some more non traditional sources than other.

Within the film itself, there’s a set of characters and personal journeys that just don’t really pan out to anything super interesting or that is a traditional ride made fresh or super engaging. Despite Jake Gyllenhaal giving a top notch performance that elevates things, it can’t really pull the narrative into a stronger direction. And I mean it. Typically in these things, known actors just sort of do their thing. Gyllenhaal feels like a full fledged character and really goes for it

The score for the film is actually quite a delight to here. Henry Jackman has some obvious homages here, but its effective nonetheless, with the worst being a quick of nostalgia here or there. His music really aims to be some sort of lost John Williams or James Horner science fiction score. It certainly adds to the picture and really gives it a more rich vibe and classical flow.

Strange World leads you in, but somewhere in the journey it sags and drags along. I admire its sense of discovery, but somewhere along the line it just stopped being interesting to me and the family drama wasn’t really bringing the heat as well. Perhaps another watch will improve it down the line. I could easily see this becoming a cult classic. But, if it does, it’ll be in due time.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail Strange World was oddly animated at 1080p, making this a 4K upscale. However, this one really takes the cake with good, strong color improvement with them saturated and popping much more than the standard Blu-ray. There is also much improved fine details, patterns and textures in this picture as well a more crisp image overall.

Depth: Depth of field is pretty strong and 3 dimensional here with good spacing, scale and pushback on display. Movements are fluid and natural and no blurring or jittering from any rapid action sequences occurs.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and natural and help to really bring out colors and outline much of the work done here. No issues with information lost and no crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are well saturated and lusciously pop off the screen. There are beautiful greens, fuchsias and blues that come on striking in many of the landscapes. HDR really has a nice bump here with beams, fire and contrast in the darkened sequences.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Japanese 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Strange World comes with a pretty solid Atmos track. You’ll want to crank up a few notches to have a more desirable experience. Its well balanced between the score, vocals and effects, though some areas do fall flat in spots and its more Disney-ish in the mix quality than it is your “other studios normal” Atmos mix.

Height: From above you get some things flying, debris, blasts and characters hopping over camera as a well as some lighter ambiance and scoring.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer hits with some decent power, but you probably anticipate and desire a little more than what is there. Nonetheless, there’s an effect felt with blasts, engines, punches and bumps in the score.

Surround Sound Presentation: This one easily works its way around the room, even in the more quieter scenes the world comes to life in the rear and side channels decently with good ambiance and unique sound contributions.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


Strange World comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a redeemable digital copy. All extras are found on the standard Blu-ray disc. This edition comes in a collectible steelbook packaging only available at Best Buy.

Anatomy Of A Scene (HD, 23:20) – While this only focuses on one moment in the movie, it really tells a whole story of the production and truly showcases a lot of the thought process and execution in bringing it to live. I’d say its more valuable than a EPK friendly quick “Making Of” that can typically be found on Disney or Marvel movies.

Strange Science (HD, 13:43) – Jaboukie Young-White is the host for a discussion about the science on display in the film and how it pertains to our world and its likelihood and realism.

Creature Feature (HD, 6:14) – This is like an old nature show that tells us all about the creatures in the movie.

The Hidden Secrets Of Strange World (HD, 5:24) – A featurette on easter eggs and little moments you may have missed when watching the movie.

Outtakes (HD, 2:03)

Deleted Scenes (HD, 11:41)


Strange World sadly winds up pretty vanilla despite all of the original ideas and animation on dispaly. Disney brings it to 4K Ultra-HD looking really pretty, an actually genuine upconvert that feels above most and an decent Atmos track. Extras are on the soft side in terms of depth of content, but worthwhile. The collectible steelbook from Best Buy is pretty slick. Definitely might want to check this movie out on Disney+ before investing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it pops up as a cult classic in years down the road.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

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