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'Strange Magic' casts animated spell with pop tunes and fairies

/ Source: Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Take one feisty fairy princess, a misunderstood villain and a spunky elf, add a magical potion and a soundtrack of classic pop songs and you have the recipe for the George Lucas animated film "Strange Magic," a fairy tale about finding unexpected love.

Lucas, creator of the blockbuster "Star Wars" franchise, is the executive producer and wrote the story for the film that opens in U.S. theaters on Friday.

Inspired by "A Midsummer Night's Dream," with a cast of talking mushrooms, goblins and elves created by Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Industrial Light & Magic, it is a tale Lucas has been working on between other projects for 15 years.

While the "Star Wars" films were created for 12-year-old boys, Lucas said "Strange Magic" is a musical fairy tale for young girls with a message about the most unlikely people falling in love.

"I wanted to see if I could tell a story using contemporary music, matching the words up to the story, which was a bit of a challenge and fun for me to do," Lucas, 70, said in a interview.

Fairies, elves and goblins battle for a magic love potion, created by the Sugar Plum Fairy, while belting out songs such "Can't Help Falling in Love," "Mistreated," "Trouble" and "Wild Thing."

"Strange Magic" travels between the magical Fairy Kingdom and the foreboding Dark Forest, where the menacing Bog King, voiced by actor Alan Cumming ("The Good Wife"), has imprisoned the Sugar Plum Fairy so love cannot enter his realm.

Evan Rachel Wood ("The Ides of March") is the voice of Marianne, a fairy princess determined never to fall in love again after catching her fickle fiance cheating on her.

"She is kind of the anti-fairy princess," said Wood, adding the film "is sort of a 'Beauty and the Beast' but he doesn't turn into a prince in the end."

When Marianne's sister is kidnapped and taken to the Dark Forest, she sets off to free her from the angry Bog King, along with an elf named Sunny, voiced by Elijah Kelley ("The Butler").

"I really like that women especially, are being told, 'You can do it your way. You don't have to be controlled by a man. You can be as powerful, if not more so, and you can create your own destiny,'" said Cumming. "These are very new ideas in the realm of fairy tales."

(Editing by Eric Kelsey and David Gregorio)