Strange World – Plugged In

Film critic

You could say it was a shocking discovery.

Pando – the plant discovered by the famous Clade family in the farthest, coldest regions of Avalonia – literally strikes anyone who picks one of its vivid green berries. But while electric fruit makes a poor snack, it is a very good source of energy. And he pretty much revolutionized them.

After all, it’s not like Avalonia could import coal or oil from foreign countries to keep its lights on and its hovercraft moving. As far as its inhabitants know, there is not foreign lands. The only land they have ever known is, then, Avalonia—surrounded by towering mountains that no one has ever been able to climb or cross. And the whole country had ended up without lights and hovercrafts for its entire history by candlelight.

Jaeger Clade would be fine if it had the pando never discovered, if we’re honest. Avalonia’s greatest explorer wasn’t looking for mamby-pamby plant when he and his intrepid team ran into the thing. He was going to do what no Avalonian had ever done. He was going to climb his mountains and see what lay on the other side.

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But researcher Clade, Jaeger’s son, spotted the berries and argued that they should be taken back to the mountain. Why, they might well reshape Avalonia’s future, Searcher argued.

“Search, we are explorersnot gardeners,” Jaeger said.

And then, Searcher had the audacity to tell Jaeger that he is not an explorer. He never he wanted to be an explorer. And this plant can affect Avalonia way more than a little climbing over unclimbable mountains. And then—as if to piss him off—everyone else in Jaeger’s intrepid squad agreed.

So on that snowy day, father and son parted: Jaeger went into the mountains and disappeared. Searcher took the factory to Avalonia and, indeed, changed the world. Well, admittedly, the plant did the job. Searcher got a nice statue out of it though – right next to one of his intricate pops.

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It’s been 25 years now, and Searcher’s put the things he explores in the closet. Instead, he works with a rake and a hoe. Searcher and his family (wife Meridian and son Ethan) are farmers now — one of many growing the miracle crop.

But now, it seems something is wrong with pando. He dies—cleansed of some strange disease. Avalonia president Callisto Mal says every crop in the country can be infected within a month.

But Callisto has a plan: If they can travel down under Avalonia – where Pando’s roots flow into what is rumored to be the central heart of the plant – maybe they can figure out what’s killing the pando and figure out how to fix it.

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Oh, yes: Callisto said “they.” He wants Searcher to unearth his explorer and join him. No one knows more about Pando than he does, after all.

Son Ethan wants to come too. But Searcher insists that would be too dangerous. He still has terrible memories of climbing unscalable rocks and crossing unforgivable rivers with his father. He’s not going to make Ethan suffer like he did.

“I will not risk your life,” Searcher tells his son. “Never.”

But what if 16-year-old Ethan wants to risk his life? What if he’s not cut out to be a farmer? What if there’s a little Jaeger hiding in it?

And what if Ethan decided to sneak aboard Callisto’s hovercraft? Would you be… shocked?

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