Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Doctor Strange (2016)

Number Rolled: 31
Movie Name/Year: Doctor Strange (2016)
Tagline: Open your mind. Change your reality.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Length: 115 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures,
Producer: Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard, Louis D’Esposito, Kevin Feige, David J. Grant, Stan Lee, Charles Newirth
Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Topo Wresniwiro, Linda Louise Duan, Mark Anthony Brighton
Stunt Doubles: Tsuyoshi Abe, Gui DaSilva-Greene, Justin Eaton, Alvin Hsing, Sarah Molasky, Mark Tearle, Lee-Anne Telford, Travis Wong, Trevor Habberstad, Jessica Hooker, Steve Jehu, Ishmael Khan, George Kirby, Tomasz Krzemieniecki, Julia Schunevitsch, Leo Woodruff

Blurb from Netflix: After a neurosurgeon loses the use of his hands he meets a mystical mentor who helps him harness magic to become the most powerful sorcerer on Earth.

Selina’s Point of View:
When Doctor Strange came out, I went to the very first showing. I loved it instantly. The film is just unbelievable.

Even if one were to ignore the enthralling story, the amazing acting, and the interesting characters, there’s still the impressive effects. Watching Doctor Strange for the first time, in theaters, offered me feelings parallel to those I had when I first saw The Matrix (1999) on the big screen.

Like most, if not all, Marvel stories – Doctor Strange has deeper meanings behind it. It’s not just about an injured doctor that learns some magic. It focuses on the fear of death, the ego, and self-sacrifice. You see the effects of a self-centered nature on that person and those around him. Then you see what it takes to undergo a change in that personality.

Everyone has met someone like that in their life. Someone so self-centered that they forget everything about the people they care about if it helps them get what they want. They forget severe allergies, they don’t notice when they hurt people, they turn things around to make everything they do seem like someone else is doing it to them.

They don’t notice that they make the world around them feel unwanted, because all they notice is that they’re getting what they want.

In this case, both the protagonist and the antagonist follow a self-centered route for the majority of the movie. Even more-so than in most superhero origin films. I mean, Tony Stark probably would have given Stephen Strange a run for his money in the self-centered category… but I think Strange still would have won that contest until forced to change.

There were two messages in Doctor Strange that I liked more than the others.

The first was that death is what makes life worth living. It acknowledges that innate fear of death we all have, and that it is ultimately unavoidable. It explains, however, that the knowledge that death comes for all is what gives any urgency to our actions. For me, it’s a calming message. It might not be the same for everyone.

My other favorite is that everyone has the capacity for change. Currently, I’m dealing with a very self-centered person. Someone I can’t simply evict from my life. Someone who does damage with nearly every word they speak – not just to me but to someone I love.

Although the actions this person takes part in are rarely malicious, they exhibit an intense thoughtlessness that can lead to severe complications. At least twice during my pregnancy it has led to harmful stress or allergies that have affected my glucose levels – which can be harmful for my child.

Speaking to this person has never helped, because they don’t see what they’re doing. Because they can’t see beyond what they want to what other people need.

Movies like Doctor Strange illustrate that people exhibiting that brand of self-centered behavior are still capable of change. It gives me hope. It makes me believe that a bargain can be made.

That said, I believe that Doctor Strange is an absolutely unforgettable film. It may even be one Marvel’s greatest.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have been really excited about this movie. The trailers were all amazing and intriguing. You can’t go wrong with a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, right? I’m fairly certain I wasn’t ensorcelled into liking this film, either – it excelled quite on its own merit.

There really isn’t much I could say that would be negative here. The movie was simply great. If I absolutely HAD to pick something out of it that bugged me, it might be some of the Inception-like (2010) reality bending. Some of it was hard to focus on with so much happening on the screen at once. 

All told, it still wasn’t as disorienting as shaky-cam; so really, no harm, no foul.

Can we talk about how perfect Benedict Cumberbatch (War Horse, The Imitation Game, Black Mass) was for this role? I may not have read the Doctor Strange comics, but I’ve seen character imagery enough to boggle over how close Cumberbatch looks to the source material. It feels like he just hopped right out of a graphic novel.

The cast really is rather insane, here. I’m not talking about psychotic, either – well… Mads Mikkelsen (Valhalla Rising, A Royal Affair, Rogue One) is rather adept at playing highly intelligent nut-jobs. I have to give credit where it’s due, after all.

I’m very glad that the role of The Ancient One was brought to life by the brilliant and quirky Tilda Swinton (Burn After Reading, Trainwreck, Okja). I love her penchant for androgynous characters. That played well into the gender bend, as the comic version of the character was male.

I’ve got a bit of interesting tidbit trivia for you. Swinton was among the cast of Snowpiercer (2013), which we have previously reviewed. Doctor Strange’s director, Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil), just happens to be listed as the director for a Snowpiercer TV series in development. If he does even half as good a job on that as he did with this movie, it’s going to be an interesting and entertaining ride, indeed.

The bottom line is that I loved this movie. I loved the journey of the characters, and the overall storytelling throughout. There’s no doubt that I would watch this again. If you take the violence factor with a grain of salt, this is even a good Marvel Universe movie to enjoy with the kids.

Speech Available: English, Spanish
Subtitles Available: English, Spanish

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 90%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 86%
Metascore - 72/100
Metacritic User Score – 8.3/10
IMDB Score – 7.5/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating5/5

P.S. There’s a scene after the first part of the credits and a second scene after the rest of the credits.

Movie Trailer:

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