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DVD Review: Doctor Strange

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Doctor Strange is the story of Stephen Strange, a brilliant surgeon who has a massive ego. One night he’s in a horrible car accident and loses the one thing most important to him: the use of his hands. He’ll be lucky if he’ll be able to grip a pen, so forget performing surgery again.

Desperate to regain the use of his hands, he travels the globe to meet with specialists until he exhausts his money. No one can help. Penniless and his spirit crushed, Strange is approached by a man who tells him he can regain the use of his hands, but he must travel to Tibet.

When he arrives, he meets the Ancient One, who is the current Sorcerer Supreme. He puts Strange through a bit of Karate Kid/Jedi training (i.e. hard work to break his old habits, unlearn what he has learned, and develop a bit of humility). But Strange isn’t interested in becoming a sorcerer; he just wants his hands back so he can return to being a surgeon.

Once he learns the ways of the mystic, however, a whole new world opens up to him. He must use his new found skills to prevent an invasion from the malevolent Dread Dormammu, who is trying to enter our world through the nightmares of children trapped in comas. Strange must also contend with Baron Mordo, a current student of the Ancient One. When Mordo learns he will not be the next Sorcerer Supreme, he switches over to Dormammu’s side.

My only criticism of this DVD is that while the producers took 45 minutes or so to set up Strange’s story, they didn’t put much time into explaining his nemesis. While Dormammu is said to be an evil entity of pure magic, not much else is detailed. He also didn’t look like his comic counterpart; he was just a flaming head (whereas in the comics he’s humanoid).

But these are minor complaints. The story is faithful to Strange’s origins, and, as detailed in the featurette, his origin in the comic was four panels, and they did flesh it out in the movie.

I was never a huge fan of Doctor Strange, but this film really was fun. It’s an origin film that leaves the door open for a return. I’m also not a huge fan of 3-D animation, so the fact that this film was in traditional 2-D just added to my enjoyment.

Extras include:

  • Best of Marvel Video Game Cinematics
  • "Who is Doctor Strange?" featurette – Past writers—including Stan Lee, Steve Englehart and J.M. DeMatteis, along with Eric Rollman (executive producer), Frank Paur (supervising producer), Greg Johnson (screenwriter) and Craig Kyle (executive producer)—talk about Doctor Strange’s origins. This was interesting from both a historical point-of-view and as someone not completely versed in Doctor Strange.
  • Doctor Strange Concept Art
  • Trailer Gallery
  • And my favorite extra, which isn’t even about Doctor Strange, is “First Look at Avengers Reborn” featurette, which is the next animated film to come out in summer 2008. It’s a completely original movie (meaning not an origin film) where we meet the children of The Avengers. This looks very interesting, and as an Avengers fan, I can’t wait for this.

 

Fans of the previous Marvel films, animation based on comics or the supernatural will enjoy this film.

Grade B+

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