Doctor Strange (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
February 26, 2017 by Dennis Amith
Scott Derrickson’s “Doctor Strange” was much better than what I was expecting. Having grown up with Stephen Strange and the various incarnations of the Sorcerer Supreme, I like the humanistic approach to this typically no-nonsense character but also balancing humor and action that made the storyline so entertaining and enjoyable. If you are a Marvel fan, “Doctor Strange” is a film I definitely recommend!
TITLE: Doctor Strange
FILM RELEASE: 2016
DURATION: 115 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:39:1), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles.
COMPANY: Marvel Studios
RATED: PG-13 (For Sci-Fi Violence and Action Throughout and an Intense Crash Sequence)
RELEASE DATE: February 28, 2017
Based on the Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Directed by Scott Derrickson
Written by Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Produced by Kevin Feige
Co-Producer: David J. Grant
Executive Producer: Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard, Louis D’Esposito, Stan Lee, Charles Newirth
Music byMichael Giacchino
Cinematography by Ben Davis
Edited by Sabrina Plisco, Wyatt Smith
Casting by Sarah Finn, Reg Poerscout-Edgerton
Production Design by Charles Wood
Art Direction by Julian Ashby, Jim Barr, Thomas Brown, Ray Chan, Jason T. Clark, Jordan Crockett, Michael Manson, Mike Stallion and Mark Swain
Set Decoration by John Bush, Lauri Gaffin
Costume Design by Alexandra Byrne
Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo
Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer
Benedict Wong as Wong
Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius
Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One
Michael Stuhlbarg as Dr. Nicodemus West
Benjamin Bratt as Jonathan Pangborn
Scott Adkins as Lucian
From Marvel Studios comes DOCTOR STRANGE, the story of world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident renders his hands useless. When traditional medicine fails him, he travels to remote Kamar-Taj in search of a cure, but instead discovers the mystical arts and becomes a powerful sorcerer battling dark forces bent on destroying our reality.
Back in 1963, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko unveiled their new character, Dr. Stephen Strange in “Strange Tales” #110.
Since then, Dr. Strange has been established as one of Marvel Comics top iconic superheroes.
And while a 1978 television film based on the character was not well-received, a live action film was released in 2016 courtesyo of Marvel Studios and was directed by Scott Derrickson (“Sinister”, “Deliver Us from Evil”, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”) and co-written by Derrickson, Jon Spaihts (“Prometheus”, “Passengers”) and C. Robert Cargill (“Sinister”, “Sinister 2”, “As They Continue to Fall”).
The film would star Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”, “Star Trek Into Darkness”, “Black Mass”), Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”, “Children of Men”, “American Gangster”), Rachel McAdams (“Sherlock Holmes”, “Mean Girls”, “Midnight in Paris”, “Spotlight”), Benedict Wong (“The Martian”, “Prometheus”, “Moon”), Mads Mikkelsen (“Casino Royale”, “The Hunt”, “Hannibal”), Tilda Swinton (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”, “Adaptation.”, “The Chronicles of Narnia”) and Benjamin Bratt (“Law & Order”, “Miss Congeniality”).
The film which was budgeted at $165 million would go on to make $675.8 million in the box office and now the 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD will be released on Blu-ray in Feb. 2017.
“Doctor Strange” begins with a sorcerer named Kaecilius (portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen) and his group of zealots entering the secret compound Kamar-Taj in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Kaecilius beheads the librarian and steal a ritual from a book belonging to the Ancient One. As the Ancient One pursues Kaecilius and his group, they escape with the ritual.
In New York City, we are then introduced to Stephen Strange (portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch), a neurosurgeon who is arrogant and also very intelligent thanks to his photographic memory. He has somewhat of a relationship with nurse Christine Palmer (portrayed by Rachel McAdams).
But while driving his car too fast in the rain and looking at his smartphone, he gets into a near fatal accident. Unfortunately, Stephen Strange has extensive nerve damage and is becoming desperate, so he uses his entire fortune to pay for his experimental surgeries, which do not work. And the failure would lead to him severing a lot of his relationships with people.
When he was told his trainer that someone who was paraplegic was able to come back from severe nerve damage and walk again, he goes to visit Jonathan Pangborn (portrayed by Benjamin Bratt) who explains to Stephen that he went to Kamar-Taj and learned how to walk again because of his visit and training.
This leads to Stephen going to Nepal and he meets a sorcerer named Mordo (portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor) and eventually the Ancient One (portrayed by Tilda Swinton).
As Stephen tries to get answers of how she was able to get Jonathan Pangborn to walk again after a severe injury, she tries to explain to him but Stephen refuses to believe that anything but cell regeneration is not possible. The Ancient One then reveals to Stephen Strange the astral plane and other dimensions such as the Mirror Dimension.
This leads to Stephen begging her to teach him and eventually Stephen Strange learns from his time at Kamar-Taj, through training and the library, which is managed by Master Wong (portrayed by Benedict Wong). But while Stephen is training, Kaecilius and his followers are trying to summon Dormammu of the Dark Dimension.
“Doctor Strange” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio). Fantastic visual effects. Because a lot of the film is shot on green screen, the film really depends on the delivery of visual effects and for “Doctor Strange”, the visual effects are phenomenal. May it be astral form to Dormamu making his appearance, visual effects and the main scenes show great balance and everything looks great. Closeups show great detail, many moments of vibrant lighting and more. Definitely a film that looks amazing in HD!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Doctor Strange is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Description Track, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital. Featuring a wonderful, immersive soundtrack as the film really takes advantage of the surround channels and LFE during the action-packed moments throughout the film. Crystal clear audio (dialogue and music) but I was very impressed during the action-packed moments when Kaecilius infiltrates the sorcerer’s headquarters to the ending action scenes. Audiophiles will no doubt enjoy this lossless soundtrack!
Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.
“Doctor Strange” comes with the following special features:
- Featurettes – (58:04) Includes: A Strange Transformation, Strange Company, The Fabric of Reality, Across Time and Space, The Score-Cerer Supreme
- Marvel Studios Phase 3: Exclusive Look – (7:27) A featurette about Marvel Studios plans and how Marvel Studios have evolved since 2006. An awesome teaser to upcoming Marvel Studios films.
- Team Thor: Part 2 – (4:35) A hilarious featurette featuring Thor being interviewed about living in Australia with a guy named Daryl.
- Deleted & Extended Scenes – (7:52) Featuring five deleted and extended scenes.
- Gag Reel – (4:12) Featuring the gag reel from “Doctor Strange”.
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director Scott Derrickson.
“Doctor Strange” comes with a slipcover, DVD and a Digital HD code.
When I was younger, reading comic books featuring Doctor Strange was quite the commonplace. As Doctor Strange was a major member of the Marvel super hero group known as “The Defenders” (they were the other superhero group outside of the Avengers, X-Men and Fantastic Four), it was a comic book that I would read quite often.
But as I got older, it seemed as if through the ’80s and ’90s, writers did not know what to do with the character and focused his stories more on the occult and sparingly used him in the Marvel Universe with other popular characters.
If anything, I think that Doctor Strange (and comics titled “Dr. Strange”) would become to cerebral to some and not as cool as other Marvel titles were focusing on integration and crossovers. But later on, they would make the character much darker as his stories would become part of the “Midnight Sons” supernatural comics from Marvel and later, becoming a character doubting his power and currently a much different character than he was in the past.
With the Marvel Studios release of “Doctor Strange”, the film offers viewers to see Stephen Strange as vulnerable but also a character that has awesome magic abilities and using his intellect and what he has learned to become possibly the Sorcerer Supreme.
Personally, I felt Scott Derrickson did a huge service of making Doctor Strange cool, humorous but setting the character up to make quite of an impact with the other Marvel film crossovers (there are two scenes during the credits, one in the middle and one at the end, so don’t turn off your Blu-ray when the credits start).
Benedict Cumberbatch did a magnificent job with his portrayal of Doctor Strange and other talents such as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong did a fine job. I was surprised to see Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One but overall, I was pleased with the acting.
Now to make the world of Doctor Strange work, it would depend on visual effects and the team behind “Doctor Strange” did a magnificent job of showcasing Stephen during the astral plane and mirror plane and also during the dark dimensions. The use of magic and the visual effects employed in those scenes, especially the more action-driven scenes were wonderfully done.
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is magnificent, as with the lossless audio. So, videophiles and audiophiles should be quite happy. You get a good number of special features included with “Doctor Strange” and I think in addition to the “Doctor Strange” film, Thor fans will like the hilarious “Team Thor: Part 2” featurette and Marvel fans who love the films will love the “Marvel Studios Phase 3 Exclusive Look” feature as we get to see what Marvel has planned for upcoming films.
Overall, Scott Derrickson’s “Doctor Strange” was much better than what I was expecting. Having grown up with Stephen Strange and the various incarnations of the Sorcerer Supreme, I like the humanistic approach to this typically no-nonsense character but also balancing humor and action that made the storyline so entertaining and enjoyable.
If you are a Marvel fan, “Doctor Strange” is a film I definitely recommend!
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