Doctor Strange Blu-ray Review
“Doctor Strange” takes the MCU in a new direction.
Based on the Marvel comic book series of the same name (obviously), “Doctor Strange” chronicles the journey of a brilliant and egotistical neurosurgeon (Stephen Strange) who becomes involved in a car accident that leaves his hands severely injured. Frustrated, depressed, and unable to do his job, Strange looks for some way to heal his hands. He learns of a place called Kamar-Taj which will allegedly help him so he decides to travel there. Upon arrival, he is introduced to a world of mystical arts, magic, dimensions, the Astral Plane and so on. Wanting to know more, Strange soon finds himself under the tutelage of The Ancient and Mordo. Strange learns quickly, but his ego gets the better og him. While all of this is going on, the rogue Sorceror Kaecilius is looking to summon someone (won’t say who) from a powerful dark dimension.
Historically origin stories have always been tricky business as writers tend to have to stuff the script with so much exposition to set-up the universe the characters inhabit. Unfortunately, the screenplay by Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, and C. Robert Cargill does have this problem. The movie is loaded with exposition and is in a constant state of hurry as the plot rushes from one sequence to the next. The first 25 minutes in particular are rough around the edges. Thankfully, the movie eventually settles in leaving the viewer eager to go on a journey with Stephen Strange. This is mostly due in part to the cast (which I will get to shortly) and director Scott Derrickson. Under another director, I’m not entirely sure “Doctor Strange” would have worked as well as it does. Not only does Derrickson bring a unique cinematic vision of the spiritual and universal “Doctor Strange,” but he also successfully brings the MCU into another place/genre. Make no mistake about it, this film is a visual marvel (pun intended). The dazzling visuals really draw you into this world. The reverse Hong Kong sequence and the New York chase scene in particular are positively jaw dropping. The film doesn’t have special effects for the sake of having special effects. They aid the film in its storytelling.
As I mentioned earlier, the performances are strong across the board. Benedict Cumberbatch was born to play Doctor Strange. I couldn’t even imagine anyone else in the role before he was cast. Despite the controversy surrounding Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, she shines here. The acclaimed actress really can do no wrong. Chewitel Ejiofor probably has the most interesting character of the film in Mordo and he nails the role. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him in future sequels. Rachel McAdams plays off of Cumberbatch well as fellow surgeon/love interest Christine Palmer. Marvel films are notorious for having weak villains and while Kaecilius may not be an iconic villain, Mads Mikkelsen goes above and beyond with what he is given. Finally, there’s Benedict Wong as Wong who steals the movie. He may not have a ton of scenes, but they are all memorable.
Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. How does it look? This is the type of film that was tailor made for Blu-ray. The trippy visuals look even better in 1080p.
Audio Track: 7.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A dynamic track that handles the score, action, and dialogue exceedingly well.
* DVD copy and Digital copy.
* Disney trailers.
* 5 deleted/extended scenes.
* A truly funny 4 minute gag reel. Possibly one of the best I have seen.
* “Team Thor: Part 2”- The long awaited follow-up featuring Thor and his roomate Darryl. Even better than the first!
* “Marvel Studios Phase 3 Exclusive Look”- This short bonus feature covers Phase 3 which includes “Doctor Strange,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Black Panther,” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”
* “A Strange Transformation”- A featurette which includes set footage, film clips, cast and crew interviews, and discussions about the sets, costumes, F/X, fight training, location shooting, the characters, the comic books, and more.
* “The Score-cerer Supreme”- A featurette on Michael Giacchino’s score.
* An intro by Scott Derrickson.
* A dry but informative solo commentary by Scott Derrickson.
* “Across Time And Space”- This extra covers the fight and dancing choreography, pre-viz, and visual f/x
* “The Fabric Of Reality”- A featurette on the production design, costumes, props, and sets.
* “Strange Company”-The director and all-star cast (and the characters they play) are the focus of this extra.
Overall Thoughts: “Doctor Strange” may not be a top tier Marvel film, but there’s much to admire about this wild mystical movie.
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