Movie Review: Doctor Strange

This movie was a cross between a kung fu flick and an M. C. Escher nightmare, plus a touch of Groundhog Day.

Doctor Steven Strange is a brilliant surgeon who loses the use of his hands after a car accident. When modern medicine fails to give him back his hands, he resorts to finding an ancient master who teaches him how to harness the power of the spirit. However, a former student is trying to unseat the ancient master and bring forth the darkness so that he can live for eternity.

The casting was fantastic for the most part. The actors meshed well together. Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) has a curious nature and his personality comes out in his role as Doctor Stephen Strange. I wouldn’t want him to be my doctor, but he plays the part well. Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal Lector) makes a drool worthy villain as Kaecilius. I’m not sure I like the long hair look on him, though.

The only casting choice I thought was okay, but not the greatest was The Ancient One. Instead of coming off as an aged, wise master, Tilda Swinton came off as a deer in the headlights. They tried to use the back story that she’s of celtic origin, but it came off as contrived for the actor and not natural for the character, especially when the clothing, setting, etc were all Eastern religious type. Some of the digital effects brought in the celtic designs, but it seemed a bad mashup rather than a seamless blending of cultures. And Wong, played by Benedict Wong, is my favorite librarian. The cape was a character all on it’s own too. I would have liked to seen a bit more it’s snarky personality.

The digital effects were amazing. The clockwork parts scenes were a work of art with all of the intricate detailed movement. Some of the animation with the people, though could have used some work. It was obvious that it was digital because the movements were off. The magic was also very well done in that it looked like it could be real.

One of the most believeable aspects of the movie was the action. Strange survives fights with the more powerful Kaecilius and crew mostly by accident and lots of running away. That is exactly what I would expect from someone with little training. The choreography of the fights were well done without being overdone. I like how well the actors did with imaginary weapons and moving floors. It can’t be easy to do.

I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the music. It blended well into the background to support the story line, which is how music should be.

Lastly, the costumes. They were kind of a cross between Oriental monk and Assassin’s Creed. I would have liked to seen them blend a bit more into the modern world. It looks really odd when the group of them is running down the sidewalk among normal people. Yet, no one seems to notice that they stick out like sore thumbs. Ah, well, minor issue.

The movie is definitely worth a watch.

 

 

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