Doctor Strange 2007
I find it interesting to see where my mood takes me. Several months ago I thought I would have watched almost all of the animated Marvel and/or DC movies by now and yet I’m still less than halfway through. This has been sitting in my binder after picking it up from a clearance bin since then and I’m only now getting around to watching it. And it’s a shame, because without realizing it, it’s got so much stuff in it that I enjoy. Doctor Strange has never really piqued my interest, maybe because of the too-obvious name, maybe because I was expecting some combination of stage magic and real monsters, who knows. I wasn’t familiar with Doctor Strange at all, but I was looking for something short and stand alone to watch while I was sick, and I ended up watching this one twice I enjoyed it so much. Once by myself, and once with my wife, who also really enjoyed it. It has one of the best origin stories I’ve seen in quite a while, and I loved all the Asian influences in it. It’s got some great characters, great action, and some great storytelling. A great feature from Marvel animation.
If you’re like me, and also unfamiliar with Doctor Strange, he’s an egotistical neurosurgeon who has an accident where he can no longer use his hands. He loses his entire fortune trying to chase the next cure to allow him to use his hands again and ends up homeless and broken. A sorcerer who sensed his innate talent for magic leads him to a remote village in Tibet where he is trained like a classic martial arts movie student, humbled before he can realize greatness, with a touch of Matrix “there is no spoon” explanation of magic. I suppose it does bear a few similarities to Iron Man’s origin from the live action movie, but the similarities feel like only a passing resemblance. There’s also the added element of a tragic backstory which was a nice piece of the story even though I could quickly tell how it was going to end.
The style of animation is very fluid, with a touch of anime influence, which feels like almost any cartoon nowadays. It feels appropriate here with so much martial arts lore and Asian characters, and I thought it looked quite stunning. There were a few minor hitches with some choppy CGI used for the vehicles, but those were luckily few and far between, and I’ve had the same complaint on the DC side of things. The other complaint that I had was that group of magic users never had much depth outside of the three main ones: The Ancient One, Mordo – the grumpy one, and Wong – the nice one. There are several others, but they get little screen time and although they all look very distinct visually, they only serve as a body count. I suppose it’s to help add emotional impact, but unfortunately it doesn’t work if we don’t really care about any of the characters that are dying.
The villain of the movie is a great evil that has been locked away for centuries but is close to making his eventual return. It’s been done before, but it works. And the look and sound for Dormammu is impressive, even for all his little minions. I especially thought the final swarm of flying mouths with wings worked in all the right spots, especially for adding that emotional tension I was talking about earlier. The voice acting is also top notch here, and although there aren’t any name actors, the entire cast works well together and helps bring all the characters to life. I don’t really have much more to say about this movie as it’s both fairly short, and I was initially unfamiliar with the character, but I greatly enjoyed the movie and if you catch it anywhere, it’s definitely worth a look. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.