Thursday 27 October 2016

Doctor Strange ... In need of a defribillator

WAIT a minute. Was I watching Inception (2010), the movie about a dream world that allowed people to bend physical locations at will? No, I was watching director Scott Derrickson's Doctor Strange, which is about a surgeon's transformative and heroic journey from an arrogant and cocky human to a Marvel character who can travel between mystical worlds.
   It's not that I detested this film, but I found myself comparing it to other origin films about how a cocky and arrogant character got his just desserts before becoming the white superhero the world needed.

   It's no surprise that he travels to a faraway land (Nepal) to acquire knowledge that will uplift his being, and in the process, be all that he can be. It's no surprise that the leader of the cult rejects him initially before eventually appreciating the latter's street smarts. It's no surprise that the hero's bete noire went to the same school before he was seduced by the dark side.
   The Inception similarities become obvious when the fight scenes play out on the screen. The only difference is that Doctor Strange exaggerates the physical world folding in on itself.
  What about the prerequisite final battle that demolishes most of a city? Yup, it's there. Also, the film's most innovative special-effect scenes hark back to the Thor films.
The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) teaches
Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) a nifty move.
  The finale lacks originality to a T. I won't tell you which film it steals its idea from, but suffice it to say that it involves a Bill Murray film.
   I had such high hopes for Doctor Strange. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the aforementioned Dr Stephen Strange, a top surgeon who can perform the most difficult operations.
   But he's prone to denigrating others who don't match up to his skills. He chooses his surgeries on the basis of the publicity that he can accrue from it. He splurges his money on a luxury car and beautiful pad. But his biggest weakness is luxury watches. Time, as you will see, plays a major theme in this film.
  A crash put his hands out of business, or rather, he has to put his hands in the hands of others. He lashes out at people, including pretty surgeon Dr Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), who plays the sympathetic, supportive and stepped upon female friend.
   At his wits' end, he travels to the end of the world (Kathmandu), where mysticism permeates every nook and corner of the city. It's funny how Hollywood propagates the idea that the poor and
Dr Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) helps a buddy.
uncivilised East is  a haven of magical and funny happenings.
    He meets Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and bald female leader The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who has a deep secret (about her smooth and flawless complexion). There is also a stern-looking Asian librarian Wong (Benedict Wong). The evil uninteresting character is Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen).
   There is one engrossing character, or thing. It's red, it floats and it keeps Dr Strange safe.

2 out of 5 stars


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