Dr. Strange: Marvel conquers the mystic realm

Dr. Strange poster

Dr. Strange poster

Last month, this blog ran a post saying the Dr. Strange move was a test whether Marvel’s movie juggernaut would continue.

The studio’s answer, essentially, was, “C’MON, MAN!”

That’s because the movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch successfully translates one of Marvel’s quirkiest characters to the screen while still retaining the studio’s basic style, which includes a health amount of humor (without going overboard).

Put another way, Dr. Strange is a movie you can enjoy without every having read a Dr. Strange comic book story or, for that matter, having watched another Marvel-produced film.

The Scott Derrickson-directed film uses the eight-page Stan Lee-Steve Ditko Dr. Strange origin comic story (the sorcerer’s third appearance in Strange Tales) as a springboard for a much larger epic.

Dr. Strange also is an example of how computer effects are integral to the movie. Realizing the mystic realms devised by Ditko (the artist created the character) would be impossible without them. At the same time, the Dr. Strange movie tells an actual story, complete with an arc for its lead character.

James Bond film fans should take note. The lead villain is played by Mads Mikkelsen (Le Chiffre in 2006’s Casino Royale). Another sorcerer, Mordo, is portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was in the conversation to play Blofeld in SPECTRE before Christoph Waltz was cast. Readers of the original Dr. Strange comic book will recognize the significance of the Mordo character name.

This being a Marvel film, Dr. Strange makes a (brief) connection to the rest of the Marvel movie universe. There are two brief scenes in the end titles. If you’re one-and-done with Dr. Strange, you can pass them by. If you’re a Marvel film fan, you’ll want to see them.

By now, Marvel has shown it can adapt virtually any of its characters successfully to the screen. The ride continues. GRADE: B-Plus.

MI6 Confidential issue #10 hot off the presses!

Our friends and colleagues over at MI6 Confidential magazine have just published their latest issue, a big number 10.

This time around, editor Hugh Maddocks and his team spotlight 2006’s Daniel Craig-debuting Casino Royale, which is now considered by most James Bond fans to be among the series’ classics. As well as running interviews with the on-screen villains, Issue #10 highlights some of the aspects of the critically-acclaimed production that are often overlooked: pre-visualization, production design, scoring, special effects, costume design, and the publicity machine that made sure everyone knew ‘Bond was back!’

Some features in the new issue:

  • Bay Area Bonding – Tracking A View To A Kill around famous San Francisco landmarks
  • James Bond’s France – Searching for the real Casino Royale
  • ‘Card Sense’ Jimmy Bond – A look back at the 1954 Casino Royale live teleplay on CBS
  • That Sinking Feeling – Peter Lamont and Chris Corbould on recreating Venice
  • Rogues Gallery – Interviews with the villains of Casino Royale: Mads Mikkelsen, Jesper Christensen and Clemens Schick
  • Between Script & Screen – Before the cameras roll, storyboard artist Martin Asbury reveals his ‘pre-vis’ magic
  • Scoring Casino Royale – Composer David Arnold talks about the score and Bond theme deconstruction
  • Dressing 007 – Costume designer Lindy Hemming explains the new look for a new Bond
  • Around The World With Casino Royale – How the worldwide publicity machine boosted Bond at the box-office
  • Age of Heroes – Sean Bean discusses his new WWII film based on Ian Fleming’s 30 Commando Unit
  • The Last Word – Director Martin Campbell on shooting the intricate poker sequence

Issue #10 is now shipping around the world. To order online, visit their website at www.mi6confidential.com

HMSS congratulates Hugh & company on the landmark 10th issue of their terrific full-color magazine!