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DOCTOR STRANGE
3D Blu-ray Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton
Director: Scott Derrickson
Audio: DTS HD 7.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.39:1/1.90:1
Studio: Marvel
Features: See Review
Length: 115 Minutes
Release Date: February 28, 2017

Where have you been?”

I went to Katmandu and I learned to tap into powers I never even knew existed.”

So you joined a cult?”

Film ***1/2

It’s intriguing how some of the lesser known characters from Marvel comics are being translated into the better tales in the movie universe. That was very much the case with Guardians of the Galaxy, and the same can definitely be said of Doctor Strange. I knew absolutely nothing about this character going in, and the movie does a grand job of literally opening the door to a whole new side of the Marvel world.

Benedict Cumberbatch is perfectly cast in the title role, which requires him to be both charming and unlikable, and it takes a really accomplished actor to pull off both qualities. Dr. Stephen Strange is a neurosurgeon who’s a bit in love with his own ego. After getting in a nasty car accident, Strange finds himself turning to Eastern medicine to heal himself. This ends up leading him to a doctor of different sorts, a mystic being known as The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton).

She informs him that the only way to cure his pain is by way of “spiritual healing”, to which Strange scoffs at. She then demonstrates her power by knocking his spirit right out of his body for several seconds so he can see for himself. Following this discovery, Strange wants to learn everything possible about this mystic art, which is one that can open all kinds of dimensions.

And his training couldn’t have come at a better time, because there’s a new threat in the world of endless dimensions, one by the name of Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen). He was a pupil of The Ancient One, and has stolen a spell that he intends on using to merge our world with a much darker dimension where time is basically irrelevant. Helping in Strange’s training are The Ancient One’s main assistants, Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Wong (Benedict Wong), who help protect the ancient secretes of Kamar-Taj, the secret temple they reside in.

The movie is rich, dazzling spectacle, complete with vivid effects sequences that even rival that of Inception in terms of leaving one purely awestruck. And there not simply for the sake of effects, as they really do help establishing the very universe our lead character finds himself in, and eventually helps defend and even control. The movie received an Oscar nomination for Visual Effects, and it was extremely well deserved.

The main driving force of the movie, though, is Benedict Cumberbatch. We’ve seen him master cold and sinister characters so terrifically, as illustrated with his villainous turn in Star Trek Into Darkness. With Doctor Strange, Cumberbatch equally masters the heroic persona, and makes the character all his own.

Doctor Strange is very much one of the best stand alone installments in the Marvel movie universe to date. He will next be seen in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. Needless to say, I’m very much looking forward to that!

Video ****

All I say is WOW! I haven’t been WOWed this much by a Blu-ray 3D release in quite some time. The visual punch delivered by this release from Marvel is stunning, to say the very least. From the opening frame, your senses will be dazzled. And when the visual effects kick in, the dazzle effect only increases. Color and image quality are also operating on a full knockout level here. The 2D presentation is also tremendous, but this is one I would absolutely recommend watching in 3D, as it is without question one of the best presentations to ever grace the format.

Audio ****

The DTS 7.1 mix is equally astounding. A film with such a marvelous visual punch also requires a sound presentation of similar measure, and that is very much the case here. Everything is in top flight form, from dialogue delivery to music playback. But the visual effects sequences, especially one where Strange first dives into a new dimension, are the show-stopping moments. Remarkable job from Marvel!

Features ****

For my money, this might just be one of the best all around packages that Marvel has put together yet. The packaging alone is most nifty, and comes with a collectable 3D lenticular card. Extras wise, we get a commentary from director/co-writer Scott Derrickson. There’s also a hefty amount of featurettes, “A Strange Transformation”, which shows how the character of Doctor Strange was brought to the big screen, as well as “Strange Company”, which focuses on the cast and crew. There’s also “The Fabric of Reality”, which takes a look at the many sets that were used, and “Across Time and Space”, which delves into the fight choreography. We also get”The Sorcerer Supreme”, which takes a look at the music score for the film by Michael Giacchino, and glimpses into future Marvel movies with “Marvel Studios Phase 3 Exclusive Look” and a satirical short in the form of “Team Thor Part 2“. Rounding out the extras are Deleted Scenes and a Gag Reel.

Summary:

Doctor Strange is, at the very least, a visual blast! Once again, Marvel is displaying their best cinematic work by showcasing a lesser known character. After this movie, I’m certainly ready for more Strange things! The 3D Blu-ray is an absolute must own!

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