Doctor Strange (2007, animated)
Plot: When a gifted, but bitter surgeon (Bryce Johnson) loses the use of his hands following a car accident, he travels all over the world to find a cure. With no luck, he is invited to join a mysterious group of warriors in Tibet and is taught to become a mystical sorcerer. The Sorcerers are also pre-occupied with the possible return of one of their greatest enemies who threatens their most sacred temple.
Wait, his name is actually Dr. Strange? I thought that was just his alias. Well that’s kind of silly. But, if you can get passed that, this is a solid movie. It drops you right in the middle of a big battle. This is literally the first scene. I thought I accidentally skipped to the next chapter when it began. I had to double check my DVD. The character of Dr. Strange is fleshed out real well and definitely drives the film. His back story is emotionally effective. He’s kind of a dick at first, but you understand why. I love the training sequences on Tibetas he learns sorcery for the first time. The film can get a bit over dramatic sometimes with these little piano beats, some of the facial expressions, and especially the voice acting which isn’t that strong to begin with. But the action is pretty damn cool. All the sorcery powers are done really well, even though it looks like a laser show at times. The plot is pretty bland. There are all these mystical monsters running around trying to destroy a Sanctum that the Sorcerers have to protect. It’s barely explained until the very end. That’s okay though, because the focus of the film is on this Dr. Strange guy and him learning how to be a magical bad ass. There are a lot of elements from Thor and Green Lantern in this, which is interesting, because we just saw the live action versions of those stories. Although I’m not sure which came first in the comics? In any case, this is probably a superhero you don’t know too much about, but I think it’s worth checking out.
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Good)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):
Best Performance: Bryce Johnson as Doctor Strange
-There really isn’t a lot to write home about in terms of the voice acting, but he was the best of the bunch. He carries the film well, and his voice is especially good whenever Strange is breaking down emotionally.
Worst Performance: Kevin Michael Richardson as Mordo
-He’s a sorcerer who turns to the bad side, but instead of sounding evil, he just sounds like a punk.
Best Line: “That is between you and the brushes.” –The Ancient One after Strange asks how he is supposed to scrub the floors with his crippled hands
-Haha, that’s a pretty good response.
Worst Line: “Wait, your hand, it healed, how did it…” –Dr. Gina Atwater
-It’s all about the delivery with this. Through out the film, Gina is annoyed by Strange, but clearly has great affection for him. She responds to his hands getting healed with this line, but she says it with such a deadpanned and monotone expression. He just got his hands fixed! Come on! Raise a few decibels at least, geez.
-The Ancient One (Strange’s teacher) fights off this ridiculous monster which is basically a large swarm of piranha plant flowers from Mario Brothers formed together. This was pretty bad ass. The Ancient One uses all this crazy shit, his face is bleeding from the monster, and eventually he just slams down his staff and explodes all these flowers. It was awesome.
-The most annoying aspect to this movie is that we all know from the start Mordo is going to turn evil. Just get on with it. It’s so drawn out. But the moment where the other Sorcerers really should have anticipated something is when they learn their old enemy Dormammu is possessing children to make a return. Mordo just says in his most evil voice, ‘kill the children.’ Geez, shouldn’t someone say something to this guy?
-It’s a subtle one. Strange goes home to shave after learning his hands are crippled. His hands are shaking as he tries to touch the blade to the shaving cream. That was a pretty solemn moment for an animated movie.
-All the sorcerers are fighting this powerful monster, and one of the sorcerers decides it would be a good idea to simply create a tree that just rises up from the ground. That’s what he does! The monster rips him to shreds. Who recruited this guy?
–After the Ancient One demotes Mordo, he forces him to train Strange. Mordo just goes ape shit as this is Strange’s first day of combat training. He’s basically dealing with a psychotic and pissed off Gym teacher.
Bad Ass Moment:
-When the sorcerers battle these magical wolves, one of them creates what you think is going to be knives, but they suddenly shift into these slick blue flame like things. They slice up the wolves swiftly, and with authority. There was just something about the animation that made this look damn good.