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January 23, 2011

Stay Tooned Sundays: Doctor Strange

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Written by: nickz
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Today is Sunday (or whatever day you are reading this), so that means it’s time to check out some toons (not to be confused with “tunes,” because that would be a totally different column). As the loyal readers of this column that you are, you’ll remember that we reviewed  Ultimate Avengers: The Movie a few weeks ago. This week we dig back into the Marvel animation vault and take a look at Doctor Strange.

Title: Doctor Strange
Written by: Greg Johnson, Craig Kyle
Director: Patrick Archibald, Jay Oliva, Richard Sebast, Frank Paur
Company: Marvel Studios
Distributed by: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
US Release Date: August 14, 2007
Length: 95 min.
MPAA: Rated PG-13

Let me start off by saying that I found this movie far superior to the Avengers one mentioned above. Greg Johnson and Craig Kyle did a great job turning what is basically in the comic a one-page origin, into a full length adventure. As a superficial fan of Dr. Strange, I’ll admit that I only know his basic origin story, so I am unsure how much of this movie is based on events from the actual comic or made up specifically for this film. In either event, all the parts of this origin story work really well. This is the first Marvel feature that is as much character driven as it is plot driven. It reminds me a lot of Batman Begins in that for most of the movie, Dr. Strange does not possess any mystical abilities.

His basic origin and the plot of this movie is that Dr. Steven Strange was a very successful surgeon, who also happened to be a complete jerk. Steven gets into a car accident that cripples both of his hands and prevents him from being able to do his job. After attempting every way possible to fix his hands, he ends up broke and depressed to the point of suicide. At his lowest point, Strange is approached by a mysterious man who encourages him to go to Tibet and seek help from a man called the Ancient One. Strange sets off on a difficult journey to reach Tibet in hopes that the Ancient One can repair his hands and give him back his life. This, however, is not the case, as the Ancient One reveals that he can only help to heal his fractured soul and not his hands. After considering his alternatives, Steven decides to take up the Ancient One on his offer and begins training.

While this is all going on, the Ancient One’s followers have been busy defending the city from an increasing amount of attacks from mystical creatures that serve the Dread Dormammu. This evil creature of pure magic resides in the Dark Dimension, a place he was imprisoned by the Ancient One long ago. Dormammu had once tried to take over the Sanctum Sanctorum, a mystical nexus where all dimensions meet, but was thwarted by the Ancient One. With help from Dr. Strange, the Ancient One and his followers soon discover that Dormammu has been trapping children in their dreams and plans to use their minds as a gateway to re-enter our dimension. As the intensity of the battles increases, many of the Ancient One’s followers are killed, mostly due to the disobedience of one follower in particular, Baron Mordo. Mordo is one of the Ancient One’s most powerful followers, but believes that the Ancient One has become too old and weak to continue being the Sorcerer Supreme. The Ancient One also realizes that his time may soon be up, but when he chooses Dr. Strange as the next Sorcerer Supreme, it’s the final straw for Mordo. Furious at his former allies, Mordo strikes up an allegiance with Dormammu and together they attempt to destroy all who stand in their way.

With a great mix of action and emotion, Dr. Strange is a very entertaining movie that both Dr. Strange fans and people who don’t know anything about Dr. Strange can enjoy. The movie has the most dramatic story arc of a character that has been seen so far in animation. The movie looks deep into who Dr. Strange is, and what motivates him to do what he does. With a mature story dealing with death, sorrow, regret, and redemption, this movie will keep you entertained. I think everyone should check out this flick. You won’t be disappointed.

Nick Zamora



  1. Billy

    I thought this movie was great (although, I’m a HUGE Doc Strange fan). 😀

  2. @Billy I am glad that you said that because I wasn’t sure if I only liked this movie so much because I wasn’t that into Dr. Strange and that big fans of Strange might not like it as much. So thanks.

  3. Billy

    @Nick- It was very well done IMHO. There are always little things here and there that might not be exact, but Marvel did a great job sticking close to the source material and putting out a great movie!

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