REVIEW: ‘Dr Strange’ (2016)

Dr Strange PosterSome movies are released, at the exact moment that the distributors have sent the hard drives to movie theatres along with the keys to unlock the video stream.  They are then screened for audiences who have paid to sit in a dark room and watch the movie.  Dr Strange is, at the time of this writing, the latest movie for which this is true.  It was made by Marvel Studios, whose movies are all different from each other.  I know this because they have different titles, and different release dates, and different directors, and different screenwriters, according to Wikipedia.  They seem to have the same producer, though.  Huh.

It stars Benerick Cumbersock as Dr Strange, because some movie stars are still allowed to portray characters who are not exactly like them.  This was called ‘acting’ in the 1950s, when Charleton Heston portrayed white men with booming voices.  Dr Strange is a doctor who is not normal, but who could be defined as odd, or unusual, or weird.  I wouldn’t call him ‘queer’ because I’m not British, even though I spell like I am.

The movie is made in such a way as to indicate that this was exactly how Marvel Studios wanted the movie to be made.  Consider the shot of Tilda Swinton below.  Its framing suggests that this is how cinematographer Ben Davis composed the shot, which was approved by someone, I guess, because it’s in the final cut.  It ends when Wyatt Smith, or perhaps Sabrina Plisco, both the editors for the film version of Dr Strange, felt that it was time to switch to a new shot, of something else from a different angle.  One shot follows another in succession, which is typical of movies featuring superheroes and doctors.

Dr Strange Tilda

No movie worth writing about would be complete without special effects, and Dr Strange has those!  You can tell that all of the artistry went into a computer, because things happen in Dr Strange that wouldn’t happen in real life!  Visual effects artists then melded the GCI with live action footage clearly taken with a digital camera, and put them together in such a way that it’s what you see when you look at the screen.

Before I stop writing this review, I’d like to discuss the musical score, which is often overplayed on top of the moving images.  Michael Giacchino has written music for movies in his past, and this is the movie that he wrote music for most recently.  It’s distinguishable from the music in other Marvel movies due to the fact that it isn’t the same score, but a new one written for the movie, according to Wikipedia.  Musicians performed the notes Giacchino wrote, and you hear them.

All in all, Dr Strange is the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I anticipate that it will make a lot of money, because it seems like people prefer to watch Marvel movies instead of staring at keys dangled in front of their faces.  You will know to leave the theatre when the closing credits roll, which is typical of Marvel movies nowadays.  Actually, there is a scene after the credits, which adds something to the movie, obviously—if it weren’t there, the movie would be shorter.

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