Sunday, November 13, 2016

Doctor Strange

"...take away seven, carry the two..."
Two observations made during the car-ride home:

1) "That was the best 3D movie I've ever seen!"

I agree. I thought of others that have qualified, in their day -- Mad Max, Para-Norman, Tron, Polar Express, that James Cameron Ayahuasca movie, etc. Most are competently framed movies with occasional scenes of 3D virtuosity. This was a movie of nearly constant 3D virtuosity, with some moments that fell back to mere competency.

2) "That was the best Marvel movie yet!"

I had to mull that over, before finally agreeing with it. The hitch was, it's the best Marvel movie largely because of the 3D razzle-dazzle. Anyone who sees it in 2D or on the home-screen will likely be underwhelmed. Immersed in 3D, the viewer is more in tune with what the good Doctor is experiencing. Non-immersed viewers will be quicker to notice the usual Marvel deficiencies.

Rachel McAdams does a terrific job of a role that was probably the emotional lynch-pin of the script she signed off on, but became something lesser during shooting. Tilda Swinton . . . if she's ever dropped the ball on a film, I've yet to see it. Similarly, Chiwetel Ejiofor. As for Benedict Cumberbatch . . .

. . . who assigned him the American accent? If he opted for it himself, I can understand -- it's catnip for British actors, just like "the" British accent is for American actors.
Voice coach: "NOT 'terrr-ibly' but 'TED-ah-blee!'"
My favourite on-screen Brits are the ones who never lose -- not completely -- the accent, no matter who they're playing. Anthony Hopkins is stellar at this -- he can be Richard Nixon for nearly four hours, and we ignore the British inflections because this man is taking on the persona of another. It's actually less distracting if he keeps a little Brit-tonation. Jeremy Irons, Bob Hoskins -- one eulogy for Hoskins elicited my hoots and howls by praising his ability to put on an American accent. He had impressive means of persuading you he was a particular character, but burying his native Cockney inflections with a phony accent was not among them.

Anyway, Cumberbatch's "American" accent was flat enough to bring back painful reminders of my former Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Perhaps Strange was among the brains that drained south of 49 when he took office? Regardless, if Strange were to "acquire" a British accent for the next movie, I would not protest.

Where Doctor Strange succeeds spectacularly, however, is with its introduction of the Meta-verse -- the Marvel Plot-Randomizer that allows the characters and storylines to be reborn every few years. In the hands of Marvel Inc. it's a clever money-making ploy. As represented in this movie, it's surprisingly awe-inspiring.

Go see it -- in 3D. That is all.

For Yahmdallah Bjornickerford. RIP, TLD -- another blog bites the dust. Happy trails, amigo!


paul bowman said...

S. and I went last night. I’d told her it was coming as soon as I heard, in spring, and we’d been getting her sort of caught up on the Marvel movies since. She loves Cumberbatch! But the build-up was partly just elaborate date planning. You can’t imagine what a project it is to get the girl into a cinema, even for something she really wants to see. With December here, I was starting to fear we were actually going to miss the window. (One factor: she doesn’t like watching something on screen and not being able to stop it and go do something else after half an hour. A lot like my mom — funny, that.)

Anyhow, neither of us is fond of 3-D, and the showtimes weren’t convenient for it, so we stuck to 2-D. Not sorry about that, for my part, because the Inception-style space-folding animation gets to feeling heavy-handed quick for me, and in this flick, of course, it’s non-stop. (That, and I’m getting to the age where the light-&-sound assault of the movies in theater can be genuinely unpleasant even without crazy effects.)

By the end, I liked the thing pretty well. It actually hits the balance of sci-fi high-semi-seriousness and straight-up cartoonishness, it seems to me, that harks back I suppose particularly to Lee & Kirby’s joint stuff and that previous Marvel Universe films — notably the Thors — impress me as plainly aiming for and plainly missing.

I’ll say that if they’d made Strange a Brit, I expect I would’ve almost certainly felt at points that the BBC Sherlock character had wandered into Marvel land — a thought that I forgot so much as to wonder about last night. More to it than Cumberbatch’s accent, no doubt, but it occurs to me now that never letting Strange smell of Sherlock is something the team deserves some kind of special credit for.

Darrell Reimer said...

"Sherlock" was a genuine risk, as my wife pointed out when I kvetched about the accent. I completely agree with the cartoonish element, something not all the Marvel movies are willing to take on. Keep the fun in funnies, I say.