Doctor Strange (Blu-Ray)
The sorcerer supreme is hitting blu-ray this week, bringing Marvel’s latest hero into your home. Packed with special features, is the Doctor Strange blu-ray worth picking up? Check out our full review and find out for yourself.
Marvel is continuing to expand their stable of superheroes into their big screen universe, and as they move away from the high-tech and scientific creations, Doctor Strange is here to pick up on the mystical side of things. In some ways, this new magical element adds a lot of fresh ideas to what is, ostensibly, a typical origin story for the hero.
In a lot of ways, Doctor Strange isn’t so much a story about the character, but rather about introducing audiences to the mystical realm and all that comes with it. In the movie we learn about different dimensions and another all-powerful threat, Dormammu, and those who are there to defend it.
In a lot of ways, Doctor Strange establishes its own universe of heroes and villains, much like Guardians of the Galaxy had to do. In this regard, Doctor Strange does an amazing job of establishing new rules/norms, and providing a ton of information in a way that’s easy to understand without feeling rushed.
I love the different ideas and worlds we got to explore, and the entire notion of how it’s protected really appeal to me (especially as a long time martial artist). The execution is handled masterfully, and presented in a way that’s a lot of fun and something easy to enjoy more than once.
The problem, however, is the world-building seems to take precedent over the characters. The titular character was interesting enough, and managed to bring some surprising levity to the film (Cumberbatch is a great actor), but in all, I never felt all that invested in him as a character. I was more engaged in the world the filmmakers built, than the characters in it.
This is especially true regarding the movie’s villain, Kaecilius, whose purpose is easy to understand...but doesn’t make him feel all that relatable or powerful. I never felt he was a big threat and as a character he’s one dimensional. Still, that aside, the world is fun enough to justify the rest of the story. I just hope the second Doctor Strange movie takes a more personal approach to the story.
Sight and Sound
Visually speaking, Doctor Strange is a trippy and engaging delight. The way in which the different dimensions are introduced is simply stunning. The colors are all over the place, feeling both familiar and alien all at once, all while keeping the viewers oriented. From a design/production aspect, it’s mind-boggling how it came together, especially some of the fight scenes.
Hands down, Doctor Strange is easily one of Marvel’s most visually daring and bold endeavors. As such, the blu-ray has a lot of work to do, and it does so wonderfully. The blacks are deep, and the LARGE color palette pops vividly. The image is crisp and clear, making it easy to take in all that’s happening on the screen, without having to strain.
The sound is given a similar treatment and handled smoothly. While I think there are some priority issues (dialog seemed a bit low to me a couple times), the overall sound issues on the blu-ray were minor. In all, Doctor Strange is an impressively designed film and the blu-ray release does a great technical job of showcasing it.
The Bonus Features
As always, Marvel/Disney is not one to skimp on content when it comes to the bonus features. Virtually every release they have has been stuffed to the gills with special features for movie lovers and comic fans alike. Doctor Strange is no different and comes with these features:
A Strange Transformation – Open your eye to a new dimension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and see how the filmmakers brought one of comic books’ greatest characters to life.
Strange Company – Find out what it’s like for the cast to work on a Marvel film, and how Director Scott Derrickson engineered one of the most ambitious, imaginative films ever.
The Fabric of Reality – Take a closer look at the movie’s extraordinary sets, meticulously crafted costumes and amazingly detailed production elements.
Across Time and Space – Explore the countless hours of dance and fight choreography the actors endured in preparation for their physically demanding roles.
The Score-cerer Supreme – Join Composer Michael Giacchino and a full orchestra during live recording sessions, and experience the movie’s mind-bending music.
Marvel Studios Phase 3 Exclusive Look – Get an early peek at Marvel’s spectacular upcoming films, including Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”
Team Thor: Part 2 – See more of the hilarious partnership between Thor and his roommate Darryl in this satirical short.
Strange Meets Daniel Drumm
Kaecilius Searches for Answers
The Kamar-Taj Courtyard
Lost in Kathmandu
Audio Commentary by Director Scott Derrickson
See what I mean? Packed! The featurettes all offer a nice behind the scenes look at various aspects of the film. I was particularly interested, and enamored, with the breakdown of how they choreographed the impressive action sequences. Then you get a look ahead at the rest of Marvel’s Phase 3 films with some exclusive concept art, some deleted scenes, and a hilarious sequel to the Team Thor short film.
I mean, there’s so much extra content it’s hard to not be impressed with it. There’s a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy, and gives you a lot of bang for your buck.
Despite a weaker story (generally speaking), it’s visually stunning and the blu-ray does a great job of showing it off. Couple all that with a plethora of solid bonus features, and there’s very little reason to pass on the Doctor Strange home release.