Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dr. Strange Returning to the Silver Screen

You may be too young to remember Dr. Strange's first foray onto the Silver Screen, but it did leave something to be desired. It was a quintessentially 70s movie (the review at RevolutionSF concurs) and the opening of the YouTube link above makes one wonder if"Porno Chic" had more influence than the comic books on the production of this television movie.

I have always been a big Dr. Strange fan. Unlike most other Ditko creations, Strange lacked the underlying Objectivist world view. Where the worlds of Mr. A, the Question, The Avenging World, and even everyone's favorite wall-crawler were worlds of black and white morality, the world of Dr. Stephen Strange was surreal. Add to this Objectivism's rejection of any non-materialist metaphysic and Dr. Strange becomes Ditko's most inventive creation. This isn't to say that the morality of Dr. Strange isn't traditional good vs. evil, rather that Strange isn't continually punished every time he chooses his private life over justice. Take Spider-Man as a comparison. Every time Spider-Man takes any action remotely in his own self-interest, particularly in the first 38 (the Ditko) issues, he is punished horribly. Doctor Strange's origin might be rooted in the Objectivist selfishness = death/justice = life dichotomy, but once Strange becomes a hero, he isn't continually tested in the same way that Spider-Man is. Spider-Man's crises are personal, Strange's are epic. All of which makes Dr. Strange a very interesting character in print.

Last week, Lionsgate Home Entertainment and Marvel Enterprises recently announced the release of Marvel's latest direct to dvd animated feature. Doctor Strange will be available on DVD on August 14th on both a DVD and Blu-ray Disc release. This is the first time that Marvel will simultaneously release on DVD and Blu-ray format.

The film stars Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme as he uses his powers to face the terrifying entity threatening humanity. You can watch a short trailer promoting the release at the website linked above. I have to say that the animated movie looks to be about the same quality as the earlier Ultimate Avengers movies, which were both around 3 out of 5 stars. My only concern is that they have Dr. Strange using a sword in the trailer. Dr. Strange in a sword duel? I dunno. I prefer the Dr. Strange levitating crosslegged in a MAGICAL DUEL. That said, I am looking forward to the release, and the cover art by Steven McNiven (Civil War) is a very good interpretation of one of my favorite comic characters.

Descriptions from the press release are below:

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION This August, delve deep into a world of fantasy and magic, filled with mystical creatures and perils beyond human awareness as Marvel Enterprises (NYSE: MVL) and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) release to DVD Doctor Strange, the latest title in the incredibly popular Marvel Animated Features DVD series. The fourth release of a multi-picture direct-to-DVD deal signed by the two companies, Doctor Strange marks the DVD franchise's first-ever day and date DVD and Blu-ray Disc release, and it stars Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme as he uses his powers to face the terrifying entity threatening humanity. With CGI animation and a storyline that stays true to its comic roots – a constant theme across all Marvel Animated Features – the Doctor Strange DVD and Blu-ray disc features a First Look at the Avengers Reborn feature, concept art, the "Who is Doctor Strange?" featurette"and the Best of Marvel Game Cinematics, as well as other engaging bonus features to satiate any comic fan . Doctor Strange will be available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on August 14, 2007 for the suggested retail prices of $19.98 and $29.99, respectively.


Peel back the layers of reality, and behold a stunning realm hidden beneath. One of magic and wonder. Of sorcery and enchantment. Of ancient spells, secret doors, and remarkable heroes who protect us from evil. Because this is also a world of dark mysticism, malevolent forces, and unspeakable horrors. And within the shadows around us, a supernatural war is waged. But the balance is shifting. Darkness is winning. Yet there is hope….

Join us as Dr. Stephen Strange embarks on a wondrous journey to the heights of a Tibetan mountain, where he seeks healing at the feet of the mysterious Ancient One. But before his wounds can mend, Strange must first let go of his painful past, and awaken a gift granted to very few. The gift of magic. Empowered as the new Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange now tests his limits, rising up against monsters that push at the gates, facing the most terrifying entity humankind has ever known.


• Best of Marvel Video Game Cinematics

• "Who is Doctor Strange?" featurette

• Doctor Strange Concept Art

• First Look at Avengers Reborn feature

• Trailer Gallery

*DVD Special Features subject to change

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