Plot: What’s it about?
Although doctors should be compassionate and kind, Doctor Stephen Strange is anything but. He is very driven, but for his own personal gain, not out of a sense of compassion for his patients. His attention is captured by high profile patients with money to burn or cases that could get his name in print. He is the kind of doctor people hate, but his elitist ways don’t prevent him from being one of the most brilliant surgeons around. His lifestyle is materialistic and arrogant, but that all seems to change when he is in a terrible car accident. In the crash, he injures his hands and is unable to operate again, despite his desperate search for a solution. He winds up broke after seeing every doctor he can find, only to find disappointment and broken promises. He is even on the brink of suicide, until he meets a man named Wong. He tells Strange that there is a way to heal his hands in Tibet, but will Strange try once more and if he does, will he find the help he seeks?
As the boom continues for comic books turned into movies, Lionsgate and Marvel have teamed up for a series of direct to video animated features. This is a good chance for characters and stories that might not make the big screen, such as this one, The Sorcerer Supreme himself, Doctor Strange. The comic has a lot of potential, so I looked forward to this movie, but in the end, I was left kind of disappointed. The story here is good, but veers too much from the comic book origin, which is itself excellent. I also expected a little more flash and wonderment, which doesn’t happen that often. This is the story of a powerful sorcerer after all, but there is a little too much exposition, not enough action. Even so, this is still a decent movie and if sequels follow, a nice set up that allows future films to focus on forward motion. I didn’t like Doctor Strange as much as I had hoped I would, but it was solid and for fans of the comic book, it is well worth a look.
Video: How does it look?
Doctor Strange is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a very good transfer, but as happens sometimes when animation is involved, I noticed some color issues and banding at times. These are not huge problems, but they’re evident and border on distraction in some instances. Aside from those concerns, this transfer looks good and provides a much clearer and more detailed image than the standard disc. This movie proves that traditional animation is still effective, with very subtle touches and attention to detail within the animation. And this is 1080p Blu-ray, which means all those small touches are visible and crystal clear, which is great news. I can’t call this an excellent transfer, due to the banding and color issues, but this is still a great transfer and fans should be pleased.
Audio: How does it sound?
In a most welcome move, we have a DTS HD 7.1 option on deck, even if most (all?) players at the time of release can’t handle the format. I still chose the DTS option however and even sent out as a 5.1 option, the sound is solid. Not over the top great by any means, but active and with good presence. The action driven scenes dole out the most power of course, but even the small sounds manage to come across well. So don’t be surprised if you think someone is sneaking up behind you, its just this well crafted sound design at work. The dialogue is clear as can be also, so its never overpowered at any point. This disc also includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtrack, a Spanish language track, and subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Aside from some concept artwork, the only extra specific to this movie is a brief featurette about the characters. The folks involved with the comic book sit down to discuss Doctor Strange and his world, which proves to be a solid watch. You can also watch cut scenes from Marvel licensed video games, and take a look at the preview for Avengers Reborn.