By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
I’m sure the numbers of how many people who attended the short preview to Doctor Strange (on a long weekend in North America) is as varied as the response to this film. While I’m excited to catch the end-product come November 4th (the 3D sequences when he’s flying through the multiverse look great), just how many die-hards can accept the movie’s obvious changes will determine its success. I’m okay with the gender-swapping of the Ancient One, and Tilda Swinton is a very respectable actress. With no successor to Mako Iwamatsu’s amazing presence, I’m guessing the producers had make changes lest they do a casting call throughout China / Tibet to find someone just as promising to fill the role.
When the introduction reveals nearly an hours’ worth of scenes are shot with IMAX cameras, the need to tease fans with what is to come is obvious — to spotlight the special effects on a box screen. I will certainly plan to see it again at the National Geographic IMAX Theatre. Sadly this operation plays these movies as a second-run product. Not every cinema has a proper screen to show off this format right.
In what is more in front and centre is Stephen Strange’s ego (Benedict Cumberbatch) which can easily rival Tony Stark’s. When he’s a famous neurosurgeon with some pent up frustrations over who he is required to operate on, the first few minutes works very well to show how conceited he is. That’s until he looks away from where he is driving to a cell phone (showing x-ray scans of his next patient instead of playing Pokémon GO) and winds up over a cliff. The slow-motion scene shows his hands getting crushed.
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