Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dr. Strange (1978)

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Or gaze into the Eye of Agamotto! 

Dr. Strange (1978) – 1 out of 5

Dr. Strange is one of those Marvel properties that seems to be able to make a decent movie all by itself—meaning, the comic character could possibly, and even literally, yank himself free of the pages and direct and star in his own film. The character is interesting and it involves magic and mysticism—so you can get an audience from the comic nerds (me) and possibly wiccans (they're into magic, right?). However, until Marvel brings in Strange into their new movieverse (and the rumors say he’s not far behind Ant-Man), we have to settle for a really great animated movie they made a few years back and a abso-fucking-lutely terrible live-action film from the 70s.

"Is that more 70s over there?"

Strange, in the comics, is a talented (but egotistical and narcissistic) all-star surgeon who could scalpel the fuck out of anyone and does so with style. But after an accident claims the use of his hands, he spends his time fighting depression and finding a way to make his hands work the way they once had. Eventually, he ends up learning the ways of mysticism and becomes the Sorcerer Supreme; the new protector of the world from evil might and magic.

There's literally nothing creepy or unsettling about an old white man with a
Asian manservent.

The 1978 film ignores all these awesome details and settles for crap.

You also get a penis-monster that wasn't nearly as threatening as it should have been.

Meant to be a pilot for a television show, Dr. Strange tells the story of the evil sorceress Morgan le Fay (played by Lucille Bluth herself; Jessica Walter) who takes control of an innocent young girl in order to take out the Sorcerer Supreme (John Mills) and his assistant Wong (Clyde Kusatsu). Along the way, the young woman finds herself in the care of Dr. Stephen Strange; a womanizing, unprofessional psychiatrist. Strange quickly learns that within him burns the ancient mystic arts and that he is next in line to become the Sorcerer Supreme…but first he must save the girl and stop Morgan.

I feel extra dirty staring at Lucille Bluth's 70's cleavage.

Do you like your comic book adaptations with action? Excitement? How about a little humor thrown in to keep it from becoming monotonous? And if it’s a magic-based comic book adaptation, do you want great special effects that help create the realism required for the story and help transport you, the viewer, into a world of supernatural wonder? Well, guess what? They don’t give you any of that shit in this film! Instead, you get a story that feels like a drunk staggering down the street, acting done by people who seem to be angry at the director and are intentionally not trying out of spite, sets that looks less creative than a kindergarten's presentation of the Thanksgiving story on acid and a lead actor who, when not looking completely lost in front of the camera, looks like he’s either a retired porn star or the bass player of a funk/rock fusion band.

It's all the mustache's fault.

Made during the long era where Marvel didn’t care about the dignity of their characters, Dr. Strange is one of those awful comic book adaptations that was made by people who clearly thought that those who read comics are borderline retarded and will accept any piece of crap given to them, as long as it has the name of the comic thrown in there somewhere. It’s almost heartbreaking to learn that Stan Lee was a consultant on this project—but I’m assuming that when they said consultant, they really meant, “Here’s some cash. Now stand quietly in the corner while we viciously rape your intellectual property.”

Strange is already bent over and ready for what he's about to receive.

Rev. Ron horny, Michael.
 This was actually my first time watching this horrorshow and while it was cool to see Jessica Walter in a non-Arrested Development role (and you realize that she was a fox in her day) the only other aspect it gives the viewer to enjoy is the fact it is so easy to laugh at. If you can get beyond the fact that they took everything that makes Strange interesting and compelling and threw it out the window (seriously, in the comics Strange had to go through hell to learn how to be a hero before he ultimately received the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme but in this one, he’s basically born into it and does nothing short of sexually harass women—and his patients—and be an all-around sex offender to get the illustrious title and powers)—if you’re able to quell your nerd rage enough to accept that this awful adaptation won’t be one that will make Strange look good and see it for just the train wreck piece of crap it is, you can make fun of it with ease and make it an entertaining film to experience. (Note: copious amounts of marijuana and tasty snacks aplenty will help make the experience more enjoyable.)

At some point you might want a drug with more kick.

"I am now one of the most powerful mystics in the universe...
look at the excitement in my face."
 There’s no getting around it; Dr. Strange is just plain terrible. It misses its mark by a length so great that I think they were aiming at a target that was behind them and in another country. Liberties with any adaptation is a given but, like the Captain America movie that would come out a year later, taking all that is ethical, moral and good about your hero and taking it away and making your hero less about a guy who, through deep personal conviction and perseverance, sees the right in the wrong and aims to help.  Instead, this movie makes him a hero who just stumbles down some stairs and wins the lottery by gaining new powers; it is just insulting. It would be like if Batman’s parents didn’t die and on his fifteenth birthday they gave Bruce all the gadgets and said, “Go fight some crime kid, for funsies.” The only consolation is that when we get a Dr. Strange movie done right in the next few years, it won’t be ANYTHING like this one. Even if it sucks, it’s still going to be light-years better than this.

He still looks lost.  Did he even know he was in a movie?


  1. Man, are you ever a f*^&%&*^g idiot. Do I ever feel sorry for you.

    Good luck ever being happy.

    1. Wait...happiness depends on liking the failed TV pilot for Doctor Strange?!?


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