Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Dr Strange

On Tuesday 25th October, I experienced WoW twice within the space of a few hours. The DVD of the 25th anniversary films of Miss Saigon arrived and more than lived up to expectations, although the two DVD set does not include the curtain call performance by members of the original cast shown on the recent cinema relays and the list of theatres where the production is to tour in 2017 is significantly short with six venues and none between Leicester and Edinburgh. I will review the DVD’s later. I thought there was time to go and see the film set in Africa about a school age child with ambition to become a chess champion called Queen of Katwe but as the performance was at five I booked to attend the following day, but noted there was still time to attend the new Benedict Cumberbatch Marvel Comics character film Doctor Strange and about which I knew nothing. The film also stars Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One and Cheiwetel Ejiofor both with outstanding backgrounds in Theatre, TV and Film and several other top notch actors.

I have commented recently on the reduction in the number of epic films in 3 D and some of the recent Marvel Comic productions which rely so heavily on CGI have failed or not attracted the level of public response to encourage the kind of expenditure which such films require especially if they are to achieve new amazing cinematograph experiences.

From an article about the film in the Guardian 22nd October 2016, I learned that Benedict had flown to Katmandu where part of the film takes place, set shortly after completing his National Theatre performances as Hamlet and which I viewed with many others at one of the Relays which most cinema chains held. He also mentioned the impact of having become a father.

Benedict plays Dr Strange a leading surgeon using the latest technics of micro surgery who has become an arrogant and hypercritical individual with an exceptional wealthy lifestyle living on his own. He loses his ability to work following a serious road accident and spends all his time and fortune trying to find a way to regain the use of hands upon which his work depends.

This leads him to meet someone who has recovered from a disability against all rational knowledge about what is possible and this leads him to go and search for the Ancient One who is in Katmandu.  The key or pivotal momentum is when the Ancient One challenges the view that the universe is one dimensional and of singular material substance rooted in knowable cause and effect which will appeal to all those who believe in the supernatural, other dimensions, in spirit and soul, the outer body experience, the possibilities of immortality and the all seeing  all controlling  entities of good and evil personified in  a God  and in a Devil and above all of these, and the subject which has always interested me most, the power of the physical mind over the rest of the  physical body and to command or control other physical entities external to the body and which is on the spectrum of affecting perception, conjuring to  magic and it is this respect that the film attempts to make visual translation through the use of CGI.
The film does have some WoW moments through its perception and time bending effects, through its colourful visualization of other dimensions and representation of evil and the devil and of being caught up in a painful horrifying self-awareness of being in an endless repeating cycle of the same event hell, but with the possibility of being able to break out from this. The film is also about how sceptics who convert become zealots and the belief that nothing is impossible. It terms of the story the pattern of the baddies appearing to win but the superhero finding an unconventional way(s) to win at the last moment is once more repeated although the eventual victory is never left in doubt with a good twist in terms of inevitable casualty(casualties) but not in terms of the sacrifices superheroes need to make if he or she is put others before their own interests and pleasures. The jokes are clever and wry and I noted that I started to laugh sooner than most in the audience but everyone quickly caught up. A good way to judge a film is how soon the audience begins to leave, at the immediate end of the film, as the credit progress because they have been alerted there is endpiece or stay until the cleaning staff arrive. This time there was no movement until the end piece during the credit and the majority were still in their seats digesting the experience as I left with the last few pages of credits rolling. It is one of the most enjoyable of the comic book action movies and in which I was engaged throughout and experienced moments of Wow, but nothing like the same level of flesh tingling WoW, WoW and more WoW

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