Doctor Strange – 3½ (out of 4 Stars)
Shamballa. Is it an ancient demon, the key to Nirvana, or the title of a Three Dog Night song?
Marvel Studios’ new entry into the comic book world realm is that of Doctor Strange. It’s the story of top neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a man, at the top of his game who has everything, that loses all his abilities and skills from injuries suffered from a horrific automobile accident.
While desperately trying to recover the use of his mangled hands through expensive surgeries, he stumbles upon a similar victim who recovered the use of his legs through the existential healing process of the mystic arts. He travels to Kathmandu, Nepal where he meets the healer, known as "The Ancient One" (Tilda Swinton) who enlightens him about the separation between mind, body and spirit. Along with her assistants Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Wong (Benedict Wong) they teach Dr. Strange (that’s Doctor, Not Mister!) the ancient power of the Mystic Arts.
After spending months learning the hidden powers of the existential world, Dr. Strange becomes proficient at his new skills. He learns that where the Avengers protect the world from physical enemies, The Ancient One and her ‘followers’ are there to protect the earth from existential threats.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this movie in 3D. The CGI effects were over the top, mind boggling, absolutely mesmerizing. While dealing with the realm of physicality, the mystic arts and time manipulation, there was just enough light banter between the characters to keep the story engaging.
The movie starts out with a major action sequence by the evil Kaecilius (Mars Mikkelsen, Casino Royale) which captures the audience’s attention & never let’s go. Then of course there’s the romance between Dr. Strange and his on again/off again girlfriend, Doctor Christine Palmer (Rachael McAdams).
This film is totally over-the-top in cinematography, VFX and virtual reality. The cast did an excellent job bringing their characters to life. The director (Scott Derrickson) understood how to utilize 3D cinematography to bring a very complex world of imagination and the mystic arts to life. And of course, being a Marvel’s film there is a spoiler at the end so make sure you sit through the credits.
I would recommend this movie for anyone young or old, it is two hours of pure entertainment. Make sure you have that jumbo size popcorn bucket because you’ll need it for this film.
So, what about the word Shamballa and its meaning? I guess you’re just gonna need to see the movie to find out.