Doctor Strange:
Doctor Strange is the latest entry in Marvel's onslaught on the movie industry.
there was a point where this shit needed to stop and we passed that four years ago.
i like comic books as much as the next nerd but, holy moly this is getting ridiculous.
but yet, every time the PSE and i steal a new batch of movies from the internet, it's these Marvel ones that we watch first.

Doctor Strange is one of the comic book characters i know the least about.
while i could write a small book on the psychology of the Batman or the political philosophy of Magneto, Doctor Strange never interested me.
all i knew about Doctor Strange before watching the movie is that he is an old queen who lives in Greenwich Village and fights demons with different pieces of enchanted jewelry.
i always assumed it was all a big allegory for the unfortunate life of closeted Homosexuality back in the 1960s, so i never felt particularly drawn to the narrative.
i'm out and proud!
but, i can't very well not watch a Marvel movie when they put one out, they would take away my nerd credentials, so, okay, let's see what this shit has to offer.

Doctor Strange is an origin story.
it starts off with Doctor Steven Strange, an arrogant neurosurgery who's hands get all fucked up in a car accident because he was texting and driving.
rather then just retiring to a nice life as a well-compensated medical lecturer or whatever other surgeons do when their hands stop working, Doctor Strange decides to throw a hissy fit about his situation.
when medical science can't cure him, Doctor Strange goes to Kathmandu to learn the ways of magic because he met some dude at a basketball court who told him that that was totally a thing he could do.
in Kathmandu, Doctor Strange quickly finds his way to a secret magic temple where an immortal White Woman inducts him into an order of magical disciples and teaches him to fight with weapons made of energy and traverse different dimensions.
i've been to Kathmandu, i've wandered around the streets for days. nobody once tried to teach me how to traverse different dimensions.
mostly, the people who jump out at you are trying to get you to go on a hiking tour or sell you drugs.

Doctor Strange hangs out in Kathmandu for a while learning magic, but, after a montage or two the movie's Big Bad attacks the temple and the rest of the movie is just an Inception rip-off with buildings moving and shifting around and people running up the walls doing karate.
in the end, the White Woman dies because i guess she wasn't so immortal after all and Doctor Strange has to go fight the Big Bad all by himself.
but, rather then continuing the running magic-fight, Doctor Strange decides to fly up to a psychedelic space dimension that looks like the back of a Spencer's Gifts black-light poster section to fight a malevolent dragon that is supposed to be some kind of Satan.
Doctor Strange gets the malevolent psychedelic dragon to agree to kill the Big Bad and leave Earth alone, and he returns to our dimension to take over as the new Head Magician In Charge now that the White Woman is dead.
even though Doctor Strange is the latest recruit to their magic troupe, and surely any of the other people who had been training in Kathmandu for years before he turned up are better prepared for the task.
the end.

i wasn't expecting much from Doctor Strange but what i got was a steaming pile of shit.
i have very little truck for reality-warping bullshit.
A is A. without that, we have nothing.
from the get-go, taking a subject matter like magic and making it fit in to a cinematic universe where the laws of physics normally apply was going to be a difficult task, but the Marvel people did it once before with the first Thor movie and that turned out pretty great.
the trick is making the characters likable, which nobody bothered to do here.
Doctor Strange was all visual effects and no substance.
and, they weren't even new visual effects, it was all just Inception.
and i really, really didn't like Inception.
for being all style over substance, for not giving us anything or anybody to like and for just being Inception with a Marvel logo up top, Doctor Strange earns a 3.6/10.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them:
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is a movie based on a picture book J.K Rowling wrote because i guess she didn't have enough fucking money.
unlike the Harry Potter series, which are actual books with an actual story, this was just a collection of different descriptions of made-up animals that J.K Rowling wrote in her sleep.
but Hollywood realized that they could make a movie out of a sack of dead birds if they could somehow tie it to the Harry Potter franchise, so a whole new money train is about to leave the station.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them takes place in America in the 1920s, sixty years before Harry Potter is born.
a magizoologist arrives in New York on a mission to go let some giant monster loose in Arizona, which is supposed to be its natural environment but, before he can do so, a whole bunch of other monsters get set free in the City because of a mix up with a Polack Muggle.
the Magizoologist and the Polack Muggle have to team up with a Jewish Lady-Witch who works for the American Ministry of Magic to catch all of the escaped magical creatures which is pretty much the plot of Pokemon, but then a bunch of other shit happens, too.

America in the 1920s is fairly repressive for witches and wizards, there is a culture of anti-magic sentiment in the air which has made the magical community become reclusive and not engage with non-magical people.
a consequence of this is that the magical community isn't reaching out to pre-pubescent children to tell them that they have special magic powers and to follow them to a magical place full of secrets that they must never tell anybody about like they like to do, and so, occasionally, a magical child will explode.
when magical children who are born to non-magical parents don't get to go to magic school, when they have to repress their magic, they can sometimes explode, which has been happening all throughout New York.
ultimately, the Magizoologist and his Polack Muggle friend and the Jewish Lady-Witch have to team up with the American Ministry of Magic to catch a boy exploding with repressed magic before he can blow up the city.
and Collin Farrell is there, too, and he's a big hotshot at the American Ministry of Magic who is up to no good, but in the end it turns out he wasn't Collin Farrell, he was Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, trying to get a race-war started between American witches and wizards and Muggles.
the Magizoologist and his friends succeed in stopping the repressed boy from exploding before he can destroy the city, but but they end up killing the boy, too.
the end.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is a movie about how you've got to be yourself or else you will explode.
which is a fine message, if not a little obvious.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is a n alright movie, though, i doubt it could exist independent of the Harry Potter franchise propping it up.
one of the problems with Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is that there was way too much going on.
there was an A-story about finding magical creatures and a B-story about this exploding, repressed boy and a C-story about some nasty cunt who runs an orphanage and Hates Magic and a D-story about a romance between the Pollack Muggle and the Jewish Lady-Witch's sister.
all the way down at the E-story was a plot about Jon Voight who was a wealthy and powerful newspaperman who had a son who was running for Congress.
that got dropped about halfway through because, shit, how many stories can you expect to put into a 135 minute movie?
presumably they'll get back around to what Jon Voight is up to in a sequel but, including him in the first movie made the whole thing feel overstuffed.

for being a fine-enough movie, overstuffed with too many stories, for having an obvious but ultimately positive message and for not really having all that much to do with finding fantastic beasts as promised [though, that is probably for the best] Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them earns a 6.4/10.

//[ab irato ad astra]
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July 2017

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