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Doctor Strange, the live-action movie(s)
August 9, 2011 10:54 AM   Subscribe

Stephen Strange was an arrogant doctor, until a car accident damaged his hands, leading him try every cure possible. Eventually he made his way to the East, where the story progressed, and now he's Doctor Strange, master of magic! His thrilling tale is set to be the first Marvel superhero movie since Marvel was purchased by Disney. But there has been much history behind the latest movie, including a period when Guillermo del Toro was involved and wanted to include Neil Gaiman, a draft script by Alex Cox (1990, 5.1 mb PDF; review), and a draft script by Bob Gale (January 21, 1986, 3.5 mb PDF; review). Along with these incomplete attempts, there was the 1978 Dr. Strange TV movie, which you can watch online (full movie with Portuguese subtitles, or YT playlist). If you'd like another take, head to 1992 for the direct-to-video movie Doctor Mordrid. Depending on who you ask, it's a more or less entertaining/accurate take (warning: spoilers) on Dr Strange. Modrid is also online.
posted by filthy light thief (34 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Mefi's own mightygodking with his insanely good and well thought out " Why I Should Write Dr. Strange."
posted by The Whelk at 10:58 AM on August 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth! An Alex Cox script is a good start, but it really needs Jodorowsky to direct.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:01 AM on August 9, 2011


I have the videotape of that 1978 TV movie, and the linked review of it is good. He was my favorite Marvel hero, back when I had some.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:03 AM on August 9, 2011


I want this not to suck. It will suck.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:07 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


There was also a 2007 direct-to-video animated feature that is probably not worth watching if the Iron Man DTV from the same people is any judge.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:10 AM on August 9, 2011


It's being written by the team that wrote Sahara, what could go wrong?
posted by octothorpe at 11:11 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


We watched the 1978 Doctor Strange for Bad Movie Night. We were not disappointed.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:12 AM on August 9, 2011


My favorite Doctor Strange tale is the "What if?" where Dr. Doom (who was wandering the same area of Tibet around the same time) instead finds the Great Old One and becomes Sorcerer Supreme instead. He later meets Stephen Strange and gives him new, more precise robot hands to replace the ones shattered in the accident, and Strange then goes on to become the most famous surgeon in the world.
posted by Eideteker at 11:15 AM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


While we're at it, I'd love it if the Venture Bros crew kicked out a Dr. Orpheus/Order of the Triad spinoff movie...
posted by COBRA! at 11:20 AM on August 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Also, it's not really a Dr. Strange movie if he doesn't have to walk along a path hanging in the void that passes through at least one gaping mouth. Just sayin'.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:20 AM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


There was a raft of Marvel made-for-TV movies in the late 70s. I'm pretty sure the Bill Bixby Hulk series grew out of what would have been far and away the most successful of them.

But I also remember a Captain America and a (really quite bad) Spiderman. At the time I remember thinking that Doctor Strange was far and away the best of them. Now I'll have to rewatch and see how it's aged.

I'm a bit worried about that, actually...
posted by Naberius at 11:22 AM on August 9, 2011


MORDO goes to one of the humming fax machines.
The message is emerging in letters of blood red.

MESSAGE: FIND HIM

MORDO: Every time he uses his magic, he reveals himself --
...
A GOUT OF FLAME emerges from the fax machine.
MORDO chokes. His collar catches fire.
-----------
Yeah, pretty much what I would expect from a Dr. Strange movie.
posted by benzenedream at 11:24 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I lov ed Dr. Strange as a kid. Please, Hollywood, just this once, don't rape my memories.
posted by bashos_frog at 11:33 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mefi's own mightygodking with his insanely good and well thought out " Why I Should Write Dr. Strange."

Just wanted to second The Whelk's link. If you like Dr. Strange, reading MGK's posts is almost certainly more entertaining than that film's gonna be.
posted by straight at 11:40 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is anyone else worried that Disney will completely screw up the Marvel movies? They've always been toyetic, but with Disney involved, I fear it will grow so much worse.
posted by Servo5678 at 11:47 AM on August 9, 2011


Dr Strange: Featuring Buzz Lightyear!
posted by blue_beetle at 12:00 PM on August 9, 2011


Is anyone else worried that Disney will completely screw up the Marvel movies?

Yes.

But the afternoon kid's show The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes was (I think) the first joint Marvel/Disney property to air (and on a Disney channel, too), and it's actually pretty good. Decent animation and decent writing. (Though they did give The Wasp big ol' anime eyes. Oh well.) It's significantly better than other Marvel forays into animation for kids.

So maybe there's hope.

But I've got a whole list of Marvel characters I'd like to see on the big screen before Dr. Strange. Hank Pym and The Wasp, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, Man-Thing, Cloak and Dagger, The Inhumans, Guardians of the Galaxy (Rocket Raccoon and Groot onscreen?! Yes, please.). I'd much rather see those movies than Dr. Strange.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:05 PM on August 9, 2011


Actually, my fave Dr Strange is the Ultimate Dr. Strange, because he addresses many of the problems brought up in mightygodking's (admittedly excellent) article. By making him the son of the original raised away from magic, but suddenly thrust into the role of Sorcerer Supreme, you create a tension between his inherited power and relative inexperience.

That being said, that would require the movie to assume that you know who Dr. Strange is walking in, which I'm guessing won't happen.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:06 PM on August 9, 2011


BitterOldPunk: I'd much rather see those movies than Dr. Strange.

What about Ant-man? Everyone overlooks the little guy. Oh, you said Hank Pym, right.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:13 PM on August 9, 2011


By making him the son of the original raised away from magic, but suddenly thrust into the role of Sorcerer Supreme, you create a tension between his inherited power and relative inexperience.

Which is exactly why I don't like Ultimate Dr. Strange: he's Spider-Man, but with magic instead of webslinging. Spider-Man is a great character, but there are other characters out there.
posted by mightygodking at 12:40 PM on August 9, 2011


That's more a problem with where they went with him. Being a hero because that's what people expect of you is pretty much the exact opposite of the Peter Parker Experience.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:44 PM on August 9, 2011


My favorite Doctor Strange tale is the "What if?" where Dr. Doom (who was wandering the same area of Tibet around the same time) instead finds the Great Old One and becomes Sorcerer Supreme instead.

I liked the graphic novel, Triumph and Torment, in which Strange had to help Doom free his mother from Mephisto. Doom became Strange's temporary apprentice, as I recall.

There was also one called Into Shamballa which had different flavor from the usual comics. Nice artwork, too.
posted by homunculus at 12:48 PM on August 9, 2011


It'd be cool if they put in a joke about not fighting in the war room.
posted by storybored at 1:21 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is how I picture Dr. Strange now.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:21 PM on August 9, 2011


This post is missing the best Dr Strange thing on the internet:

THE LESSER BOOK
OF THE
VISHANTI

A Companion to
the Dr. Strange Comic Books
The Book of the Vishanti, that storehouse of occult wisdom, said to contain every counter-spell known to the mystic arts [ST 116] exists in but one copy, that being at present in the library of Stephen Strange. Far be it from the intent of this humble compilator to presume to duplicate the immense wealth of knowledge said volume contains -- but greater would be my shame should i let pass into unending oblivion those lesser spells & enchantments which the deathless Vishanti have seen fit to allow Dr. Strange to reveal, if not to the world at large, then at least some small, select portion thereof.

There have been throughout the years several questions raised by students of the theurgic arts as to whether the magic of the Vishanti (and thus of Stephen Strange) is "good" or "evil" -- indeed, it has even been stated that the Book contains only spells of defense, not offence [ST 148] -- in manifest contradiction to the evidence. The root of the problem lies in the fact that human beings, limited as they are in outlook, have presumed to cast the Vishanti in their own strictured mold, and this being a fruitless task, no end of "moral" confusion results.


4

The Vishanti are most often referred to as eternal, blessed and deathless, but in at least one instance [ST 120] their fury is also invoked. Rather than attempt to sift the shifting sands of morality's Maya, i shall let the words of the noted occultist Arthur Edward Waite speak for my translation of the Vishanti texts as they did for his own work on the Clavicula Solomonensis:

"I have ruled out, as will be seen, the distinctions which have subsisted between the good and evil side of the arts and processes ... because the two aspects dissolve into one another and belong one to another in the root that is common to both ... [but] it should be observed that experiments which have for their object an interference with the free will of another person ... are essentially evil experiments."
Let this warning be a word to the wise. and let it serve as notice that i have included in this volume, for the sake of completeness only, the spells used by Baron Mordo, the dread Dormammu, and the unspeakable Umar (as well as those invoking such dubious entities as the supreme Satannish). Any spells not of Stephen Strange's utterance are marked as such in the margin. [like this.]

5

In addition to incantations, this volume also contains a complete list of spirits, forces and sacred spaces, with references to their use as invocatory aids; a catalogue of ritual and power objects; a short treatise on magical time travel; and a list of other dimensions, their landscapes, the nature of their inhabitants, and other needful knowledge for those who would travel to them.
posted by zamboni at 1:42 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


the Peter Parker Experience

Ooh, dibs! That's my band name! Dibs on The Peter Parker Experience!
posted by Naberius at 3:29 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mefi's own mightygodking with his insanely good and well thought out " Why I Should Write Dr. Strange."

He needs to get a writing job NOW.

I love the strange cosmic Ditko version. Want Lynch to to do the movie.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:40 PM on August 9, 2011


MGK's interpretation of Stephen Strange as a more humble, but more dangerous Dr. House/Holmes, complete with assistants from the canon that make sense is pretty effen inspired.
posted by The Whelk at 5:33 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


"By making him the son of the original raised away from magic, but suddenly thrust into the role of Sorcerer Supreme, you create a tension between his inherited power and relative inexperience."

Ugh, we've had enough inherited-power heroes. Pls. check mythology from any era where there was a monarchy.
posted by Eideteker at 6:46 PM on August 9, 2011


Wasn't there also a direct to TV animated movie a couple years back? I remember watching a few minutes of it.
posted by bettafish at 5:19 AM on August 10, 2011


bettafish:
Wasn't there also a direct to TV animated movie a couple years back? I remember watching a few minutes of it.


Yup, and Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish linked to it upthread (wiki link). But I kept my original links to the live action movies, hence the title ;)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:45 AM on August 10, 2011


Now that I finally have the time to read MGK's story treatments, I can only weep that Marvel is probably not going to give you money in exchange for scripts because the universe is cruel.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:57 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please, Hollywood, just this once, don't rape my memories.

Equating shitty adaptations of favorite childhood media with rape is so clueless.
posted by Scoo at 6:24 PM on August 10, 2011


I will probably watch the movie. In Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, I loved his ability to turn enemies into storage crates. Also, the manga version of him had a terrific scene that really endeared him to me. The DVD from a few years ago wasn't that compelling, though.
posted by dragonplayer at 8:36 PM on August 10, 2011


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