ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – Doctor Strange (2016) Revisited

Director: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C Robert Cargill (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comics)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg

 

Plot: While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.


Tagline – Open your mind. Change your reality

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning

 

Story: Doctor Strange starts as arrogant, brilliant neurosurgeon Dr Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is involved in a reckless car accident, which was his own fault, loses the ability to use his hands on the same levels as he once could. Stephen learns about one patient that recovered from the injuries that he shouldn’t have recovered from and goes in search for answers.

Stephen searches for Kamar-Taj which should give the mind answers to healing himself through belief, with The Ancient One (Swinton) showing him the way. Here Stephen must train with Mordo (Ejiofor) and soon finds himself joining the fight against Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) who has been trying to gain the power the Ancient One has.

 

Thoughts on Doctor Strange

 

Characters – Doctor Stephen Strange is arrogant brilliant neurosurgeon, he always looks down on people who he sees not completing the operations he can, this has led him to become reckless in his personal life, which leads to his accident and loss of ability to operate. He learns that he could be cured, if he goes through certain mind training as he learns about multi verse which doesn’t need the physical body to get through or fight. Mordo is one of the oldest students un Kamar-Taj, he opens the doors to Stephen, working with him to teach him about what they will be fighting against. Dr Palmer is the only friend Stephen has at the hospital and she goes to him for advice when needed. Wong is the librarian that guards the books about power which the people there could learn from. Kaecilius is the villain of the piece, he has been trying to bring the dark universe to Earth’s and will stop and nothing to achieve this, he was once a student too, but turned evil once he learnt about the power. The Ancient One control the powers in Kamar-Taj, the oldest and most powerful of everyone there, she teaches Stephen the true meaning and powers he could control.

PerformancesBenedict Cumberbatch is better than I remembered in the leading role, it might be because I have gotten used to the character after Infinity War, he does make himself feel unlikeable through the film. Chiwetel Ejiofor is interesting in his role where he is designed to be conflict between everyone involved.  Rachel McAdams is however completely wasted in this role, she barely gets any screen time. Mads Mikkelsen as the villain is somebody we know we can trust, though we do wish we could have had more of his character, Benedict Wong is fun in the supporting role, while Tilda Swinton is always going to be the star of a film with her acting class.

StoryThe story here follows Dr Strange learn to give up everything he thought he knew from science and learn about the mystic arts that control universes. This is once again an origin film and Dr Strange is a brilliant, but unlikable man, he needs to learn that the world isn’t about him, its about the people if he is every going to make it in this new position. We do have the conflict between light and dark, which shows that he will need to learn the lines in this war, while others are fighting to be in control of this world. the story can look weak in places because we put so much time into the visuals of this film, but it does everything required to be an entertaining watch.

Action/FantasyThe action in this film comes from the world we see everybody fighting in, it plays hand in hand with the fantasy side of the film which just makes for some of the most visual fight sequences you will ever see.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to not only confuse the audience, but confuse Dr Strange, we see the different environments he must learn to adapt to with the laws of physics now longer being applied.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film are brilliant, it is like watching Inception in steroids when it comes to how the world folds in, moves and evolves.


Scene of the Movie –
The New York fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story isn’t as strong as it could be.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most visually brilliant movies in this universe, it gives us an origin story that is ready to branch in many different directions and prepares us for a new type of hero.

 

Overall: Stunning on the eyes.

Rating

 

The Mummy (2017)

Director: Alex Kurtzman

Writer: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, Dylan Kussman (Screenplay) Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet (Screen Story)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B Vance, Marwan Kenzari

 

Plot: An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: American Mummy in London

 

Story: The Mummy starts as we get the traditional history lesson about what Princess Ahmanet (Boutella) did to become the cursed woman from Ancient Egypt. Roll forward to present day Iraq where treasure hunting soldier Nick Morton (Cruise) and his partner in crime Chris Vail (Johnson) move in on an insurgent controlled town. In this town they make a discovery which bring archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Wallis) to work with the army to bring the discovery back.

When the discovery of Princess Ahmanet selects Nick as her latest choice to raise Set the God of Death to life to reign terror on Earth, Jenny brings Nick to Dr Henry Jekyll (Crowe) to find a way to stop this ancient terror from rising once more.

 

Thoughts on The Mummy

 

Characters/PerformanceNick is a solider that enjoys treasure hunting for his own profit, he is a selfish man but once he works with Jenny we see a different side to him as he also gets to cheat death. Dr Jekyll is a character we know from history but this time he seems to be a leader of an organisation that fights evil. Jenny is the archaeologist that has searched for Princess Ahmanet for her whole life and now she gets to fight something she never thought. Princess Ahmanet is our ancient Egyptian that has been raised from the dead to bring her terror back to Earth, this character is the highlight of the film but you still want more from her. Chris Vail is basically the friend from American Werewolf in Paris.

Performance wise, Cruise disappoints here, he is miss-casted because he doesn’t pull of the confused out of his depth to the level we are used too in these films. Russell Crower, well as a supporting character he does struggle to make an impact. Annabelle Wallis is fine but you just don’t believe must of her characters decisions. Sofia Boutella once again shows she is very capable of these roles which need unique body movement. Jake Johnson tries the comic relief but it doesn’t click every time.

StoryYou know the Brendan Fraser Mummy, well this is incredible similar story just in modern times, we have one very well-designed moment and that is showing how the extremists are destroying monuments which can cover Nick’s tracks. Otherwise this is one of the most painful origin attempted stories of recent years, we have a villain which should be one of the most interesting of the year but almost becomes second fiddle to the bigger universe that the film wants to create. Nothing here is overly memorable, original or worth seeing again.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action sequences are a mixed bag, we have the plane crash which we all saw in the trailer but otherwise it is Tom Cruise 101 with running, sand storms and losing fist fights. The adventure side get sucked out of the film once we hit London and the fantasy side of things just doesn’t come off believable.

SettingsThe Iraq setting was fine for me, but we don’t focus on that area long enough which most of the film taking place in England and mostly London and seriously how many times can we destroy London on film?

Special EffectsThis is yet another mixed bag for me, certain moments look great but other moments come off painfully CGI.

Final ThoughtsThis is a failed attempt of a Universe builder, it is miss-cast with Cruise, this should have gone to a younger name that could work in the universe for years to come and a character in Nick that is remotely interesting. I will accept that this was needed to bring the modern era for this bigger picture which does clash the ancient world with the technology world but we don’t focus on that enough.

 

Overall: Disappointing action film that focuses on Easter Eggs over producing us a story.

Rating

 

 

Passengers (2016)

passengerDirector: Morten Tyldum

Writer: Jon Spaihts (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, Vince Foster, Kara Flowers

 

Plot: A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning

 

Story: Passengers starts with the Starship Avalon heading towards Homestead II with 5000 passengers and 258 crew members on board. When the ship goes through an asteroid field the ship shows its ability to repair itself in any damage is received. But then the reset process goes through Jim Preston (Pratt) is awoken from his sleep chamber.

Jim entering the preparation process soon discovers he is the only one to have been awoken 90 years early. Spending over a year alone with only an android Arthur (Sheen) to talk to Jim becomes obsessed with fellow passenger Aurora Lane (Lawrence) and wanting to wake her up and once he finally goes through with it he wants to keep that a secret while other odd malfunctions are going on through the ship.

When the romance between the two blossoms, the truth comes out building the tension between the only two living awake humans on the ship but soon the real reason why Jim was woken up when Gus Mancuso (Fishburne) a member of the crew wakes up.

 

Thoughts on Passengers

 

StoryThe story side of this of this film does bottle down to one man alone for 90s years and what would you do to keep yourself busy? We do also end up falling into the ship is damaged and needs fixing which has been done plenty of times. I did enjoy the story in places but much like Oblivion is does feel like a really long music video.

Romance/Sci-FiThe romance side of this story does have elements which do feel slightly creepy in places because could you fall in love with the person that destroys you future? The sci-fi side of this story does show a side to real world where humans would need to find a new planet to live on and this tackles the idea of going on that mission which I did like.

Characters/PerformanceJim is a good everyday person who finds himself alone for the journey giving us the ultimate question if you could wake someone up to be with you would you? Aurora is a strong minded character whose character arc I do feel is very clichéd and I feel not every decision she makes would be realistic. We only have two other characters with Arthur the android who feels like he has just been ripped out of The Shinning and Gus who is only included to fill in the gaps. There are no other characters involved enough to make a real impact.

Looking at the performances we get what you expect from Pratt and Lawrence without reaching the highest levels of their abilities. Sheen fast becomes the star of the show as you do want to see his character as often as possible, Fishburne is good for his role but I was left questioning just what was the point in Andy Garcia being he captain who doesn’t even have a line in the film.

SettingsThis film is set entirely on the spacecraft which helps with the character decisions Jim makes because what would you do if you were alone in space with nobody to talk to or spend time with what would you do. The setting also looks fantastic as you fully believe every inch of the ship.

Special EffectsThis is one of the most visually stunning movies you will see and this is achieved with all the special effects used to make this happen.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great visual watch but it does lack the real depth in the overall story.

 

Overall: Beautifully shot movie that falls short in the depth in character stories because it does feel like a live action version of Wall-E

Ratingcard

 

 

Doctor Strange (2016)

drDirector: Scott Derrickson

Writer: Stand Lee, Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C, Robert Cargill (Screenplay) Stand Lee, Steve Ditko (Comics)

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Stuhlbarg

 

Plot: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning Origin Story

 

Story: Doctor Strange starts as we see Kaecilius (Mikkelsen) stealing artefacts to help him with his next plan only with The Ancient One (Swinton) tries to stop him in what is an early sign of the reality these characters will be fighting within. We move on to meet the brilliant Doctor Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) who has his own style of performing surgery which always saves the lives of the people he is saving.

When Stephen is recklessly driving his fancy car, he is involved in a horrific car accident losing all the skills he has learned in his hands forcing him into drastic measure to regain his surgical skills. Stephen’s journey takes him in search of an impossible natural cure as he finds Mordo (Ejiofor) who guides him to what he searches for the Ancient One.

This is where his training begins as Dr Strange learns about the different realities we live in and how to make them work to his advantage as he learns nothing he once knew was what he thought it was. We the training continues Dr Strange has to join in the battle against former student Kaecilius who has turned to the dark side to prove his worth to the cause.

Doctor Strange gives us a visually stunning superhero origin story because we haven’t had one of these in about two weeks. The story plays into the bigger reality battle which is a big plus to make this slightly more unique only we have this already with the inclusion of the Thor and Guardians universe. I can see why people enjoyed this but in the end this is just going to have to be another addition to a universe which is already over saturated with characters.

Cumberbatch doesn’t seem to have charisma to play what I feel is meant to be sarcastic character, Mikkelsen is just another villain that we have seen before that never makes the impact on the story but is never meant to be that much for an origin film. Swinton does a good job in her role and Ejiofor is solid as the trainer figure.

 

Overall: Visually amazing but as for origin story we have seen this all before.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Darkest Hour (2011)

logoDirector: Chris Gorak

Writer:  Jon Spaihts (Screenplay) Leslie Bohem, M.T. Ahern, Jon Spaihts (Story)

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman, Veronika Vernadskaya

 

Plot: In Moscow, five young people lead the charge against an alien race who have attacked Earth via our power supply.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Invisible Aliens Attack Again.

 

Story: The Darkest Hour starts by introducing us to our American’s Sean (Hirsch) and Ben (Minghella) as they head to Moscow for a business trip as they are looking to expand their App. The boys find their idea stolen by Skyler (Kinnaman) so to blow off some steam they head to an elite club. The boys meet fellow American Natalie (Thirlby) and her friend Aussie Anne (Taylor) who enjoy the night out together. The night takes a turn when all the power is lost and these mysterious light clouds descend from the sky dissolving anything they get in contact with. Chaos takes over the streets of Moscow and the four friends find themselves hiding for their lives against an invisible enemy.

Morning comes and the four friends and Skyler seem to be the only survivors of the initial attack and set out to find any other survivors and help. The streets of Moscow are totally abandoned, cars left all over the place and of course the safest way to search the city is in pure daylight where the creatures could find them, you know those invisible ones that they can’t see. When the group finally figure out it will be smarter to travel at night they build a warning device to let them know when the creatures are getting close to them. The group have to find answers and survive in a city where they don’t know the language against an enemy they can’t fight.

The Darkest Hour takes the alien genre and mixes it with a slasher, we get the idea that our main group don’t know where they are either which adds to the horror side of the story. We get to see plenty of terrible decisions being made as always for the genre before we get to meet the traditional generic characters that end up offering nothing new to the genre. On the positive I did like how the aliens did their kills because they are brutal and truly frightening. This ends up being very glossy and could easily be forgotten after seeing what has happened because you don’t really care about the characters. It was nice not seeing purely military trying to stop the aliens and we only see the group trying to survive rather than full fighting. (5/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Emile Hirsch: Sean is the slacker of the two guy friends who can put on a good face to sell anything, he takes up the leader role for the group making all the brave decision for the group. Emilie continues to slip away after his impressive outing in Into the Wild. (5/10)

 sean

Olivia Thirlby: Natalie is our America tourist who happens to find the guys through their App and along with her friend bump into the guys on a party night. She has to group up with after the attack staying loyal to her friend. Olivia tries her hand in this genre but never really stands out. (5/10)

 

Max Minghella: Ben is the smart worrying friend who always sees life going one direction and the whole trip things take him outside his comfort zone. Max looks like he should be the main character which is what is surprising what happens to his character. (5/10)

 

Rachael Taylor: Anne is the Australian friend of Natalie’s who joins in the survival attempts. Racheal is pretty much just a victim in the race for survival and never really gets much time to do anything. (4/10)

 

Support Cast: The Darkest Hour has supporting cast that is very generic we get the asshole that is with them, we get the crazy local who knows what is going on and we also see the warrior wannabes. They help our characters get to the next chapter of their adventure.

 

Director Review: Chris Gorak – Chris does a solid job but never takes the film to the next level of originality. (5/10)

 

Action: The Darkest Hour is filled with chasing and basic weaponry fighting against the aliens but nothing stand out. (5/10)

Horror: The Darkest Hour does actually put us in a horror environment stuck with no way of getting home, lost in a country where they don’t know the language and the brutal alien kills. (8/10)

Sci-Fi: The Darkest Hour uses the alien invasion angle we have seen plenty of times before. (7/10)

Thriller: The Darkest Hour does make you want to know what will happen and how they will escape but you don’t really care which one will die next. (7/10)

Settings: The Darkest Hour uses the Moscow setting with Americans not knowing their way around the city. (8/10)
Special Effects
: The Darkest Hour uses good effects with the alien kills even if the final reveal of the aliens is slightly CGI heavy. (7/10)

Suggestion: The Darkest Hour is one for the sci-fi fans to try, it can be enjoyed by all but don’t expect too much. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Alien kills.

Worst Part: Generic supporting characters.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Vanishing on 7th Street.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $64.5 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

Tagline: Survive The Holidays

Trivia: Production was suspended for a planned two weeks due to the extraordinary air pollution caused by heavy smoke from the wild fires surrounding Moscow in August 2010. It eventually resumed three weeks later. Even with this precaution, smoke still made it into a lot of shots and had to be digitally removed in post production.

 

Overall: Darkest Hour is very generic but enjoyable sci-fi horror.

Rating 65