Friday, June 21, 2013

The battle between Dr. Strange and Baron Mordo had better trump the one between Voldemort and Dumbledore or else!

So it looks like Disney is going to move forward with a Dr. Strange movie! I know it's been bantered around for years, talked about in whispers, but just yesterday the villains were confirmed for reals, and that makes me excited.

For those of you who don't know who Dr. Strange is, I will tell you. From the very beginning of his story, Dr. Strange was surrounded by magical artifacts. He has a cloak of levitation, this thing called The Eye of Agamatto, another thing called the Book of the Vishanti, and the list goes on and on. He lives in this place called the Sanctum Sanctorum in the middle of NYC, which (aside from having a cool name) has some very strange Escher-esque details and alien-looking architecture. Just like the Batman, he had a personal servant (only named Wong instead of Alfred) who guarded the house in his absence.
Click to EMBIGGEN to read all about the Sanctum Sanctorum. Trust me, it's an
awesome house. I read this one comic where these three magicians entered
his house to fight him and he basically trapped them in there. It's like a Dr.
Who's tardis with never-ending rooms filled with mysteries. Dr. Strange confronted
 these intruders using only his astral form (which limits his magical powers).
Think of the movie The Princess Bride where the swordsman only uses his left hand
to fight because the right is much too powerful
Dr. Strange's roots stem from the mystic East. Think of stories like Lost Horizon and the legend of Shangri La and you've got the total inspiration behind this character. Basically, he starts out as a stuck up neurosurgeon who only cares about wealth and prestige associated with his career. A car accident damages his hands and leaves him unable to work in surgery anymore. His dissatisfaction over the direction his life has taken leads him to the Himalayas where he meets the Ancient One, a hermit who eventually instructs him in the mystic arts.
Click to EMBIGGEN. The Eye of Agamatto is Dr. Strange's most potent weapon.
Now onto the aforementioned villains. According to BLASTR magazine, they are Baron Mordo, Dormammu, and the Mindless Ones. And here's the rundown on what they are/do (because inquiring minds want to know, and I also have pictures):
Okay, not excited about Baron Mordo's outfit, but I think they'll change
it anyway. It just looks way too silly. That's the thing they'll have
to watch in bringing this story to life: cheese. I think Doctor Strange
could easily slide into the "cheese" territory and become like those
terrible Dungeons and Dragons movies on SyFy, or god forbid,
something like Ator out of the eighties. No one that reads my blog
probably even knows about Miles O'Keef and the Ator movies. Count
your blessings that you don't. So bad. *shudder
1) Baron Mordo. This guy was the Ancient One's first student and he tried to murder the Ancient One. Dr. Strange (of course) saved the Ancient One making it so that these two would hate each other for all time. And because they both had the same teacher they're both going to have a similar level of power, which should make for some interesting and exciting special effects-laden battles.
I know, he dresses in purple, has a head that's on fire, and is wearing
red boots. But Dormammu isn't silly. He'll be a great villain. The yellow
belt though has got to go. 
2) Dormammu. He's one of Dr. Strange's greatest villains and is ruler of a place called only "the Dark Dimension." He's also far more powerful in magic than Dr. Strange or even, the Ancient One.
The mindless ones can shoot laser beams out of their eye. That's kind of cool,
right? And let's face it: these will be the equivalent of the droids in the
Phantom Menace, i.e. they can be killed by the thousands and there's always
more and there won't be any blood when they die. It's perfect marketing and
provides lots of action sequences while our hero works his way to one of the
main bad guys. 
3) The Mindless Ones. These are monsters from another dimension summoned via magic to do the bidding of others (they have no will of their own). Think of them as army ants that every bad guy in the Marvel universe wants to control because they can stream out and destroy things when given a simple command.
I loved this scene in the movie Gremlins. It really brought the whole
magic and the mystic east forward to set the tone for an awesome story.
I especially like the three rules. That was clever writing.
Reasons why I'm excited for Dr. Strange: Well I've always liked magic. I liked the Golden Child (I know...I shouldn't because it was terrible but I still do) and I like stories that borrow on Tibetan legends and that go into the Himalayas. It's also one of the reasons I love the beginning of Gremlins so much. I just like how the inventor enters a shop in Chinatown and buys a mogwai after he hears it singing in a basket. That was just really cool. I hope they do a good job with this movie adaptation. I don't think I've any reason to worry because Marvel has been knocking it out of the park for a few years now with their kickass adaptations. But there's a small part of me that worries that Chinese characters will be cast as white Americans. I won't like that one bit if it happens. Here's looking at you Mickey Rooney (in a Breakfast at Tiffany's). If you've never seen the film adaptation of Truman Capote's wonderful book, then just suffice it to say that Mickey Rooney's performance is a slap in the face to every Asian American. When I saw it, I was mortified at how racist and unfunny it was (I'm an Asian American in case you didn't know).
Sadly, I think that this is the best wizard duel ever filmed. It certain tops anything in the
Lord of the Rings films. And I'm saying, Dr. Strange could outdo this easy.
So in finishing, I just want to say that the battle between Dr. Strange and Baron Mordo had better trump the one between Voldemort and Dumbledore in that Phoenix movie. I thought that was the best wizard battle ever. But Hollywood, I know you can do better!


  1. Have you seen the animated Dr. Strange movie? It was quite good.

  2. Of course I know about the crappy Ator movies. I was unfortunate enough to see one of them when I was in college. On the plus side, Mystery Science Theater 3000 made it watchable again.

  3. Funny you mention Mickey Rooney's performance. When I first saw the movie, PC wasn't even a concept. His performance didn't bother me. Then just a few years ago I saw Breakfast at Tiffany's again and was appalled at the portrayal of an Asian. How times have changed...for the good.

  4. a few years ago he was supposed to be played by Julian McMahon. Nom on the om :)

  5. I'm really not sure how well these movies for secondary characters are going to turn out, but I guess at this point the plan is just to make movies for every male character in the Marvel universe and see what sticks. The more of these they pump out, the greater the likelihood of an eventual backlash where people just get sick of superhero movies.

  6. Probably comes as no surprise that I did NOT know about Dr. Strange. But, yes, sounds fun, now that you've given me the background.

  7. Your encyclopedic knowledge of comics and movies amazes me.

    I remembered "The Dread Dormammu" only after you included him. I had MAYBE 2 Dr Strange comics from when I was a kid. I was never a fan of his, which is odd because I liked wizards, just fine. I guess I just never got into it.

    Where do you get all this insider info? You must be a movie buff to be up on this stuff.

  8. More Marvel movies. This one promises to be a bit different with the mystical/magical element, as you say.

    Michael, I hope you will consider joining my bloggers' book club. Details are here:

  9. I had the same reaction when I saw Breakfast at Tiffany's. Ouch.

    I don't even know anything about Dr. Strange but I loved this post anyway. Now I want to see the battle too.

  10. That house reminds me of the library in Persons of Interest, a program Mrs. C. and I enjoy even though the "machine" makes no sense.

  11. I've not heard of this. My fingers are crossed they do a good job. We've got a lot of superhero movies out there, but this one could be different enough to stand out.

  12. Oh, so that's where "Sanctum Sanctorum" comes from.

    I loved The Golden Child too. (Perhaps I can be excused because I was so young when I first saw it.) It seems a bit cheesy now, but there are some excellent plot points in it.

  13. Dr. Strange sounds fun. Never heard of him until you. I learn lots from you, Michael :) Have a wonderful weekend.

  14. How exciting! I didn't know much about Dr. Strange so this is all quite fascinating. I hope they choose a decent director who doesn't screw it up.


  15. I can't even watch the Micky Rooney segments of Breakfast at Tiffany's, it's so embarrassing. And there are so many excellent Asian American actors the producers of this movie have no excuse if they mess up and don't hire the best.

    Nerd that I am, I know that Sanctum Santorum means the holy of holies and usually refers to the Temple in ancient Jerusalem. Shades of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

  16. They'd have to update him somewhat, he's very medallions and wing collars. And not sure I'm up for yet another origin story.


  17. I'll be disappointed too if they go with an all white American cast.

  18. I like the wizard duel in Willow, with Bavmorda and Raziel. Those old ladies kicked butt imo.

  19. I loved Gremlins. I agree, they did a great job!

    Hope the movie is as good as you hope.