Thursday, June 2, 2011

'Dr. Strange' - Script Review

Based on the script by Alex Cox (1990)

Summary:
The script from 1990 is sometimes camp, mostly fun and a refreshingly different take on the superhero genre. But to be really sucessful the plot of the script is too uneven and the characters too flat

What's it about?
Enigmatic Dr. Strange, his old mentor Kardell and his sidekicks Wong & Tanya have three days to find out where the Demon-Overlord Dormammu, with the help of his henchman Mordo, will open the gate to the Dark Dimension and take over the world.

Plot Summary:
The film's plot starts by Mordo paying a visit to the old man Kardell. Mordo says that his boss, Dormammu wants to take over the world and the only thing standing in his way are he, Kardell, and Dr. Strange. After this nice banter, Mordo goes on and tries to kill Kardell, but he can escape.
Through a ritual, Kardell and his former pupil Dr. Strange find out, that they have only three days left until the gate will be opened. To gather more information Dr. Strange goes on a astral journey, leaving his body vulnerable behind. His astral body spies on Mordo, but is discovered and involved in a heavy fight over the roofs of the city. Tanya sees this fight and pays a visit to Dr. Strange the next morning. She tells him about her prophetic dreams, which involves Kardell being killed. Instantly Dr. Strange tries to save his old mentor, but fails. To escape Mordo and his henchman Dr. Strange and Tanya go on the run, followed by the enemy. Dr. Strange can fight them of, but Tanya can't take it anymore and wants out. She stays at a motel, while Dr. Strange takes an astral journey to find out more about Mordo's goals. This is exactly what Mordo waited for and he kidnaps Tanya and Dr. Strange's body, which he beats up pretty bad.
The three days are over now and the portal starts to open over the Easter Islands. In a final move to stop the upcoming apocalypse, Dr. Strange summons every former master, including Merlin and Kardell. Together they can stop Dormammu from coming into our world, but he pulls Tanya down with him. Dr. Strange rushes into the closing portal to save her. Inside the Dark Dimension, an indescribable place without space and time. There, Dr. Strange has to fight Mordo to the death for the pleasure of Dormammu. Dr. Strange wins and takes Tanya out of the Dark Dimension. But she is so changed by this experience, that she ascends to a higher step of evolution, but promises to see him "very soon". 

Observations:
- The Logline and script name could evoke the expactation that this script is about Dr. Strange, but Alex Cox chose a different route. Dr. Strange has gained his powers long before the script starts and he doesn't evolve throughout the movie: Dr. Strange is not the main protagonist! Tanya, who discovers her powers and learns to live with them in this film, is the main protagonist. The problem is, she plays not a big role in the script, which makes the dynamics unbalanced.
- The script is the closest I have ever read to comic pulp. People in capes shooting 'energy blasts' from their hands, astral journeys and demons from the Dark Dimension? To be honest this would be a refreshing and interesting take on the superhero genre, after all the self-consious, afflicted and serious superheroes of the last decade. Additionally, the movie has heavy reference to the green movement of 1990s. Don't expect to see that in a new version!
- The project was shelved and revived numerous times. Dozen of production companies and writes took turns on the Marvel property. Dimension, Miramax and Paramount Pictures all held the rights to make a script at one time or another. People associated with the project were: Wes Craven, David S. Goyer and Guillermo del Toro, just to name a few. Now Marvel owns the property and hired 'Conan the Barbarian' scribes Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer to pen the newest take on Dr. Strange.

Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! - Movie Category: Superhero
(1) a power the hero is imbued with - Omni-potent cosmic powers? Check!
(2) a "Nemesis", an equally powerful bad guy -Evil Demon Overlord from the Dark Dimension? Check!
(3) a "curse" or Achilles heel - Elegantly solved by the use of astral journey, which leave the body of Dr. Strange vulnerable: Check!
(4) The mascot or sidekick -Wong is the comedic sidekick, although he "takes a vacation" in the middle of the script and is replaced with Tanya. Check!


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- Tristan






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