Dr. Strange / Movie VHS
Marvel Comics always seems to come up short in the comics-to-movies transition, often because their adaptations veer away from both their comic book feel and their original story. This lesser-known conversion--which didn't even air in some parts of the country back in 1978--is the most faithful of the '70s Marvel adaptations, from a lead actor who looks the part to specific sets and some moderately decent effects. Peter Hooten stars as psychiatrist Stephen Strange, an unwitting heir to mystical powers which aging sorcerer Lindmer seeks to bestow on him (it's his destiny). When the evil Morgan LeFay is sent by an evil demon from another dimension to snuff out the aging sorcerer and begin the takeover of Earth, Linder fends her off as his pupil, Wong, seeks out Strange for his initiation into the mystic arts. When the reluctant Strange learns that one of his patients, student Clea Lake, has become an unwitting pawn in this cross-dimensional war, he tries to save her and then attempts to fend off LeFay before she bridges the gap between dimensions.
Admitted, this movie is more suited to fans of the comic than to outsiders, but that said, it is the Marvel adaptation most likely to entice people into investigating its source material. Hooten delivers an appealing performance as the compassionate Strange; his acting is what drives this piece. John Mills is decent as Lindmer, and Anne-Marie Martin emphatically plays the victimized Lake, but Jessica Walter is a bit too cold and distant as sinister sorceress LeFay, despite her cool, icy stare. Luckily, Paul Chihara's moody electronic score (reminiscent of Goblin's music in Dario Argento films) adds tension to the movie. You can tell the filmmakers were setting up a series that never came, and it's too bad because there was a lot of potential here. --Bryan Reesman
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Like the 2014 Benedict Cumberbatch film, we see an awakening Dr. Strange coming into the mystic powers. Sadly, this movie like the more recent one delves into back story without letting the Doctor explore his full potential. As a TV movie that could have doubled as a series pilot this is a fun movie introducing a character. Sadly, the other Marvel hero from TV at the time does not make an appearance. Nicholas Hammond's CBS Spider-Man could have and should have made an appearance in the movie's world. Since this TV movie came before the success of the Incredible Hulk--that ultimately pulled in Daredevil and Thor--the comic book crossover did not occur in Dr. Strange's generation.
It is better than you might expect but you have to keep your graphics and pacing expectations set in their proper place.
This is much better than the TV quality Captain America movies (that had porn quality dialogue and a revisionist Captain backstory).
If you love Peter Hooten movies (I know I do - lol) then this is a can't miss, also, if you really like it when changes are made to the back story of a character for no reason whatsoever then buy this movie! I cannot stress enough that it doesn't matter at all if you watch this movie, but if you do I recommend having had a few drinks ahead of time as well as during. No need to pause if you leave the room or start it over if you fall asleep, as I'm sure you weren't really paying attention anyway and were probably going to forget about it. This was a made for TV movie and was released in 1978 so keep that in mind as I'm sure most of the intended audience was on LSD.
In reality it's worth the one watch. Some poorly acted sequences and stunts, but what can you expect?