Scott Derrickson's Commentary And The Rest Of The Doctor Strange Extras

doctor-strange-comic-con-posterDoctor Strange comes out on Digital HD February 14th and on Blu-ray / DVD February 28th. If you're on Bleeding Cool, the odds are you've probably already seen the movie in theaters or at least caught a review of the film since it came out three months ago. No sense going over that again other than to say that it was 90% Fresh according to Rotten Tomatoes. Instead, I spent last night watching the Blu-ray extras and I'll tell you what I found.

For me, a Blu-ray should have an audio commentary track with at least the director or main actor, some deleted scenes, a featurette or two especially if its based on source material, and a gag reel. Too many films of late have come out without an audio commentary and that's just wrong. I know some people don't care about them, but for a lot of fans the extras are the reason to buy the film. It's like buying a Mercedes that doesn't have power windows, electric seats with built in heaters, and a back-up camera. Yes, the car still functions without those things but why bother buying a Mercedes then?

The Doctor Strange Blu-ray has all of the things on my checklist and a little more. There is a set of featurettes that go through very aspects of the film starting with the comic book source material, putting the cast together, the wardrobe, sets and locations, the visual effects and the music. Collectively they're about an hour long and include many of the cast and crew being interviewed. There is another featurette that focuses on Marvel Studios Phase 3 which includes talking about films like Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Avengers: Infinity War. This is the one that reminds fans just what an amazing thing Marvel Studios has done putting all of these 14 films together so far.

There is another segment of Team Thor as we continue to see what Thor was doing during Civil War. Where these are funny, it makes me long for the Marvel One-Shots that used to come with the films.

The deleted scenes aren't anything too Earth-shattering. We get more time with Kaecilius and his zealots as we get to see that there are two rituals to summon Dormammu, the first includes a zealot who isn't quite zealous enough and the second, which we see in the film, has an opening that includes proving the lack of an afterlife to a priest. There is a bit more with Daniel Drumm at the New York Sanctum and a scene where Strange shows he's still a doctor and makes a splint for a dog with a hurt leg. The Drumm scene would'be been nice to have in there for comic fans and the dog scene is a good character moment, but nothing in the deleted scenes would've made the movie better or worse through its inclusion… only longer.

The gag reel is exactly what you would expect, highly respected actors dancing and cursing as they mess up scenes and forget lines. A fun couple of minutes.

I saved the best for last. The audio commentary with director Scott Derrickson. This was recorded the day before the world premiere, so Derrickson had no idea how audiences would react to the film. This isn't a funny commentary and sadly he is alone so we get no one else's perspective, but that's okay. Derrickson is surprisingly frank and honest in the recording. He brings up and addresses the few controversial things that had been said about the film. He talks about his thinking with casting Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One and how it was called 'white washing'. He tries to explain his thinking on it. How he wanted to avoid the horrible stereotypes that already existed in the Doctor Strange comics for both the Ancient One and Wong. He he originally planed to leave Wong out and wanted a female in the role of the Ancient One. He looked at a few different Asian actresses but felt that the character couldn't be a young actress and with a more mature Asian actress you get into another stereotype of the Dragon Lady. The choice of Swinton was his thinking outside of the box move and he stands by it.

Derrickson also addresses the Inception comparisons to the mirror universe, saying that it is normal in film making to start with technology of one film and try to push it even further. He also points out that this is just one aspect of the strangeness of the film. He talks about how amazing it was for Marvel to postpone filming the movie to accommodate Benedict Cumberbatch because they knew he was the right actor and he acknowledged that one of the multiverses Strange passes through is indeed the microverse introduced in Ant-Man. It's not a funny commentary track, but it is very interesting to listen to.

The one thing that I wish the extras had that isn't there would be a featurette on the creation of Doctor Strange. It's mentioned and the comics are talked about, but only by the cast and crew. Comic related movies used to interview the creators of the comics over the years to talk about the early days to how the character had evolved over the years. I got to watch on like that just the other day for Swamp Thing on the Justice League Dark extras. Marvel used to do them too. On a first time character like Doctor Strange, talking to the writers, artists and editors of the comics through the years would've been nice to see.

To wrap it up, Doctor Strange is a really good movie and should be in the collection of any fans of the genre. But if the extras are the deciding factor for you, these are worth it.

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About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.
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