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It's drama, with a Sci-Fi backdrop
If you want to see some great Sci-Fi about a linguist and a scientist attempting to communicate with aliens...that movie hasn't been made yet.
***spoilers begin here***
This movie is simply about a woman who learns that her future daughter will die early of cancer as a teen. Even knowing this, she chooses to have her daughter anyway. The times they shared together were worth the pain and loss yet to come.
The backdrop of aliens, language, science and time are simply a set up for allowing the woman to see the future. Nothing more.
If the movie were to be rated as a Sci-Fi film it would receive poor ratings - as evidenced by reviews saying as much. This point is where the marketers of the movie missed the mark.
There are a few Science Fiction elements and some moments that are interesting in that aspect, but the science of the movie is too...fictional. The actions of the world-wide scientists and leaders is not believable and the role of Renner as a scientist is underutilized (dare say...not utilized at all). The linguistic methods of deciphering the language are glossed over and the science behind the methods not even mentioned.
But again, this isn't really Sci-Fi. Were the movie in a different setting away from Aliens Arriving on Earth, there would be fewer criticisms.
Reviewing the movie as a drama about the decisions of a future mother-to-be gives a better representation of the film's content.
In that aspect, it is a difficult, heart-wrenching drama that makes the viewer question the judgment of the character since she knew what the outcome would be.
Was the daughter being born a requirement for the future to work out correctly 3000 years from then? The movies suggests not.
Then was Adam's character self-serving to have the child even though the child would die an early death through disease?
Would the child prefer to have lived even knowing her own future?
Renner's character leaves the family when he finds out Adams knew the daughter would die. He tells her that "She made the wrong decision."
It's up to the viewer to choose what is right.
Doctor Strange (2016)
Slow start, overly long dialogue sequences and CG overkill
To date, I will say this is the first real miss in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I rate the movie a 6.5. Some movies will get rounded down from 6.5 to a 6 when I have to rate it on IMDb, other's get rounded up. Doctor Strange get's the benefit of the round up. It wasn't bad, but it does have some substantial flaws. Some of the flaws are in the story, but this review won't go over those.
Initially I was put off a bit by Benedict Cumberbatch's generic American accent. He did a fine job, it was just a bit distracting. I don't know if comic book fans would have cared about a transplanted Englishman in America being Doctor Strange or not, but having the quintessential English actor work his mouth around Americanized English kept pulling me out of the story. It was as if this thought kept occurring: "He sounds really American right now. But he isn't."
The good doctor's background is slow to develop. We spend a bit too long finding out how great a neurosurgeon he is and how awesome his own intellect is and how shallow he is and how obsessed he is with his own health. Iron Man did it better and kept the story moving at a good pace.
There were also long sections of expositional dialogue that could have been shortened. During these long sequences in the theater I would find myself no longer engaged and wishing for the FFWD button on the remote.
The CG effects were a 3D animator's dream and a movie watcher's nightmare. Realizing the comic was based on the interest in mysticism and drug use one has to expect some *interesting* sequences.
This movie put too much emphasis on the psychedelic "kaleidoscope" effect, especially considering the movie only mentions drugs in passing. As seen in movie previews we get hand-to-hand combat in the middle of the kaleidoscoping city, hand-to-hand again in a kaleidoscoping "arena", kaleidoscoping again when Kaecilius learns his new power and so on.
It was almost dizzying at first, in an awesome, visually arresting way. The viewer feels pulled into this tunnel of never ending movement and we search for some sense of "correctness". The characters both struggle and triumph in the ever changing landscape.
Other "trippy" sequences are also injected where they weren't needed with Doctor Strange falling through a dreamlike series of CG animated colors and kaleidoscoping shapes.
As the movie progresses and these effects are constantly being used, and used to excessive length, it becomes visual overkill. It is another distraction that keeps the viewer from being fully engaged.
I left the theater thinking the movie was just "ok". It did not live up to my hopes and Marvel expectations.