Thursday, November 24, 2016

Doctor Strange is the new Harry Potter

Went to see the new “Harry Potter movie” this weekend, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM.  Saw the new DOCTOR STRANGE movie last night. Turns out, the Marvel movie is more Harry Potter than FANTASTIC BEASTS, at least in terms of the main character and his relationship to the audience.

Our kids grew up with Harry Potter, both in book and movie form. In the first story, Harry stars in the mortal world and is brought into the wizarding world. From Diagon Alley and jumpy chocolate frogs and invisible cloaks, the world puts a look of awe on Harry’s face. When he’s looking over the balcony and it’s just him and Ron and the Christmas tree (I’m thinking of the movie) and Ron says they have presents under the tree and then orphaned Harry says  “I have presents, too?” it’s just all a jumble of happiness and tears and you really feel for the kid.
Steve Ditko

When Harry sees something in the wizarding world for the first, you feel his awe. He’s new there. So are we. We’re astounded. Harry is astounded. When he is scared, so are we. When he’s happy, we’re grinning. He’s our bridge character. He’s our surrogate. We see through his eyes and we are brought into the world through him.

In FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, this Newt Salamander guy already knows everything. He’s an expert in magical creatures. What’s that? Oh, just a perfectly normal graphorn in my suitcase. Everything is fine and normal for Newt Salamander. Of course, we’re introduced to a nomag/muggle baker, who is kind of our surrogate. But he ain’t the main character. We’re not identifying with him in the same way. That’s like saying the turkey wasn’t good, but gracious the yams were delightful.

Where is my excitement, Newt?

Stephen Strange is the main character in DOCTOR STRANGE. (Not Mr. Strange, beeteedubs.) When he gets to the Temple of the Ancient White One he’s flabbergasted. He’s LITERALLY knocked out of his socks. He’s brought along kinda slowly in the same way that Harry Potter was in the first Potter movie. We’re introduced to some weird stuff, then the stuff gets weirder. And, as HST used to say, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. Strange comes along and, while we’re all still in awe and wonder, we’re moving along to bigger and more nuttier events.

Newt Salamander’s movie was perfectly fine. It was fun and enjoyable and the kids dug it. But in terms of entering into a world of magic, DOCTOR STRANGE lined up more with the first Harry Potter movie.

PS: My guess is that the DOCTOR STRANGE movie is even better if you’re higher than an Allman Brother.

PPS: "Sling Ring" is a dumb name for a thing.

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