Doctor Strange Home Video Release
Studio: Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Marvel Animation
Release Date: August 14th, 2007
DVD and Blu-ray Special Features:
•“Best of Marvel Video Game Cinematics”
•“Who is Doctor Strange?” featurette
•Doctor Strange Concept Art
•First Look at Avengers Reborn feature
Doctor Strange DVD Review
By James Harvey
Doctor Strange is being released both in Standard DVD and Blu-Ray, both with a small collection of extra and a quality feature presentation. Released through Lionsgate in the US and Maple Pictures in Canada, this DVD belongs in the collection of any comic fan (specifically those Marvel Zombies).
Once you get past the trailers that kick off the disc (why the hell is there a trailer for Delta Farce?), we’re greeted with some very, very nice menu screens. Slick and easy to maneuver, and not complicated in the slightest. Probably the nicest menus for an Animated Marvel DTV yet.
The audio and video presentation looks to be a few shades above The Invincible Iron Man, the last Animated Marvel DTV. The audio and video transfer appear pretty solid. Whether it’s an action scene or a quiet one, the audio is sharp and clear. What’s solid about these DVDs is the attention paid to the sound mixing. Every little detail is thought of, whether it’s the rustling of leaves or the crumbling of a building, the sound is thorough and clear. The video is just as solid, with little to no artifacting or shimmering.
Sadly, I have to say, the DVD extras are a bit of a letdown. So, let’s go through them one by one (no worries, I’ll make this as painless as possible).
First up is the “Best of Marvel Video Game Cinematics,” which is exactly what it sounds like. Cinematics, which are basically cut scenes between levels in a video game, from Marvel Ultimate Alliance and X-Men Legends II are presented here. I will say that, well, they are pretty cool. However, I don’t play video games and I couldn’t really care about these, so it seems like just filler to me. And pointless, too. Yes, the animation is pretty excellent and they do look cool, but since they’re just taken out of context from the game, they seem . . . so useless being here.
Next up is the best extra on the disc, the “Who Is Doctor Strange” featurette. The featurette looks at the comic book origins of Doctor Strange, and why he was picked to headline his own movie. Interviews from a host of artists and writers, both from the comics and the cartoon, are presented. Stan Lee, of course, appears, but he’s so restrained here. He’s not bouncing off the walls, but is actually a bit calm and collected. It’s a nice change, and he actually provides some insight on why he chose names for a few of the characters. It’s a pretty nice featurette which, personally, I would kill if it was longer. I love these types of extras, and I think they could have easily milked a 30 – 60 minutes featurette instead of one lasting barely 15 minutes.
After that is the “Doctor Strange Concept Art,” a two-minute montage of artwork, storyboards, and character designs from the movie. A great little extra, but, of course, too short. I love this stuff, and would like to see a lot more in future DVDs.
The most controversial extra on this set is the “First Look at Avengers Reborn” featurette, a preview of the next movie. It’s a five minute sizzle reel, basically, giving us a look at designs, concept art, and a basic idea of what the plot will be for the next Animated Marvel DTV. Personally, it sounds like a cool idea and should work. While it skews younger, I find that nothing to be worried about. Many other movies have skewed younger, such as Batman Beyond, and look how great those turned out. Plus, I don’t mind. The creative team want to draw in more viewers, and this seems like a great idea for it. It’s an idea that can easily crash and burn, but it looks like this could be a solid effort. And besides, it looks to feature a goateed Hulk and the recently “Female Ultron” busting heads in The Mighty Avengers! How cool is that?
Finally, we have a trailer gallery featuring trailers for the previous Animated Marvel DTVs and a few other Lionsgate features. Nothing too exciting, but it’s nice to have all the trailers for the Animated Marvel Movies (I’m a bit of a trailer nut)
Overall, it’s a nice selection of extras, but I wish they’d add more content on these releases. There’s plenty of material that can surely be slapped on. Personally, I’d also like to see a commentary track bless one of these releases soon. I’m sure there’s a lot that be discussed concerning the creative process of the movie. While the “Cinematics” extra is sort of useless, the rest is worth checking out. Since the extras only add up to about 25 – 40 minutes in total, it won’t take long to go through them. The disc itself looks nice, with a solid menu and a great presentation. Of course, the main attraction is the feature itself, and you should base your purchase on that, with the extra features a nice bonus for the fans. I just wish there was more, though.