Defending Dr. Strange

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Why get Johnny Depp when you can get this guy for $5 and a half a bag of chips?

The buzz has roared and subsided, it seems, over the rumor that Walt Disney Pictures was in talks with Johnny Depp to take the lead role in the upcoming Dr. Strange movie. At this point, the online chatter seems to suggest that the rumor was unfounded, if not an outright hoax. (What? We can't trust exclusives from Latino-Review.com? What's the world coming to?) But as we listened to the office chatter this morning, we heard more than a few unkind remarks about Dr. Strange and thought the sorcerer needed a little defending.

Snappy online humor shows why TV's Dr. Strange didn't catch on.

First of all, Dr. Strange has never really had a successful translation to the screen. The late 1970s TV adaptation left much to be desired, especially to contemporary eyes attuned to CGI graphics and high definition. The show looks more like they mixed Dr. Strange with Dr. Who and created a kind of Dr. What? Dr. Strange would not be taken seriously for another generation.

At least the 1970s TV version of Dr. Strange was somewhat better than the 1970s TV version of Captain America.

And there are problems with the character. How do you fit him in with other heroes for a Defenders franchise? He's a sort of arcane Aquaman, isn't he? And how do you mix magic and science? Say you have Mr. Fantastic training an ion ray on a bad guy who's holding an anti-matter packet and the ray has to hit the anti-matter just right to create a cosmic rift, trapping the baddie in the 10th dimension. Meanwhile, Dr. Strange comes up, reads some musty scroll, and the bad guy is off to the 12th dimension, and not flying coach either?

Cabalistic killjoy: When your hero can basically do anything, where's the drama in that?

However it comes out, we hope that the studio heads and the writers put together a Dr. Strange that reinvigorates the character. Would it kill them to get Doc Hammer involved? A few years ago, the Venture Bros co-creator said his "dream gig would be to write a Doctor Strange movie, and said he was offended when he wasn’t contacted by Marvel to help write the screenplay making the rounds." Hammer went on to say, "I’ve got notebooks and notebooks of stuff on Doctor Strange. ... I’ve been making that pitch since I was 8 years old. I can walk into a room and go, ‘Are you ready for the greatest Doctor Strange movie ever made?’ ... You could have watched it seven times and every single time it would of been a different movie.”

Too late to give him a shot, Disney?

Why not get Doc Hammer to direct the film?

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