Sunday, October 30, 2016

Marvel's Doctor Strange Reviews: A Diagnosis of the Mystical Marvel Universe


Doctor Strange is now altering realities at Malaysian cinemas nationwide, introducing magic and mysticism to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We present here two reviews from our contributors offering their take on Doctor Strange as a fan and non-fan in Bahasa Malaysia and English.

Pelik Tapi Tak Ajaib
by Ezli Qamari

Intro:
Adakah Marvel mengambil tindakan wajar mengeluarkan filem Doctor Strange dalam fasa ketiga MCU serta memberi masa mencukupi untuk peminat menerima hero mistikal baru ini dibawah teraju pengarah kurang berpengalaman?

Sinopsis:
Berikutan kemalangan kereta yang dahsyat yang melumpuhkan kedua-dua tangannya, kerjaya pakar bedah otak yang Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) hancur dan segala wangnya habis kerana mencuba setiap perubatan eksperimen untuk menyembuh tangannya. Apabila semua perubatan Barat gagal, dia pergi mencari lokasi Kamar-Taj di Kathmandu, Nepal yang pernah memulihkan seorang mangsa lumpuh. Dia bertemu Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) dan gurunya Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), yang mengajar Strange seni sihir dan mistik. Kemunculan penjahat Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) membawa ancaman terhadap Kamar-Taj dan juga keselamatan bumi.



Ulasan: 
Penataan seni DOCTOR STRANGE adalah elemen terbaik yang pernah dilihat berbanding filem Marvel yang lain kerana tidak berharap pada letupan dan kemusnahan semata-mata. Pada awal, visualnya berjaya memberi homage pada seni psychedelic 60’an ciptaan Steve Ditko yang penuh warna warni. Kemudian, meminjam konsep dari filem INCEPTION oleh Christopher Nolan, bandar New York berubah menjadi medan perang kaleidoscope putaran konkrit dan besi yang mengagumkan!

Benedict Cumberbatch adalah pilihan tepat menjadi Stephen Strange, dia berkata near-death experience menjejaki tanah tinggi Tibet pada umur 19 tahun membantu dia hayati watak Strange. Bermula dengan keangkuhan yang kita sering lihat dalam siri tv SHERLOCK kemudian jalani proses perubahan selepas kemalangan kemudian menjadi seorang pelajar yang dahagakan ilmu tetapi pandai berjenaka.



Penonton juga dapat melupakan isu ‘whitewashing’ yang memutihkan Ancient One dengan alasan penonton China benci Tibet dan menghitamkan Karl Mordo yang dalam komik berasal dari Transylvania. Lakonan Tilda Swinton dan Chiwetel Ejiofor adalah kekuatan utama dalam pemilihan pelakon filem ini hinggakan karisma Swinton kadang-kadang lebih hebat dari Cumberbatch.

Pengarah Scott Derrickson yang tenggelam timbul dengan seleksi filem-filem seram sebelum ini boleh mendapat pujian kerana membawa sedikit kelainan kepada Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) akan tetapi tidak terlepas mengikut acuan selamat dalam plot origin story Marvel yang lebih kurang sama dengan tragedi yang menimpa Tony Stark sebelum menjadi Iron Man.

Soundtrack filem ini yang sepatutnya lebih bersifat mistikal berubah menjadi filem fiksyen sains kerana komposer Michael Giacchino terikut-ikut dengan runut bunyi filem STAR TREK sehingga penonton tertunggu-tunggu jika Cumberbatch akan mengaku dirinya Khan.



*Amaran Spoiler* 
Walaupun mempunyai 3 orang penulis, filem ini punyai beberapa kelemahan kecil. Sama seperti beberapa filem Marvel yang lain, penulisan watak penjahatnya agak lemah. Mads Mikkelsen berjaya membawa karakter Kaecilius dengan baik tapi elemen pendorong kejahatannya tidak cukup kuat dan jelas sama seperti Darren Cross (ANT-MAN) dan Aldrich Killian (IRON MAN 3). Babak klimaks juga boleh dibaca penonton yang meminati filem atau novel science fiction/fantasi kerana plot memutarkan waktu boleh dibaca beberapa kilometer jauhnya. Kita perlu berterima kasih pada penulis Jon Spaihts kerana sifat ketidaktentuan ini dapat dilihat dalam filem awalnya seperti PROMETHEUS & THE DARKEST HOUR yang mahu pengakhiran yang grand tapi gagal melaksanakannya dengan baik. Contoh paling jelas: ancaman Dormammu tidak ubah seperti penjahat kualiti kepulan asap Parallax (GREEN LANTERN) dan Galactus (FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER).
*Penutup Spoiler* 

DOCTOR STRANGE terperangkap dalam acuan origin story superhero yang sering diulang pakai sebelumnya tetapi masih berjaya memberi kepuasan melalui visual menarik, aksi menghiburkan dan lakonan memukau Benedict Cumberbatch. 

The cast and team of Marvel's Doctor Strange at the Hollywood Movie Premiere.

Fanboy Geekgasm! We can watch this over and over again.


The Good Doctor Comes to Town
by Michelle Chee

Well, first off, I have to admit that I’m not a Marvel fan, but I AM a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch. The little I know of the Marvel universe is gleaned from the several movies I’ve watched before, like The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool (which I didn’t get to finish because I watched it on a flight and then we had to land, sigh). Anyway back to Doctor Strange. I actually went in to the cinema not expecting much, and found that it was a pleasant experience overall.

There are some really big names in this movie, legendary even. I mean I’ll always remember Tilda Swinton as the white witch in the Chronicles of Narnia, and Chiwetel Eijofor for 12 Years a Slave. As such, I wasn’t disappointed by their performance, but I did wish that their characters were allowed more depth and layers. As it were, they seemed to only be there to prop up certain bits of the story.

Get trippy on the Astral Plane and many more realities.

Mr Bendyflick Cucumberpatch’s performance was on point, as I was glad he got so many punchlines, which I feel he delivered with comic precision. Plus his namesake co-star Benedict Wong (oh, hello Kublai Khan! - Netflix Marco Polo series) had great comic chemistry with him, staying stoic through all his jabs. Even the mystical Cloak of Levitation had humorous sequences to its name.

As someone who doesn’t follow the comic books however, I felt some parts of the storyline a little hard to follow, and many of the mystic concepts had me asking more questions. For example, why is the power drawn from the dark dimension stronger than those drawn from other dimensions?

Nevertheless, the story has a good flow, with very impressive special effects. The action sequences are stunning, and it all builds up to a climax at a pace that was quite alright for me, although a bit fast in some parts, like the period when Strange went into recovery after his accident. I loved the fact that Dr Strange melded both mystic arts and modern medicine at certain points in the movie, and coming from a life-science background, I found that fun and insightful at the same time.

Concept art for the movie on how magic will be seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In essence, it was a good superhero beginnings movie, in order to introduce this character to non-fans and the wider audience. The feel of the movie is distinctly different than many other Marvel character introductions. I feel this one has a slightly heavier concept involved, with both mysticism and philosophy thrown in. Also, as a post note, I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes they filmed of Kamar Taj in Nepal as I’ve been to Kathmandu myself. The cinematography was really well done, and captures the spiritual mysteriousness of the place so well.

In Malaysia cinemas NOW nationwide.

Disclaimer: Doctor Strange and other trademarks are copyright to Marvel Entertainment and/or Disney, referenced here for fan service announcements without intent to infringe.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Let Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme Open Your Mind!

by contributing writer Nicholas Lai.

Something Strange is in the neighborhood.

It is about that time of the year again when comic book publisher and now superhero-movie giant Marvel Studios is on the brink of releasing the up-and-coming Doctor Strange, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character. Benedict Cumberbatch of BBC Sherlock fame is also previously known for his roles as Khan (Star Trek Into Darkness, 2013) and as genius historical mathematician Alan Turing (iThe Imitation Game, 2014), and by now it should come as no surprise that he fits well into the shoes of a broken neurosurgeon on the path to redemption, and then mystical prowess and supremacy in this Marvel feature.

Wormholes, magic, sorcery, multiple realities, oh my!

Check the vid above for Benedict's thoughts on joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the first time.

Delving into the lore of the Marvel Universe, Dr. Stephen Vincent Strange is a brilliant neurosurgeon, with an ego to match, until the day a car accident rendered his hands broken and unable to perform anymore surgery. This event prompted Dr. Strange to go on a trek across the globe for a way to regain his abilities, then coming across the Ancient One and subsequently becoming a student in the mystic arts. This serves as the opening premise by which the feature will begin on without spoiling much of the surprise leading up to the Doctor's development as the Sorceror Supreme.

Classic. It's also being re-released on DVD, Nov. 1, 2016.

In a throwback to 1978, a TV movie produced by a joint effort between CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) and Marvel was released under the unassuming name of Dr. Strange which was loosely-based on the original character. At the time, CBS ran other Marvel features like Spider-man and The Hulk as a series, and Dr. Strange was left as a one-shot of sorts. This added to the mystery as to who the good Doctor was at the time, as his impact on the mainstream media was more subdued compared to his popular counterparts like Captain America and the Avengers.


Fast forward to 2016, and it's already looking like Inception....


Today, Doctor Strange is brought back with new life, and it appears to harken influences like that of Inception (2010) in the imagery brought on by the trailers with multiple realities diverging in a surreal montage, and visions of falling into the sky and tearing open the many landscapes a new one. Taking a cue from a spoken line in the trailers, the Avengers protect the world from physical harm, while those who bear Strange's abilities deal with the more mystical threats the Avengers would not know of. Following the 15-minute preview that took place on the 12th of October, 2016 at TGV Cinemas, it appears that the film would not disappoint.

Dr. Strange 15-min Exclusive IMAX Preview Night, Oct. 12, 2016.
The boys in their Strange outfits. ;D
Photo credit: TGV Cinemas.
Other worldly planes of existence are mind-blowing in IMAX 3D.
The Doctors are IN!
Casting our spells together to call forth power of the Vishanti!

Make mine Marvel. #cosplay


Doctor Strange is a movie made for #Maybank #IMAX. Watch it in #TGVCinemas next week!
Posted by TGVCinemas on Sunday, 16 October 2016


Nothing raises the bar higher than having a star-studded cast, so drumroll, please!

Benedict Cumberbatch is Dr. Stephen Strange.
Rachel McAdams is Christine Palmer. 

Chiwetel Ejiofor is Mordo, apparently not Dr. Strange's nemesis... yet.

Tilda Swinton is The Ancient One.

Benedict Wong is Wong... just Wong, like Dell.

Mads Mikkelsen is evil sorcerer Kaecilius.
The Outpost Movie Recon Team (M.R.T.) has scouted out some fanboy experiences in Malaysia  and maybe found where to net Doctor Strange goodies: an Eye of Agamotto (powers not included), anyone?

First, meet Doctor Strange himself at Sunway Pyramid as he gently floats by his Cloak of Levitation and casts his spell with mystic runes encircling his hands.

Doctor Strange greets shoppers at near the main entrance of Sunway Pyramid shopping centre.
Photo credit: Anjerasu

By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggath, we wonder what spell is he casting? 

For cosplayers of the Sorcerer Supreme, excellent costume references here.
This mystic mirror allows one to warp reality or open portals to other realms, which resemble Hong Kong.

Over at Golden Screen Cinemas, step into shifting realities but remember to make your way back! Exclusively at GSC Pavilion KL, Paradigm Mall and Ipoh Parade.

Get creative with this world-bending environment! Are you falling up? Or lying down?
Photo: GSC Facebook.


GSC is also giving away the Eye of Agamotto to 10 lucky GSC members. Starting today until Sunday 23 October, the first 20 customers to purchase 10 tickets through the GSC website or mobile App will net win an Eye of Agamotto prop.  Cumulative purchases are allowed, so take your whole gang along for a movie outing and you may well win this priceless artifact! Terms and condition at the GSC website.

Grab this Time Gem before Thanos completes his Infinity Gauntlet! Ops, SPOILER!
KLIPS is giving away invites to the Premiere Screening of Doctor Strange at GSC 1 Utama on 26 October 2016. Stand a chance to win by sharing their movie posts and submit links through an online form by 24 October. They also have Doctor Strange movie premiums to give away through similar mechanics submitted by 28 October. There are caps, backpack, hoodies, button badges and more.

Those badges look Strangely nice. 


Meanwhile Fox Premium Movies is also giving out similar movie Premiums plus the Eye of Agamotto through simple contest on their Facebook Page here until 6 November.


For mass market toys, Hasbro has included movie characters into their Marvel Legends 6in scale action figures in the Masters of Magic set. Doctor Strange together with Karl Mordo comes with parts to form arch-villain Dormammu if you purchase the other 6 figures of the sets.


  


For cutesy toys, Funko POP! will be unleashing a number of their highly collectible bobble-heads. Find out more about Funko's line up from movieweb.com and stay tuned Sheldonet Toy Store bringing them to our local shores.




Fans of LEGO will be delighted to build Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum. Minifigs include Dr. Strange, Mordo and The Ancient One battling a mystical menace barging in on the good doctor's home. This LEGO set is also priced at a more affordable RM149.90 and available at most major toy stores.



For high-end, i.e. expensive, collectibles, Hot Toys will be releasing that 1:6 scale Doctor Strange next year. Pre-orders have already opened from local retailers like ShiokToys Collectibles at an indicative price of RM868. Check out more photos on Hot Toys Facebook Photo Album.

Fangirls of Benedict Cumberbatch will certainly want to take this home!

On a sidenote, I personally cannot wait for Doctor Strange to meet Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr. in the near future as they have both played Sherlock Holmes in their respective films and series prior to being included into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Sherlock Holmes(es). 

The Doctor's prescription: watch the movie, and proceed to be spellbound.
Marvel's Doctor Strange opens in Malaysian cinemas on 27 October 2016.

And remember to stay to the end of the credits and look-out for that Stan Lee cameo!


Disclaimer: Doctor Strange and other trademarks are copyright to Marvel Entertainment and/or Disney, referenced here for fan service announcements without intent to infringe.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Celebrate Outpost 10th Anniversary with a Magical Halloween




It's been 10 years since we first opened our doors as the MySciFiFan Outpost cafe to celebrate Halloween with movie fans, cosplayers and hobbyists. For over 3 years in e@Curve (formerly Cineleisure), the cafe hosted fan gatherings, birthday parties, product launches and some makan. Whilst the cafe has since been long closed, it tickles us when a stranger recalls the place with fond memories of the cool stuff we had. It's nice to know we left a mark with fellow geeks.

Please come celebrate our 10th Anniversary this Halloween  as we gather back old friends and connect with new ones.

Date:       Saturday, 29 October 2016
Time: 7pm until 11pm
Venue: The Shire Cafe
9-1 (1st floor), Jalan Radin Bagus 6, Bandar Baru Sri Petaling, 57000 Kuala Lumpur
Google Maps, https://goo.gl/maps/bJ4sgRFeJ6s

Our Halloween theme this year is "Strange Magical Tales" welcoming all manner of wizards, sorcerers, fairies and fantastic beasts.

Highlights:
  1. Buffet Dinner
  2. Trivia Quiz
  3. Costume Competition
  4. Lucky Draw

All costumers are invited to join the Costume Competition for chance to be crowned our Sorcerer Supreme and win a mystical artifact. Plus lots of collectibles and cool stuff to be won all night!

Whilst prices have gone up for everything in the last 10 years, our magical spell will pluck back from the past our ticket price for the first Halloween Party at MySciFiFan Outpost. For the first 20 guests only, party tickets are prices at only RM35/- for payments made by Friday 21 October 2016. Thereafter we can no longer reverse time (unless we find the Time Gem) and have to charge today's price of RM45/-.

We kid you not here's poster for our 1st Halloween party at the MySciFiFan Outpost Cafe priced at RM35/- in 2006.

For reservations, kindly e-mail services@outpost.com.my the names of each guest and your contact email & mobile tel. Payment instructions will then be provided.

Excelsior!

Here's a blast from the past from our first few years at e@Curve (formerly known as Cineleisure Damansara):

Costumers at our first Halloween Party in 2006.

Our official opening of the cafe in March 2007









Thematic birthday parties.

Costuming and cosplay days.

Special events.

Tabletop gaming sessions.

Scaled modelling workshops by SFTPMS.
Outpost Cafe version 2 with  more makan and movie themed decor.

Outpost Toys in Cathay Cineplex.

More merchandise at dedicated retail shop.
Sadly, we have ceased all retails operations from Outpost Cafe and Outpost Toys between 2010 to 2011. Please do not look for the shops today!