As we heard last week, the Dr. Strange feature film was inching its way toward production as Marvel shuttles its B-list heroes to the multiplex.
But many moviegoers are unaware that the good Doctor had already received a perfectly existing movie treatment 33 years ago, co-starring Jessica Walters of Arrested Development fame.
With Hollywood roaringly drunk on superhero reboots, is Dr. Strange due for a rejiggering? By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, no! This is the rare case of a superhero movie they got right the first go, crystallized eternally in the latticework of its own aesthetic perfection. Let's consider the evidence.
In Dr. Strange, Peter Wooten plays New York doctor Stephen Strange, who is recruited to become the next Sorcerer Supreme because of some arbitrary mystical prophecy gobbledygook. But I'm not going to spoil it for you — I'll let the film speak, nay sing, for itself.
Here is the entire 1978 film with Portuguese subtitles (so no excuses, São Paulo readers). Please devote the next 93 minutes soaking in the reason movies are made for television.
Sure, the first 80 minutes may crawl along much slower than your average superhero film, but that's just so the screenwriters can dazzle you with an orgy of magic (and the credits!) in the last 13. Film school calls that "building tension."
You finished? Man, wasn't that a treat? Wasn't it great when Morgan Le Fay (Jessica Walters) followed Clea (the actress who wasn't Jessica Walters) for maybe 30 tense minutes?
Didn't the soundtrack sound like John Carpenter improvising on a keyboard...with his butt? Call me crazy, but I don't think John Carpenter is good enough to play the keyboard with his butt!
Don't you love the shadowy atmosphere conveyed by filming 65% in the dark? Why, it felt like I had taken a field trip to the Darkforce Dimension! It's like I was watching The Blair Wizard Project!
And that magic! Boy howdy! Wasn't it just plum jazzy when everyone's hands kept lighting up like an Icy Hot commercial?
Kids don't need the Eye of Agamotto — just Jessica Walter's omnipresent décolletage staring back at them every other scene. You know she's evil because she dresses like a flapper!
But not Dr. Strange! You know he's on the side of angels because he stole his outfit from the cast of Godspell. All the cool kids like Xanadu anyway. Dr. Strange is totally reappropriating Godspell for the cool kids.
Also, Dr. Strange talks like one of those hip doctors from St. Elsewhere. His idea of bedside manner is rapping with patients, advising them with such sage snippets as "Your ulcers will go away if you let off the juice."
You hear that? Juice! Later he refers to alcohol as "sauce!" Kids love euphemisms. And mustaches! How do you think Magnum P.I. stayed on the air so long?
Do you know what kids love more than soup strainers? Acid rock!
And luckily for the kids, the astral plane looks exactly like the interior of Deep Purple's head.
In sum, we don's need a new Dr. Strange movie. The previous one had a special effects budget that could be measured in grams and was fueled by the audience's imagination. When Gangy's head turns into a rotting cantaloupe monster, you believed it because the crew did.
A little verisimilitude goes a long way, and Dr. Strange had that in scads. Hey Marvel, nobody wants Finnegans Wake rewritten. Don't disrespect Dr. Strange the same way!