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Doctor Strange (2007) (V)
7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Jerky origins of Doctor Strange, 22 October 2012

Adaptations of comics books are often the object of debates on the truthfulness and adherence to the original panels. However I won't go into that discussion or repeat the synopsis of "Doctor Strange". Instead I'd like to talk about the animation of this film.

I believe what sets animation films apart from other visual arts is the poetic flight of fantasy they offer: the voluntary self-delusion that lines and dots can emote and convey sentiments. The illusion (self-delusion) is achieved mainly through fluid and trompe-l'oeil-like techniques that turn static drawings into kinetic characters.

When measured on that self-delusion gauge, I'm afraid "Doctor Strange" is a very inert movie. The animation is jerky, the bodies are disjointed. The characters are all angular(even Wong's face is all corners and angles). Is this to compensate for the bluntness of the script?

Why "Doctor Strange" so often appears on personal recommendation lists is a puzzle to me. Perhaps those people are engrossed with the "stop-motion" rendition of their favourite comics. The fact remains that Marvel Studios seem to have lost their ability to make animated movies. I for one am sad about this and eagerly await the day Marvel produces a "Spirited Away".

PS: If you're looking for a more fluidly animated comic, have a look at "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1"

"Homeland" (2011)
56 out of 110 people found the following review useful:
Over-hyped and overstretched, 28 September 2012

Note: This is a very personal review based on a week-long viewing of whole series 1 of "Homeland".

As depicted in the series, the CIA is incapable of making correct (logical) deductions from the information they collect. Politicians see war as campaign tactics. Soldiers are either killing machines or gormless pawns. Depending on your dominant hemisphere, "Homeland" is either the most vivid and topical description of America at war or the least captivating series about the American war machine ever made.

The characters are all against fiction. By that I mean, they all lack the probable yarn that makes the audience want to spend 44 minutes with them. I won't even mention the caricature of Middle Easterners who are either sex-addict oil-princes or omnipotent brainwashing terrorists! This is of course if you view the story of a POW Marine turned terrorist as a poor depiction of American war (paranoid) machine.

However, if you view this as a study of America at war (with all its implications), then the characters are not only credible: they are flesh-and-bone bores just like you and I. The CIA's inefficiency in the show becomes a plausible reflection of the the intelligence services' shortcomings. The politicians are no longer ambitious liars but mirrors of all candidates to a public office. The series asks the audience to choose between those two conflicting views.

And I, for one, think that is the real raison d'etre of this over-hyped show. Hence the low score. It's not a series, it's a conceptual juggle.