A great movie can always get my soul to turn. Sounds dramatic I know but we are talking about the movies here. I am not someone that likes to just pick a movie & start randomly watching it. If I’m going to sit down for 2+ hours I want to be either entertained or enlightened – about anything new really. I love to learn. On a 16 hour flight from Hong Kong to New York I had nothing but time. I saw the title “Doctor Strange” & I recognized it from Marvel comics. Although I steer away from action movies (not my favourite genre) I love movies based on super hero/heroine comics but that’s not what caught me. The synopsis intrigued me so I watched it. spoiler alert (if you haven’t seen it yet & are interested, please stop here)
The movie is based on Dr. Stephen Strange – a brilliant, acclaimed but arrogant narcissistic neurosurgeon that works at a hospital alongside his colleague Christine (a woman who is in love with him with whom he had a brief relationship) & chooses who he wants to operate on based on how challenging or rewarding the outcome would be. He lives in a gorgeous penthouse, drives the finest car & has the most luxurious items. While driving to a function on a very narrow road at a height, he receives a call from a colleague giving him details about patients that need him & he picks & chooses. While looking down at his phone for a brief second, his car crashes & flies over the road (Karma I thought instantly). He is rushed to hospital & operated on for 11 hours. When he wakes up he see metal pins inserted into his hands which all severely nerve damaged & may not ever heal. Christine tells him the extent of the damage to his body. Even in the wake of this tragedy he blames the doctors for doing a poor job putting him back together & says he would have done a better job. His arrogance doesn’t subside.
At this point I was very intrigued. He spends every cent he has to get the best doctors to try to heal his hands faster. They are damaged & trembling all the time & without his hands he says his life won’t have meaning because he can’t work. He attributes meaning to life based on him helping others & even though helping others is a good thing, the way he goes about it is so wrong. He sees himself as a neuro-Messiah. He also looks into experimental procedures by other world renowned doctors, all of whom say they won’t or can’t help him. Christine is by his side all the time trying to help him cope. When he loses hope, he gets angry & asks Christine to leave him. While undergoing therapy he is told about a paraplegic who healed & walks even though he was paralyzed. Strange seeks him out & finds out the man was a patient who had come to Doctor Strange but he wouldn’t see him. Despite that, the man tells Doctor Strange he needs to visit Kathmandu in Nepal to a place called Kamar-Taj. Doctor Strange journeys there. I always get excited when I see any movie based in, shot around or has anything to do with India. Nepal lies on the border of India & China & the people who live there are very much mixed with both races. You will see someone who appears to be Chinese but will speak Hindi. Both Hinduism & Buddhism is practiced there. Its amazing!
This is part of the movie that bound me. Doctor Strange meets a man (Mordo) who saved him from getting robbed & beaten up in an alley in Kathmandu & the man leads him to the person Strange came to seek – The Ancient One – & much to Strange’s surprise, a woman. She speaks of mind healing body, reorienting one’s spirit to change their perspectives. She teaches people how to tap into powers they never knew existed- with magic. She teaches of realms that are invisible but ever-present & how to enter them with the mind. There is a lot of studying involved & Doctor Strange excels. He is taught to ascend from his body, and while he sleeps his astral body studies. He even learns how to manipulate time. He reverses it & fast forwards. The rest of the movie consists of The Ancient one & her trained students practicing spells & magic to conjure weapons to protect the earth from the dark magic & a master that dwells in another realm & wants to take over earth with his army. One of the Dark masters leaders is a former student (Kaecilius) of The Ancient One who went astray to serve the Dark master. The Dark master promises eternal life & Kaecilius craves this. Doctor Strange finds himself in a position where he is fighting for his life, conjuring weapons & alongside Mordo fighting against the dark army to safeguard earth from its attacks.
The movie took a different turn than I thought it would. But I enjoyed it nonetheless. I wasn’t expecting the battle at the end between good & evil but during that battle The Ancient One is struck by her former student’s weapon & falls off a building she is rushed to the hospital by Doctor Strange. As he gets Christine to try to save her life, The Ancient One’s astral body ascends from her body & Doctor Strange does the same & follows her to tell her to return to her body so that she will survive. On a balcony of the hospital, they have an exchange before she dies.
There are some noteworthy lines that made this movie stay with me. The teachings of The Ancient One throughout the movie. Some I paraphrase, some are so good I have to keep the dialogue as is:
- In order to control something we needs to let go & surrender. The more we hold onto something the less control we have over it. We have to give in.
- Not everything does or has to make sense.
- To Mordo: “We never lose our demons Mordo. We only learn to live above them”
- To Doctor Strange when he first arrives at Kamar-Taj: “You’re a man looking at the world through a keyhole. You’ve spent your life trying to widen it. Your work saved the lives of thousands. What if I told you that reality is one of many?”
- To Doctor Strange before she dies: “Death is what gives life meaning. To know your days are numbered. Your time is short.”
- Arrogance & fear keeps us from learning the most simple lesson in life which is – It’s not about us.
I would watch this movie again. It reinforced what I’ve been studying for years. That the world is filled with untapped powers, magic & we have the power to shape our realities. Our minds can be changed & in turn our perspectives. Perspective is transformative. Surrendering to our problems, accepting them & then looking at them with new eyes can change our lives. Doctor Strange had a choice at the end of the movie. To return to his former life, hands healed & continue on that path or to stay & protect the earth from the Dark Master for the greater good. This is our lives everyday. To chose to be safe, fearing something different than what we know & focus on regular everyday life or to take a risk, break the rules & serve a higher power & greater good. Which one do you chose everyday?
Love & Light x