Critics and fans alike have praised the extraordinarily trippy visuals put to use in Marvel’s latest big screen blockbuster, “Doctor Strange.” With a titular hero that’s also a master of the mystic arts, the film introduces viewers to a whole new side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It accomplishes this early on in a scene between Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) wherein the centuries-old master spellcaster sends the arrogant surgeon on an inner journey outwards through the multiverse and astral plane.
That scene, which ventures well beyond what anyone has seen in any previous Marvel movie (or superhero movie, for that matter), was the subject of conversation between Cinema Blend and visual effects supervisor Stephane Ceretti. The sequence, which director Scott Derrickson dubbed the “Magical Mystery Tour” after the Beatles’ adventurous animated feature and accompanying album, that unfolded in the theatrical cut was just over two minutes long. Ceretti revealed that the bit was originally a full seven minutes long.
“The Magical Mystery Tour was a bunch of lines of The Ancient One telling Strange that the world that he knows is just a little piece of the world that really exists,” said Ceretti. “So we tried to tie visuals to all these beats… there were tons of other things that didn’t make it in the script, with relationships with his past. The Magical Mystery Tour was seven minutes long!”
Ceretti said that the scene had to be cut down because it was just “too much” and the length of the trippy sequence hurt the film’s flow. The VFX supervisor then tried to explain what else would have popped up in the sequence, although that proved difficult. “You can’t describe it with words. And that’s been the problem all along — there was no way to write it in the script. It was a visual script that we did. I put together a reel, and then we put it together with concept art, the pre-vis guys put it together with concepts I’d taken, and made a story out of it. The editor came into the process early — before we started to shoot. That doesn’t happen so much. We started to edit the Magical Mystery Tour before the other sequences of the film. So we had the editor editing the film before we shot it!”
Ceretti confirmed that they did indeed shoot all the footage necessary to create the full-length “Magical Mystery Tour.” There’s always the possibility that the full sequence will be completed in time for “Doctor Strange’s” Blu-ray release. We can only hope!
“Doctor Strange” stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton.
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