With the earliest public screenings of ‘Doctor Strange’ taking place tonight, just ahead of the film’s Friday opening, reviews have begun making it to press (including one from our very own Ben Silverio).
But not all of the critics have been as enthusiastic as Ben. Particularly displeased is Dr. Ted Baehr, critic and co-founder of the Christian Film & Television Commission. The organization, founded in 1986, is a watchdog group that evaluates movies from a conservative Christian perspective. The CFTVC issued a press release denouncing the film with the following statement:
[‘Doctor Strange’ is] a dangerous introduction to demonic occult deception… The Bible clearly warns against the kind of occult practices and sorcery the hero in this movie learns to do, in Deuteronomy 18:9-12 and Galatians 5:20. Also in the movie, the hero’s New Age, occult guru teaches there may be no afterlife, that death is truly the end, and that this is a good thing.
In other Earth-shattering news? The sky is blue and water is wet. This sort of moral panic will be familiar territory for anyone who grew up reading ‘Harry Potter’ or playing ‘Dungeons & Dragons’. Indeed, the criticisms, such as they are, are virtually identical. And in fact, it should prove especially familiar to ‘Doctor Strange’ director Scott Derrickson, who has run afoul of the CFTVC in the past, particularly with ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’ (which “only” scored a -1 on the watchdog’s acceptability scale, which runs from +4 to -4) and ‘Sinister’ (which, like ‘Doctor Strange’ clocked in at a -4 on that same scale).
The latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ‘Doctor Strange’ will land in theaters on November 4, 2016. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Check out the ScienceFiction.com review of ‘Doctor Strange’ here.