Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thor: A Hard Look At

Everyone shoule be pretty much aware by now of the newest comic-book-superhero-to-film-superhero film "Thor" that is currently gracing our cinemas. The film is the newest link in the chain that wukk eventually culminate in the superhero extravaganza "The Avengers", to be directed by Joss Whedon.

First, let me say how surprised I was to find out that this was directed by directing giant Kenneth Branagh - yes, the one and same who did "Frankenstein" with Robert de Niro. The film is so far out of his style it's in another world - which, I suppose, suits the fact that these characters are not from Earth. By the way, that's not a spoiler. Promise.

Second of all, I want to express how impressed I was by Australian "Home and Away" star Chris Hemsworth. Despite his humble beginnings on an Australia after-school soap that's been running for so long, he's come to Hollywood poised and ready. The first time I saw him, which was not on "Home and Away" but as George Kirk in the 2009 J.J. Abrams "Star Trek", I was immediately impressed. The fact that his role in that film last only about 12 minutes shows just how grabbing he was. The emotions were palpable.
Unfortunately, the emotional range for a character like Thor is a little less diverse. He is a prince from an alien world whom visited Earth and whom the Vikings worshipped as gods. So, he's arrogant and boastful, but his comedic timing when exiled too Earth sans-superpowers, is priceless. Also, it helps that he developed himself into some worthy eye-candy for all the gay and female movie viewers - hot damn did I feel inadequate.

The film is supported by the ever beautiful Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings, who play his science-nerd friends once on Earth, and the always enjoyable to watch Anthony Hopkins as his father Odin. Stellan SkarsgÄrd was fun in his father-like role to Portman and Dennings, and newcomer Tom Hiddleston was impressive and believable as Thor's mischievous brother Loki.

Story-wise, it was a typical evolution/redemption story with some elegant action scenes thrown in for kicks. Admittedly the story seems lifted right from the comic book - and I knew that this hero would be the hardest to adapt to film because he was so, well, brazen. The dialogue is, at times, a little trite and couples itself with the wafer-thin storyline, but it does end in a way that I felt it should end - you'll see what I mean when you see it; and for the love of god stay after the credits!

Of course, while most of you are aware of my dislike of 3D as a medium, it can be done well. This film didn't need to be in 3D, but it wasn't too intrusive. The beautiful, sweeping landscape shots of Asgard are worth donning the 3D glasses, but anything on Earth - which is the majority of the film - isn't helped along at all by this new, hyped medium.

This film is an enjoyable, light movie and I do think is as good an adaptation of the comic as we're bound to get. 7/10

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