Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I went to see the movie Thor last night with my sixteen year old son, T-Bone. I hadn't heard anything about it other than that it was directed (or, as I would now put it, "directed") by Kenneth Brannagh. And remembering Brannagh's good version of Henry V, I had pretty high expectations.

Well...I don't know if Kenneth Brannagh has been hit by a train in the last year or so, but if not, I'm not sure what else could account for this movie. There is, literally, almost no aspect of it which works.

Let's take something relatively trivial: language. Thor, a Scandinavian god who lives in Asgaard a thousand years ago, falls into the New Mexican desert through a tornado-like funnel connecting Asgaard and earth, having been banished for disobeying his father, Odin. Well - we can give a pass to the time travel and interstellar funnels and stuff. After all, it is a fantasy. But even fantasy movies, while requiring some suspension of belief, cannot go so far as to require the complete cessation of mental function. And so, my question to Kenneth Brannagh is: Would it have really been that difficult to provide even a flimsy explanation for why a Scandinavian who lived one thousand years ago, speaks fluent modern English?

Let's take something else trivial: the costumes and hair. Wasn't there anyone available better than the lady who did the costumes for Brannagh's local elementary school's rendition of "The Hobbit"? Couldn't we get something at least semi-realistic? The "armour" looks ridiculous, the bad hair dye jobs look ridiculous - it all looks ridiculous.

Now, something a bit more important: How can Kenneth Brannagh expect us to believe that the bloodthirsty warrior Thor, after returning from earth, no longer wants to see the annihilation of Asgaard's murderous enemies (the frost-monsters trying to destroy Asgaard) purely on the basis of a Bono-like humanitarianism he somehow acquired because of his infatuation with Natalie Portman? That's the big peak of the character arc? A desire to let enemy creatures live who are infiltrating your kingdom and trying to kill your father and all your fellow citizens? It makes no sense.

How does Brannagh expect us to believe that Thor could break into a military compound built around his hammer (lodged in a piece of meteorite), wipe out a dozen guys, but that the commanding officer watching the whole break-in would not authorize even the firing of a tranquilizer dart into the man? And how does he expect us to believe that after all that, the military officials would just let him go (without arresting him, detaining him, etc.)?

And when the giant, fire-breathing monster shows up in town for the final showdown for Thor, and starts blowing the town up, lighting things on fire, etc., where are all the military people? Even though the military folks seem able to show up in seconds to any other unexpected event, for some reason, they are nowhere to be seen as soon as Monster Man starts destroying everything.

How does he expect us to believe in a cutesy goo-goo Thor, who hams it up for cellphone cameras?

I don't understand how a guy who has been acting and directing, literally his entire life, and who has won so many awards for doing so, could have overseen the making of a movie this bad. I mean, aside from "Train Theory". I just don't get it.


Anonymous said...

AAAHH!! I am so disappointed. I've been planning to see Thor since I found out that Branagh had directed-- he has long been a favorite of mine. Sucks. Maybe he was hit by a train.

Judy said...

You missed the obvious. Money!

Polly said...

I was expecting a movie similar to the mythical Clash of the Titans and was also disappointed. That is until my son pointed out that the movie is the latest installment of the Marvel Comic series. He said that if we had waited till the end of the credits we would have seen a preview of the next Marvel movie, The Avengers, where Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and a multitude of other Marvel superheros join forces to fight evil in the Universe! Still, this movie wasn't as good as Iron Man,(for continuity, several of the SHIELD agents were played by the same actors as SHEILD agents in Iron Man) but looking at it as a Marvel Comic movie - it wasn't that bad.

Melissah said...

Had to read this. Thor is my favorite hero; and though You give it a thumbs down, I still anxiously await seeing it, and will just have to consider your complaint yet postpone judgement officially until I see for myself.

I will be donning my imagination cap before entering the theatre though. might cause a understandably skewed perception. I really want to
like it though, so I'll likely find what I seek and even if unpopular, I just might appreciate and understand the direction in my simple-minded way.


Anonymous said...

This was one of the greatest feel good movies of all time.

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you why you DON'T get it, and why you pan this movie. It is because it makes you feel good and you obviously choose to feel angry, bitter and badly. That is the whole issue. You are tuned into the wrong power. You channel everything dark now?

The movie was great. I want to see it again and again. We are polar opposites.

Tal said...

That might be the dumbest comment on this entire blog lol.

The movie didn't make me feel "good", "thinkerman". It made me feel like I was wasting my time, because it was a poorly conceived, poorly executed movie.

I understand that "The Green Lantern" got bad reviews, even though I enjoyed that quite a bit. Maybe my tastes are idiosyncratic. In any case, I'm glad you found a movie you like watching (and watching again and again lol).

Anonymous said...

I'll still see this on DVD, mostly because I don't care if it sucks and I've paid $3 to rent it.

I've never been into comics (unless Mad Magazine counts) so I have no idea of the overall storyline of Thor, as comic book hero. Having said that, I have a hard time dealing with ancient deities and their pantheons suddenly being real, as if living in another dimension. Does that mean that all now defunct gods are really alive? If so, part of me wishes they'd just duke it out in some other dimension (possibly during the Pantheon Games), and stop spawning movies.