Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thor-rible

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.