Buff Review Show: It’th Thuch an Eye Thor (Bad Pun Alert)
Didn’t go and see Thor again in the end, but here is the review nonetheless for anyone wanting to catch it before it comes out of cinemas (probably another week or so for main stream cinemas, smaller ones maybe got it a little longer?).
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Anyway, enjoy the review (well, Marvel fans might not) and see you tomorrow!
So… Thor… Erm… Okay, I’m going to give my end summary at the start because there is no reason for me to pussy foot around the subject. Thor is nothing more than a placeholer for the big Avengers mash-up next year, and unfortunately also is stuck with being the runt of the Marvel pack this summer, with more time and money going into Captain America and the Xmen First Class films. I can’t and won’t sugar coat the situation, but from Marvel’s POV, I can’t see how putting out three films in as many months is healthy, especially when two of them are linking in to the grand Avengers plot they’ve spent more than five years setting up like a house of cards.
But I don’t think Thor is bad, certainly not bad enough to bring the entire Marvel house of cards crashing down around it’s feet, but it is purely a functional film in setting things up for what is to come, and for that reason forgets to enjoy itself and have fun. I’m pretty tolerant with films, but I found myself struck with crippling boredom about 30 minutes into the film. The film started and ended well, but meandered slowly through the middle portion.
The relationship between Natalie Portman, playing astro-physicist Jane, and titular character Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, doesn’t get started until the start of the second act of the film, about 30 minutes in, and is wrapped under twenty minutes from the end so Thor can go and save the day back home, and with a paltry four or five scenes together it just doesn’t give them enough time to get the chemistry going. And with Thor’s mismatched facial hair issues, I couldn’t stop gawping at his face trying to work out if the problem was his beard, his eyebrows or his face in general, but something was horribly off about it which is a shame for such a handsome chap.
The basic plot is that, having been banished to Earth from his home in Asgard by his father, Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins, for being a petulant whelp. His brother is the Norse God version of Severus Snape and at any moment we don’t know if he is evil or just a tad mean at times. Anyway, Thor slams into Natalie Portman (lucky guy, I guess) and she changes him overnight from an arrogant God to a noble God in the space of an hour (one very long hour of film time) before he goes back to fix everything he’s broken. Nothing out of the ordinary throughout and close your eyes a bit and you’re almost experiencing Clash of the Titans, which is not a comparison I imagine this film desires.
Another thing that marred the overall look of the film is the 3D, which is poorly done if I am being generous and downright ruinous if I am going to be frank. A short way into the film I had a rather Scooby-Doo-esque moment where I dropped my 3D specs on the floor and had to crawl around like Velma patting down peoples legs and sticking my hands into varying gooey substances (which I deigned disgusting enough not to investigate as to their source or purpose) in the bid to find my glasses. After a while I gave up because I found that the scene that was playing out required no 3Ding at all. And indeed a lot of the film went on like this, I ended up purposely watching most of the film without the glasses and found very little difference. The film was also very dark, and not in the atmosphereic intended sort of way, just the dark undecipherable sort of way.
Even LOTR, the brownest film ever made, whose entire pallet of colours can be summarised as “Burnt Umber”, was able to distinguish between dark and light, most importantly during fight scenes and night scenes. But there was a whole scene, probably a good ten minutes long, and one of the few BIG set pieces in the film whatsoever, was nearly impossible to watch- between the 3D glasses taking everything a shade darker with their tinted lenses, the camera apparently attached to a flock of passing sea gulls chasing a loaf of bread attached to one of those remote controlled helicopters as oppose to any sort of proper rigging, and the dark colour palette at the time, just left me confused as to what I was watching. Dull coloured characters, whom are fighting blue/black creatures, set on an icy tundra-like wasteland, primarily grey and blue, all of which is set at night, AND THEN the added darkness of the lenses. Did nobody watch this and think “hmm, what’s this ten minute grey smear doing in my film?”
I think the casting is fine but the writing isn’t, and in the same way that Derek Jacobi’s minor role in Hereafter couldn’t save that movie (heck, even a tsunami wasn’t enough to help that pile of trash) then Anthony Hopkins playing Odin (the few times he was actually on screen) is not going to help if everything else is substandard. And don’t think, Marvel, that we didn’t notice the boom in the scene in the pet store half way through. What, was this film shot by gorillas during a banana famine?
Belligerent ancestors aside, I really cannot recommend Thor. It’s fine if you just want to stuff your face with popcorn for two hours, but an all-too-long 2nd act, bad cliché dialogue and sloppy use of 3D just prevent me and probably a lot of other viewers form enjoying it properly. My advice is to watch it in 2D or wait for the DVD to come out later this summer, but don’t feel like you’re missing anything in the whole “Avengers” mythos for what is coming next year. Marvel could have just made a leaflet, sent it to every person in the world with a mailbox, that just reads “This is Thor, he has a hammer, kind of an ass at times” with a big mugshot of Chris Hemsworth’s eyebrows vying for print space.