Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cloudy Judgement

Thor(2011) Directed By Kenneth Branagh

"Thor" is a film based on a Marvel superhero comic book, based loosely on Norse mythology, about the "God of thunder" cast down from Asgard to our human world of the present. Too much time is invested in this flimsy plot of political intrigues between Asgardians and Frost Giants, and the even more tiresome flash-romance of Thor and Natalie Portman (playing an astro-physicist studying "weather anomalies" and "Einstein-Rosen bridges".) Portman is awful by the way, her shocked utterance "oh-my-god" in this film I imagine will become a popular Internet soundbite or gif, akin to Keanu Reeve's "I know Kung-fu". All this talking leaves precious little time for "Thor" in full super-hero regalia to be on-screen. What makes most super-hero films a drag is that they take up too much time trying to find the drama and the realism in the characters at the expense of what made these types stories compelling. The drama is flat, and the action is spread too thin to become kinetic or hypnotic, or whatever it would need to be to justify sitting through the non-special effects portions of the movie. The costume and creature designs are especially bland, and look even worse against a desert small town background. The frost giants look like blue versions of the evil Djin in Wes Craven's "Wishmaster", and the other monster Thor faces is like a walking suit of armor that shoots fire from its eyes, basically yet another giant robot, but plainer and stiffer than usual. And please, Dear Hollywood, stop changing the ethnicity's of classic characters for your adaptations, by which I am referring to the certain Asian and black Norse gods who appear in this feature. If you really want to have non-white characters in sf/fantasy either invent some new ones (PLEASE!) or make use of those who already exist. Simply re-imagining minor or supporting white characters as non-white, only reaffirms that the racial place of non-whites is in minor and supporting roles. The "Council of Conservative Citizens"( a white nationalist group) attempted to organize a boycott of the film, outraged precisely because a black man was now a playing a Scandinavian and Germanic God. Considering the "racial" sub-plot involving Loki's (our ethnically confused villain's) illegitimacy, there is some unintentional irony in introducing non-whites to the very Pantheon which is responsible for our conception of God as a white, bearded, old man (more so than Zeus), but the film makes no substantial use of the fact. Comic book films do not have to be historically accurate, but there is fine line between multi-cultural sensitivity and multi-cultural pandering and these Marvel comics based films specifically have been treading into boarder line "The Last Airbender" territory, though as of yet, still not that bad. Okay then, good I can drop the soap box until my next update on lame brained affirmative action in fantasy land. And were moving on. "Thor" is a film meant to introduce us to the character, so he can later be brought into "The Avengers" film series, set to come out in a few years, and not a film meant to stand on its own, and it doesn't. The film is a less articulate and stylized version of "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes",http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8VSicDdeA , forcing us to slough through information a child could breeze through in ten minutes. To be fair Thor was never particularly exciting as a comic book character, and had it not been for his membership in the Avengers (he's best in small doses) its likely his title would have been discontinued.Kenneth Branagh's "Mary Shelly's Frankenstein" had given me some hope "Thor" might have something interesting or unusual about it, but lightning clearly has not struck twice. More effort went into deciding to end this review with that awful pun, than went into anything having to do with this film.

1 comment:

Allison said...

Wow, I think you've convinced me not to see the film! I am currently and temporarily working at a movie theater and the choices are so bad that I thought about watching Thor. I'm not sure I'd waste my time even for free.