After reading The Heart, Soul and Center of Practical Magic, a friend emailed me to say “I have a feeling that as a bookworm, you will like any book and old myth Hollywood decides to put on the screen.”
Oh my, I thought, you couldn’t be more wrong if you tried to use religion to justify war. I mean, seriously, hasn’t she read Athena, Arachne, the Furies and Spider-Man… On Broadway? Fine, I don’t expect anyone to read every single word I post, but I have more proof. The way I feel about Thor, the movie, is another testament of the equal-opportunity-love-or-hate-relationship that exists between my story loving heart and this kind of adaptation.
I’ll start at the beginning…
I’m a mythology lover and my Piano Man feels the same way about comics. I was thrilled when my darling suggested we watched Thor, but fifteen minutes into the movie, my excitement was replaced by eye rolling, head shaking and plain old disgust. Kenneth Branagh’s Thor tells the story of how the Norse God of the Marvel Universe is exiled and sent to Earth, where the hammer wielding hunk of pride, played by Christ Hemsworth, is supposed to endure the bit of hubris cleansing his father believes will make him a better god.
The movie starts with a brilliant introduction to the myth as seen through the eyes of J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich. Anthony Hopkins, who made an interesting eye-patched Odin, defeats the Frost Giants and brings peace to his realm. I watched the movie on 2D, but the images portrayed in the initial scenes were so sharp and moving that I imagine watching them in 3D has to be a real treat. There weren’t many other delights after that.
The best acting was probably done by Tom Hiddleston as Loki. The Trickster God didn’t act as his mythological mischievous self, but he was the perfect walking melodrama—crying because he wasn’t loved enough, enraged because he felt used, and pleased in a way only a god can show because he was able to betray, blow things up, and even fuel a bit of maiming. The second character I felt did a great job was the leader of the Frost Giants. I can’t recall the name of the voice over actor at the moment, but his facial expressions and the execution of his dialogue were so convincing that he fooled me all the way to the end. This gave me a bit of faith in the writing and direction.
Then most of the faith was obliterated by the weirdness of the plot. The story seems to have been written as separate subplots and then hammered into working together. There was mythology, science fiction, a lot of action, fantasy, and some romance slapped into the mix; the latter didn’t take. Natalie Portman was a strange Jane Foster. I tried to believe in her character’s motivation, but the more I tried the more I felt the character didn’t give me enough evidence to convince me that she was a mildly mad astrophysicist who would drive into the jaws of oblivion in the name of science.
I’m sure Mr. Branagh worked hard at making Jane Foster act like she was star searching in uncanny ways, but that worked almost as well as the bit about Jane and Thor being madly in love with each other. The only passion they offered was in the form of a ridiculous kiss near the end of the movie. It went like this: deal, suck face, deal. Translation? Thor tells Jane he’ll be back—no, not Terminator, Thor—and the Norse God ends the phrase with “deal.” Then Jane and Thor kiss so deeply that their lips are probably still numb from the exchange. They unlock smackers, and Jane says “deal”. I heard someone in the audience say, “I need to vomit.” I wondered if I could borrow the bucket.
Thor was a disappointment. If, like me, you expect a lot from a retelling of the myth of the Norse God gone comic hero, you are up for a nasty surprise that includes: non believable scientists, unrealistic government agencies, unfounded passion, and a fake-looking hammer—Mjolnir, Thor’s godly weapon, resembled a cheap plastic toy. I wasn’t asking for a heartfelt storyline or a perfect plot, but a bit of ingenuity would have been nice.
And talking about um, different...
And talking about um, different...
|Thor Spider-Man by Captain Ryno|