Wednesday, May 04, 2011


The sorry state of american filmmaking.

I knew going in that this new Thor movie was put out by Marvel studios, but considering what a good job they did with Iron Man (the first one), I figured what the hey. The flick has Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård and especially Anthony Hopkins so I figured with that star power there'd be some redeeming qualities. I figured wrong on all counts.

This abomination does the viewer so many disservices it's hard to know where to start. All right, let me rip the big guy himself. Every time you see Thor, an Aussie actor named Chris Hemsworth who looks like Bad Pitt's younger and bulkier brother, you envisage him just stepping out of a Gold's Gym in southern California and ready to party down with some beach bimbos. How is he a Norse God? They constantly have to remind you he is because to be honest the dude's screen presence is anything but godlike. He's even referred to as a homeless bum, not as an interesting dichotomy between his godliness and earthbound mortality, but well, because he is a homeless bum. They must have realized after starting the filming process that their choice of Thor actually depended more on his pectorals than his acting ability, because most of the movie's minutes is spent clearly propping this clunky lug up, and pretending he's an awful lot more than what the director is able to hand you.

Now the rest of the cast tries to lamely go with the flow of this comic book adaptation, but the effort is completely wasted. Hopkins is always game no matter how insipid the vehicle, while Skarsgård spends his time wandering around looking lost and confused. Opprobrium should really be heaped on Natalie Portman.
Now I've got to say I've never thought this chick was much of an actress, in the way I think of Cate Blanchetts and Meryl Streeps. Portman is not very talented, her oscar for Black Swan aside. (By the way, Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky is a god who can do no wrong) She's no chameleon like the fine actresses I just mentioned, rather the films she's in have to adapt to her, as in the case of Black Swan where they superimposed her face on a real ballerina perhaps 90% of the time. Portman plays the pseudo scientist human love interest of beach dude Thor and even there the chemistry is unconvincingly tepid. Since this movie wasn't centered around the Natalie Portman character she reverted back to that unbelievably shrill and annoying screen presence we've grown to detest when she actually tries to accomplish more than her Star Wars abomination.

No, Thor is all about CGI. And Here's the other major problem besides Portman. All these dual reality features have difficulty in establishing rules and limits; even the towering first Matrix had difficulties doing this; Thor is egregious. Marvel turned this one into one of those flicks where all you could do is sit drooling on the couch with a glazed look in your eyes, absorbing all the noises and sights without giving a shit about much at all. Because after a while nothing makes much sense at all. What a difference from Iron Man 1, a real achievement in melding comic fantasy with interesting characters you actually cared about, utilizing plenty of the same CGI.
Sometimes this movie has some inadvertent grins as the (sometimes) immortals travel with sturm und drang between worlds. Armor on earth tends to look awful silly.

This snoozefest is all over the internet if you feel like watching it, always a bad sign for a movie that hasn't even been released in theaters yet, by Grabthar's hammer.


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