Blu-ray Review: Thor (Paramount Home Video)

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by Rock ‘n Roll Ghost

Chris Hemsworth stars in Thor out now on Blu-ray, DVD and 3D Blu-ray

I was never much of a fan of the Thor comic books as a kid.  I loved super heroes and felt severely deprived growing up that, I could have these amazing Star Wars films, but the only super hero we got back in the day was Superman.  Which was cool and all, but I really could have used X-Men and The Avengers or Justice League of America and Batman back then.  Nowadays, it’s damn super hero overload, to the point where it’s no longer unique to have these film adaptations of super hero comic book characters leap onto the screen, it’s becoming rote.

This past summer alone there were four super hero films and, while they all did well (okay, Green Lantern didn’t come close to making its budget back even with foreign box office) they didn’t do quite as well as expected.  Either because of overload or because we’re now receiving the mid-tier level of super hero films, the box-office grosses have definitely diminished from the highs of The Dark Knight and the Spider-Man films.

So back to Thor.  While I wasn’t super jacked about a Thor film, there was a lot of promise in the hiring of the great Kenneth Branagh helming this adaptation.  If you’ve ever seen Branagh’s Henry V or Dead Again you know how strong a director he can be.  And, while Thor has the requisite moments of high drama and stirring set design, it falls flat in its screenplay, and ends up feeling slight despite its grandeur.

Part of the problem is a lack of solid character writing.  Thor, played by hunky newcomer Chris Hemsworth, isn’t quite as petulant and immature as he needs to be – he certainly is brash enough, but something is lacking in his transformation from man-child to man.  Worse yet is the inclusion of Natalie Portman as Thor‘s love interest, the “scientist” who chases storms and ends up hitting the Norse God with her Jeep.  Portman is the epitome of eye candy.  A female character with the sole purpose of being there to look doe-eyed at the male hero and pretty much have no other reason to be in the film.

Idris Elba stars as Heimdall in Thor, out now on Blu-ray, DVD and 3D Blu-ray

Worse yet, despite being the strongest role/performance in Thor, Tom Hiddleston‘s Loki isn’t handled well.  Starting out, the brother of Thor is a very multifaceted character, displaying many levels of emotion and intellect.  It doesn’t take long for the screenplay to abandon this well rounded portrayal and turn Loki into a one note villain, however.  And, for all of his bluster, Anthony Hopkins seems to be hamming it up as Odin, Thor‘s father.  While there are moments of true heft in Hopkins’ performance, there’s also a near collapse into B-movie silliness as well.

I haven’t even touched the silliness of the “rainbow bridge”, the cheesiness of the Frost Giants’ look (not to mention their homeland), the overblown pomposity of Thor‘s friends, the weak action sequences or the film’s reliance on silly jokes that fall flat most of the time.  So, while there are enough elements to be impressed by visually and some of the actors do come off well (Idris Elba as Heimdall the sentry of that rainbow bridge being one of them), Thor ultimately comes up short in the realm of super hero films.  If The Dark Knight and X-Men 2 are the high water mark and The Fantastic Four and Catwoman the low – the Norse God’s adaptation ranks in the middle along with Superman Returns.

Official Thor Website

Purchase Thor on Blu-ray 3D

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