Friday, September 23, 2011

Thor the Love of God -- Stop Making These Movies! I missed most of the blockbuster super hero epics this summer. I’m holding out for Mighty Mouse. But recently my daughter Netflixed THOR and it was just sitting around so I figured, what the hell? I do like a good action movie, I seem to recall it got good reviews, and it has Natalie Portman (obviously vying for a second Oscar). Also, it was directed by Kenneth Branaugh, the self-proclaimed next Orson Welles. And if all that wasn’t enough -- Sir. Anthony Hopkins was in it. Pretty classy elements servicing a guy who looks like the Geico caveman with a hammer. So after hitting every button on the remote to see if I could fast forward through the Goddamn CAPTAIN AMERICA trailer, I settled in for a fun night of escapist fare. What a jumbled mess. SPOILER ALERT -- not that you haven't seen every moment of this movie fifteen times. I guess if you’re a fanboy and know the Byzantine legend of Thor the first half hour makes sense. “Oh, awesome, the realm of Asgard looks just like the model I made in my room.” There were battle scenes between ice monsters and Vikings, a goofy transporter machine guarded by a giant Oscar, a galactic city that looked like someone wedged an enormous pipe organ into the side of a mountain, endless backstory (I think in there somewhere they also explained the Lord of the Rings), and everyone was dressed like they were in an opera. Anthony Hopkins plays the king of the good planet. He wears a black eye patch, obviously hoping to funnel into the theater some of the stray PIRATES OF THE CARRIBBEAN crowd. Chris Hemsworth is hammer boy and he’s surrounded by a weasel brother, a band of Capital One Visigoth warriors, oh… and Rene Russo (she came out of retirement for this?). Not only do they speak English on this distant planet, but formal English (thank you, Kenneth Branaugh). Bedrooms are “chambers”. People are “summoned”. The evil planet is a combination NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and Syracuse in the winter.
    Finally, Thor is banished to earth where he lands in New Mexico (why do aliens from outer space always seem to favor New Mexico? Do they get a tax break?). There he encounters Natalie Portman (who thank goodness has had a few milk shakes since THE BLACK SWAN), Stellan Skarsgård, and Kat Denning (whose backstory is that she was in one of our failed pilots and had a whole lot more to do in it than this). Thor is hit by a truck, tasered, and restrained (and you wonder why tourism is down in New Mexico). Natalie of course befriends him. Ten screen minutes later he’s making eggs for the family. Ten screen minutes later he’s hoisting boilermakers with Stellan. And what cliché comic book movie would be complete without the alien in the diner scene and the asshole FBI investigators arriving on the scene in their dark suits to run roughshod over everybody? At this point Orson Branaugh bounces back and forth between New Mexico and Asgard (which, by the way, looked more realistic than New Mexico). Every time they went back to Planet CGI I completely zoned out. More lore and gore. Zzzzzzzzz. For reasons probably explained but I was too distracted wondering why everyone on this advanced planet dressed like they were in Sherwood Forest, the weasel brother sends a giant Transformer to earth to destroy everything that Michael Bay’s Transformers didn’t already destroy. In the midst of all this destruction and mayhem Thor somehow learns humility and is rewarded by the return of his magic hammer. And now it’s like Popeye eating a can of spinach. Metal Bluto doesn’t have a chance. Great! Movie over. Uh no. Seems if I were paying attention I’d know that Thor still had to go back to Wurlitzer City to settle unfinished business there. This segment was the worm hole of entertainment. Here’s what’s scary: From all reports, among the summer comic book lollapaloozas, this was considered one of the better ones. Holy shit! How terrible was GREEN LANTERN? On the one hand, I’d like to say, well the summer’s over so that’ll be the end of them for awhile. But you know Hollywood. They’re being replaced in the fall by cheesy Adam Sandler and Jonah Hill comedies. Fanboys must be served!

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Thor the Love of God -- Stop Making These Movies!

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