As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.


Posted by Hedwig on April 28, 2011

I’ve been posting short things about films on tumblr lately, but this post expanded to the point where I thought I’d cross-post it here, too.

THOR is an entertaining, well-paced, action-filled opener of the 2011 blockbuster season. It’s often funny, it has an intriguing, conflicted villain (which is an improvement over the two IRON MAN movies), and Chris Hemsworth acquits himself quite well, especially in the Earth-based scenes. It also caters to the audience in pleasant ways: he walks around shirtless for a full minute -maybe two- and while I generally like less bulky guys, I have to say, da-yum*. The Asgard and Jotumheim scenes are all CGI-gloss, but I guess that could not be avoided. And I’m impressed Branagh managed to keep the film tonally similar to the IRON MAN movies, which is promising for further entries in this Marvel series.

Unfortunately, this is one of those movies where you can glimpse the scaffold beneath the story. For instance, from the way the story resolves, I would guess that THE AVENGERS will use Thor as a (semi-literal) deus ex machina. Also, I understand that the whole movie revolves around Thor learning a lesson, but his reversal is rather sudden and extreme. And there are more nitpicks: Hopkins really hams it up (though I guess it’s hard to underplay Odin All-father), Portman doesn’t quite pull off the scientific mumbo-jumbo (but I appreciated seeing a female physicist – we don’t get a lot of representation on-screen), and Thor’s quartet of friends didn’t really get much to do. All-in-all: worth seeing, but non-essential.

A note on 3D: in my city, I couldn’t see THOR in 2D, and this kind of pisses me off. It’s not so much the price hike (though 11 euros is quite a lot of money), but it’s an ‘upgrade’ I’d rather opt out of. I only seldom see the added value of 3D (the scene with the clown in TOY STORY 3 is the only example that comes to mind), and I don’t get the claims of realism: in fact it’s often detrimental to immersion. For instance, it doesn’t go well with fact cutting and hand-held-like shots, where it often leads the audience to look ‘through’ the action, but that doesn’t seem to stop anyone. It doesn’t combine with other cinematic tools, either: in THOR, there is a shot where the foreground suddenly becomes blurry because we’re supposed to focus on something in the background. In 2D this works as a depth indication, and it’s a trope we’re used to as a guide to the eye, but in 3D it just takes you out of the experience: if you were truly watching at a 3D images, you would be able to focus your eyes wherever you wanted. I don’t want to rule out all 3D (I hope they’ll bring out CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS here at some point), but it would be nice if it was an option instead of a mandatory drag, and if people realized how much 3D limits the director’s bag of cinematic tricks and acted accordingly.

*couldn’t find a good still of that for drooling purposes, sorry. Hope this one will do, instead.

One Response to “Thor”

  1. Kaj said

    Word is that Wim Wenders’ Pina also uses 3D in an interesting way. And that is getting a release this summer. No idea on Cave of Forgotten Dreams, we’ll be getting his last movie first this summer, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done.

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