Strictly for the Comic-Book Set
Movies: 'Thor' - Patrick L. Sullivan
May, 12, 2011
Kenneth Branagh welds a “shadowy-government- agency-doing-sinister-things-in-the-desert” plot to a sword ’n’ sorcery story to create “Thor,” based on the Marvel Comics character.
And not based much on Norse mythology, in which New Mexico is conspicuously absent as a setting.
Thor is played by Chris Hemsworth, who looks like a cross between Brad Pitt and Hulk Hogan. His brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is kind of a weenie, and they both think they ought to be king of the gods once Odin hands in his horned helmet.
Odin (Anthony Hopkins) takes forever to die, however, which leads to some plot twist that I have, mercifully, forgotten.
It’s a long movie.
Anyhoo, back in the present time, Natalie Portman’s Jane the Scientist and her pals are driving a big ol’ RV with lots of antennas and stuff around the desert in New Mexico looking for black holes or tornados or something. The universe opens up and Thor, who’s been exiled for some dumb reason, gets smacked by the RV. And his super mallet thing winds up in a crater a few miles away.
Now the secret government agency takes an intense interest in all this, with many highly humorous scenes involving SUVs, suits and sunglasses.
The secret agents confiscate Jane the Scientist’s research, but Thor gets her notebook back in one of many exciting scenes with people, or gods, or underground ice people getting their butts kicked all over rural America, or Asgard, or the Land of the Frost Giants. It was a lot of work for a notebook, but Thor couldn’t budge the Mallet of Destiny on account of his powers have deserted him and he’s just another grungy-looking guy in a flannel shirt — so he better bring back something.
Now they’re trying to make a comic book movie here, but Branagh might have done well to study some of the epics of the sword and sorcery genre — especially the second and third installments of the immortal “Deathstalker” flicks, made for about $11.38 apiece in Mexico by expatriate Russians.
Those movies have all the same sort of mumbo-jumbo as “Thor,” plus one villain who first appears on screen looking like Gloria Swanson on a five-day drunk in a bejeweled turban and a veil — and lots of nekkidity of the upper female torso.
“Thor” fails miserably in the latter department, undoubtedly to preserve the PG-13, that mechanism of the curious belief that watching people frozen to death and then dashed to pieces builds character but seeing a woman minus her shirt leads inexorably to a life of degeneracy.
On the plus side, the film does have a tremendously nasty, huge ice beast that does literally chew the scenery.
And that’s about it. Attempts are made to jog the thing along, with allegedly comical moments of Thor wandering around the small New Mexico town, learning local customs and idioms, such as when you want more coffee at the diner you don’t throw your mug on the floor, ahahaha.
The film is a classic example of what the great critic Joe Bob Briggs calls “too much plot getting in the way of the story.”
The cast does its best with the idiotic lines, which veer wildly from the pompous to the text message-y, and lots of stuff explodes.
But the producers ran out of lukewarm gags at the one-hour mark, which is unfortunate for a two-hour film, and there are so many deus ex machinas in “Thor” they ought to form a union.
Tedious, loud, confusing and ultimately pointless, “Thor” is strictly for the comic book set.
“Thor” is rated PG-13 for intense sci-fi action and violence. It is playing at The Moviehouse in Millerton, NY, and elsewhere.
© Copyright 2011 by TCExtra.com
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