In our quest to bring you the best TV content, sometimes we have to look... backwards. That's why we have TV Throwback Thursday, wherein each week our staff of pop culture enthusiasts will be tasked with bringing back some of the best television clips that have been forgotten by time, space and the general zeitgeist.
This week, in honor of The Vampire Diaries airing its big, long-awaited prom episode, we're taking a trip down memory lane with our five favorite prom episodes, ever. TVD has some major competition here, folks.
5. Dawson's Creek, "The Anti-Prom": If you weren't totally on Team Pacey by this point, then this classic Anti-Prom must have swayed you. True, Dawson helped organize the event held in protest of Jack not being able to bring a male date, but he really only did it to try to impress and win back Joey, or really, just beat Pacey. Luckily Joey and Pacey did get a dance in, where he muttered the now infamous words, "I remember everything." God, they just feel so right:
4. Saved by the Bell, "The Prom": Poor little (formerly) rich girl Kelly didn't get to go to the prom, because her dad lost his job and she selflessly decided that family was more important than a pricey school event. But that didn't matter, because teen heartthrob Zack Morris came to the rescue, creating a super low-budget but still totally romantic prom that swept Kelly (and Amerikur) off her feet. Unfortunately the clip isn't available online (rights and such), but you remember:
3. Beverly Hills, 90210, "A Night to Remember": "Donna, you're drunk. Do you have any idea what this means?" Donna (and the audience) didn't that eventful night, but we quickly learned the cruel aftermath of her reckless decision-making — no graduation. Summer school. Substance. Abuse. Education.
That's right, prom is where the now infamous phrase "Donna Martin Graduates!" was born — as well as the protest that fueled the nation. WARNING: TEEN DRINKING AHEAD.
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "The Prom": Buffy's prom wasn't great because of any romantic intrigue or drunken antics. In fact, she barely got to attend, and she definitely didn't have a date. Instead, Buffy spent her prom night doing what she always does — sacrificing her personal life to thanklessly save the lives of others. Only this time, finally, it wasn't so thankless. When Ms. Summers finally arrived at the tail end of prom, she (and we) were shocked when her classmate Jonathan delivered a beautiful speech in her honor, letting her know that she was, in fact, loved. Here it is in all its glory, because you deserve it today:
"We have one more award to give out. Is Buffy Summers here tonight? Did she, um... This is actually a new category. First time ever. I guess there were a lot of write-in ballots, and, um, well, the prom committee asked me to read this. 'We're not good friends. Most of us never found the time to get to know you, but that doesn't mean we haven't noticed you. We don't talk about it much, but it's no secret that Sunnydale High isn't really like other high schools. A lot of weird stuff happens here. But whenever there was a problem or something creepy happened, you seemed to show up and stop it. Most of the people here have been saved by you or helped by you at one time or another. We're proud to say that the class of '99 has the lowest mortality rate of any graduating class in Sunnydale history, and we know at least part of that is because of you.' So the senior class offers its thanks and gives you, uh, uh, this — It's from all of us, and it has written here, 'Buffy Summers, Class Protector.'"
Okay here's the entire episode, because I'm crying now.
1. Friends, "The One With the Prom Video": It was a tough call between Friends and Buffy, but the look on Ross Gellar's face as he stands alone on the stairs in his "knight and shining armor" tux gave many of us our first TV heartbreak, and helped launch the defining television relationship of the '90s. Bonus points for the spectacular '80s hair, '80s dresses... just '80s everything, as well as the long-lasting emotional resonance. Her lobster, indeed:
... Damn. Your move, sexy vampires.
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
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After The X Factor gained a little more limelight from its newest judge, Miss Britney Spears, it makes sense that the Fox synergy would keep spinning. Spears will also lend her legendary tunes to a second Britney tribute on Fox's musical romp, Glee.
For the moment, Spears isn't signed to sing any of those tunes herself (in a anesthesia dream or in the halls of a McKinley) after her performance on the first Britney episode, but considering her boss' boss happens to run the network both X Factor and Glee air on, it shouldn't be too hard to get BritBrit to come back. But Spears or no Spears, there will be lots and lots of Britney. Now the only question is: Which songs will our happy group perform? Keep in mind that Rachel, Kurt, and Finn will be in New York while the high school kids are jazz-handing their way around Lima.
In an effort to avoid the major problem with the Whitney Houston tribute episode (where are all my favorite Whitney ballads, Ryan Murphy?), we've done the work for Glee. And the writers the show knows what's good for them, they will absolutely include these Britney classics. This is what second chances are for, people.
Pivotal line: "She's so lucky, she's a star / But she cry-cry-cries in her lonely heart, thinking/ If there's nothing missing in my life / Why do these tears come at night?"
Character born to sing this: Rachel. When they get to New York, she's bound to screw things up with Finn somehow. And because (fake) life isn't fair, she will achieve a meteoric rise to fame on Broadway.
Staging: Rachel, in a robe with feather trim and tiny high-heeled slippers using her ugly cry face and waltzing with her team of make-up artists in her dressing room. The gold star on dressing room door is a given.
"Oops... I Did It Again"*
Pivotal line: "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."
Character born to sing this: Santana. Although, if she's probably not coming back next season and if she's singing this, that means she broke Brittany's heart. Then again, Glee writers have fantastical imaginations so it could happen in some sort of sideways/flashback/bizarro world scenario.
Staging: Red leather body suit. Smoke machine. Also, Santana might punch that ditzy astronaut boy in the face after she breaks his heart.
*How, how, how was this not a part of the last BritBrit tribute?
Pivotal line: "Let's turn this dance floor into our little nasty world."
Character born to sing this: Brittany. She's bisexual and she's dating a lady, so we might need a lyric change, but the main point is that this girl needs to dance to this song. But as is the case with Santana, we're not sure she's coming back.
Staging: Brittany in a black body suit dancing with the phantom cheerios who show up every time she feels like dancing in a formation around the McKinley pool where Schue proposed to Emma.
Pivotal line: "Sometimes I run / Sometimes I hide / Sometimes I'm scared of you"
Character born to sing this: Rory. Let's face it, with most of the interesting people graduating, kids like Rory and his lady Sugar Motta (because they dated once and never had a massive onscreen breakup, they must still be together) are about all we have left. Sugar is also terrifying. Run and hide, Rory. Run and hide.
Staging: Rory dons a sequined McKinley gym outfit and sings from the inside of a giant replica of his locker.
"You Drive Me Crazy"
Pivotal line: "You drive me crazy / I just can't sleep / I'm so excited / I'm in too deep."
Character born to sing this: The audience. Glee, we fell deeply in love with you and you burned us. You done burned us bad. And yet, devoted fans like myself keep coming back to cherish the memory of what you once were and simultaneously pull our hair out in frustration, all in the hopes of just one time not wanting to sing-scream in your general direction. That is the definition of insanity and last time I checked, insanity is a synonym of crazy.
Staging: Me in my favorite Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, with a hairbrush microphone and a glass of Pinot Noir. My dog, Albus, will be rolling his eyes and sighing in exasperation in the corner.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.
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Actor George Lindsey, who charmed audiences as Goober Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show, died on Sunday in Nashville of a brief and undisclosed illness. He was 83.
Lindsay first played the country bumpkin mechanic on The Andy Griffith Show and went on to portray Goober on Mayberry R.F.D. and Hee Haw. In 1985 he summed up his best-known character's appeal, saying, "Goober is every man; everyone finds something to like about ol' Goober."
Andy Griffith said in a statement that he and Lindsey remained close over the years. "George Lindsey was my friend. I had great respect for his talent and his human spirit," Griffith said. "In recent years, we spoke often by telephone. Our last conversation was a few days ago...I am happy to say that as we found ourselves in our eighties, we were not afraid to say, 'I love you.' That was the last thing George and I had to say to each other: 'I love you.'" Lindsey is survived by a son, a daughter, and two grandsons.
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The Dirty Harry star's daughter stripped down for a photoshoot with Shields to pay homage to America's Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011 and now the 19 year old has become the snapper's girlfriend.
And Shields has shot Francesca in a series of provocative poses, which will feature as part of the photographer's latest exhibition, which launches in Los Angeles next month (May12).
The Ace Gallery exhibition launches on the same day as new reality TV show Mrs. Eastwood & Company, which also features Shields and his new muse.
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
There's no holiday Gleekier than Christmas, which is why the new Glee Christmas album, Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album Volume 2, will make a perfect gift for any of your friends or family members who are particularly fascinated with the misadventures of the McKinley High student body. This year's Glee Christmas album will have a couple of special bonuses. The first will be the presence of The Glee Project contestants Damian McGinty, Samuel Larson, Lindsay Pearce and Alex Newell on the CD, singing in such songs as "Blue Christmas," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," and "Do You Hear What I Hear?"
The second, and even more exciting, surprise is the inclusion of two original songs as sung by the cast of Glee. The songs will be entitled "Extraordinary Merry Christmas" and "Christmas Eve With You."
Below is a full track listing, along with the names of the actors (and characters) who will be performing the songs. The album will be available Nov. 15.
1. 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' Featuring Amber Riley (Mercedes)
2. 'Extraordinary Merry Christmas' Featuring Darren Criss (Blaine) and Lea Michele (Rachel)
3. 'Santa Baby' Featuring Naya Rivera (Santana)
4. 'Christmas Eve With You' Featuring Jayma Mays (Emma) and Matthew Morrison (Will)
5. 'Little Drummer Boy' Featuring Kevin McHale (Artie)
6. 'River' Featuring Lea Michele (Rachel)
7. 'Do You Hear What I Hear?' Featuring Lindsay Pearce and Alex Newell ('Glee Project')
8. 'Let It Snow' Featuring Darren Criss (Blaine) and Chris Colfer (Kurt)
9. 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' Featuring Mark Sailing (Puck), Cory Monteith (Finn) and Samuel Larsen ('Glee Project')
10. 'Christmas Wrapping' Featuring Heather Morris (Brittany)
11. 'Blue Christmas' Featuring Damian McGinty (Rory)
12. 'Do They Know It's Christmas' Featuring Cory Monteith (Finn), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Lea Michele (Rachel), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Kevin McHale (Artie), Heather Morris (Brittany), Mark Salling (Puck), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina), Naya Rivera (Santana)
Another baby spice just came into the world! Melanie Brown announced early this morning that she and her hubby Stephen Belafonte, had a baby girl. Apparently it was quite the ordeal. Scary Spice recalls how it all went down on Twitter, announcing, "Finally our baby arrives, Stephen nearly passed out, Phoenix screamed, I laughed so hard the baby popped out!!! She is just sooo amazing!!" The British singer also tweeted at her husband later on in the morning saying, "I didn't think it was possible but I love you even MORE now honey,we have a truly amazing family xxxx." Brown's rep confirmed the news and revealed the gender (something the star had decide to keep under wraps) stating, "This evening Melanie Brown and husband Stephen Belafonte welcomed their new baby girl in Los Angeles. This is the first child for Mel and Stephen and both mum and baby are happy, healthy and doing well." Former Spice-mate Victoria Beckham (Posh) also welcomed a baby girl this year as well. Let's get some play dates set up and discuss making a Junior Spice Girls group. Congrats to the happy family! - People
Glee's Heather Morris sports a fake black eye in a photo shoot she did with Tyler Shields and many are complaining that the shots glamorize domestic violence. Shields has been known for his racy imagery in past photo shoots, but has the photographer gone a bit too far this time? Some are even saying that the pics look highly similar to the photos leaked of Rihanna after being beaten by her then-boyfriend Chris Brown. Shields responded to the accusations saying, "In no way were we promoting domestic violence. We wanted to do a bruised-up Barbie shoot and that's exactly what we did!" Oh that's much better and doesn't promote violence against women in any way... - E!
Believe it or not, T.I., who was released from prison earlier this week, has been arrested again. The details are unclear, but it seems that there was something about the fancy bus he used to transport himself to the Atlanta halfway house on Thursday caused the authorities to re-arrest him. The rapper just spent about ten months in prison on drug charges according to his lawyer, Steve Sadow, "There appears to be confusion surrounding the method of transportation." That all seems rather vague and makes me wonder if there was something in that bus that shouldn't have been. T.I. is now "in transit" to another facility. This should make for a nice episode for his upcoming reality show. - NY Mag
The blonde actress poses for the cameras sporting a black eye and is even tied up with the cord of an iron in one daring image.
The pictures have been posted on Shields' website, depicting Morris as "a subversive 'Barbie style' housewife".
In the accompanying blog post, he writes, "Even Barbie bruises. We have been talking about shooting for a long time and we finally made it happen! Some magic, irons, and bruises later it was complete."
But not everyone is a fan of Shields' shots.
One website user writes, "I do.not.get.it. Why do you keep producing photos glamorizing violence against women?" Another adds, "So wait… we’re glamorizing bruises/abuse now?"
However, Shields has defended the photoshoot as a work of art.
He tells TooFab.com, "It was something we both wanted to do, a bruised up Barbie. In no way were we promoting domestic violence. We both loved the idea and we both love the photos."
Shields is no stranger to controversy - he previously photographed Lindsay Lohan holding a gun to her head.
When you start out on a really popular television show, it's great. You have regular work, people start to know your name, you get recognized as your character everywhere you go. But what about when the show ends? Then what happens?
Those stars are remembered as their former characters for almost the rest of their lives. Hell, even Neil Patrick Harris, who's grown his stardom and made a name as a completely new character on How I Met Your Mother, still has to endure being referred to as Doogie Howser. Jenny Garth will always be Kelly Taylor. Alfonso Ribeiro will always be known as Carlton and he'll probably always have to deal with people teasing him about that fantastic Tom Jones dance. But how do you continue a career after you've charmed the masses as a single character for so long? Well, for some folks, hopping right back into television is the answer, and if the slate of new shows from the major networks and a few of the cable ones is any indication, that's the name of the game for the summer and fall television seasons.
It's a great time to be a comeback kid, so we've put together a list of our top ten not-so-new television faces that you'll soon find on the boob tube. Is it just us, or are a lot of these comebacks just grown-up versions of these actors' original roles?
10. Eddie Cibrian
Known for: Third Watch, CSI: Miami, CHEATING ON HIS WIFE WITH LEANN RIMES.
Characteristics: CHEATED ON HIS WIFE.
New role: Playboy Club key-holder, and Don-Draper-wannabe Nick Dalton (NBC's The Playboy Club).
New Characteristics: Nick's not married, but come on, he's a Don Draper-esque character in a club full of scantily-clad women. He would totally CHEAT ON HIS WIFE -- if he had one.
9. Wilmer Valderrama
Known for: Playing Fez on That 70's Show, dating Lindsay Lohan for three seconds.
Characteristics: Fez was generally desperate and pervy, his real-life relationship with LiLo didn't help dispel the theory that he wasn't acting
New role: Detective Efram Vega (NBC's Awake).
New Characteristics: Details are few and far between at the moment, but it's a drama that looks pretty fantastic. We're guessing there's little room for Fezzian shenanigans -- though there is room for the signature Fez look of confusion -- so we might see some serious acting from the former campy comedy star. I still hope he sneaks in one "Goodday."
8. Katharine McPhee
Known for: Losing to Taylor Hicks on Season 5 of American Idol.
Characteristics: Aesthetically pleasing, decent singing voice, accused of making it to top two for her looks.
New role: The underdog, a Broadway actress who miraculously scores the lead in a musical about Marilyn Monroe (NBC's Smash)
New Characteristics: Aesthetically pleasing, decent singing voice, is propositioned by the director because of her looks.
7. Laura Prepon
Known for: Playing (Hot) Donna on That 70's Show.
Characteristics: Spunky redhead, tomboy, outspoken, understated babe.
New role: Reincarnation of Chelsea Handler...also named Chelsea (NBC's Are You There, Vodka?)
New Characteristics: Spunky blonde, semi-tomboy, outspoken, understated babe, alcoholic.
6. Rachel Bilson
Known for: Playing Summer on The OC.
Characteristics: Bratty, spoiled, prissy, headstrong, obsessed with her long-term, super-nerdy boyfriend, but somehow ultimately lovable.
New role: Zoe Hart, headstrong, big-city doctor plopped into a small town (CW's Hart of Dixie).
New Characteristics: A little spoiled from big-city living, headstrong, lovably outspoken with a hint of bratty, surrounded by cute men.
5. Debra Messing
Known for: Playing Grace on Will and Grace.
Characteristics: Talented, artistic, perpetually single middle-aged New York woman surrounded by talented, successful gay men and Karen.
New role: Julia, a lyricist writing a Marilyn Monroe musical (NBC's Smash).
New Characteristics: Talented, artistic, middle-aged New York woman working with her talented, successful, gay song-writing partner, Tom.
4. Tim Allen
Known for: Playing Tim "The Toolman" Taylor on Home Improvement (and of course playing Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story movies, but we're not focusing on that on that right now).
Characteristics: Grunts often, doesn't understand women, doesn't actually know how to use the tools he hosts a show about, has a wife and kids who love him anyway.
New role: A marketing director for big ol' sporting good store (ABC's Last Man Standing).
New Characteristics: Complains often, doesn't understand women, actually knows a thing or two about sporting goods (maybe a little too much), has a wife and kids who love him anyway.
3. Sarah Michelle Gellar
Known for: Kicking vampire ass as Buffy on...Buffy.
Characteristics: Dark, brooding sexpot with a killer instinct, a troubled past, and lots of trouble in her future.
New role: One of two twins who steals her deceased sister's life in order to escape her own demons (CW's Ringer).
New Characteristics: Dark, brooding sexpot with a killer instinct, a troubled past, and lots of trouble in her future (minus the vampires, ghosts, hellmouths and actual demons).
2. Mark-Paul Gosselaar
Known for: Stealing teen hearts as Zack Morris on Saved By The Bell, and continuing to be known as Zack Morris because his name is so hard to remember.
Characteristics: Charming, cocky, girl-crazy, very proud of his stupidly large cell phone.
New role: One half of a lawyer duo who refuses to play by "the rules" (TNT's Franklin and Bash).
New Characteristics: Charming, cocky, girl-crazy, thankfully has a very normal-sized cell phone.
1. James Van Der Beek
Known for: Crying incessantly on Dawson's Creek, abnormally large forehead, having little ability to translate Dawson fame to future career.
Characteristics: Whiny, sad, artistic (but overly confident about it), whiny, sad, whiny, SAD.
New role: A hyper-stylized, dickish version of himself (ABC's Apartment 23) .
New characteristics: Snarky, funny, not completely deplorable and not the reason I'll stop watching after Pacey and Joey break up.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.