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.
According to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center spokeswoman Sally Stewart, Murphy died at 10:04 am local time on Sunday (20Dec09). Stewart would not provide a cause of death, or any further information.
The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a call at 8 am from a home that is believed to belong to Murphy's husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack.
Online reports suggest Murphy died after suffering a cardiac arrest at the Los Angeles home she shared with Monjack, where paramedics arrived after the actress' mother allegedly discovered her unconscious in the shower.
According to TMZ.com, Murphy could not be revived by paramedics and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
The actress' publicist Nicole Perna confirms the tragedy, but has not elaborated on the circumstances surrounding Murphy's death, telling WENN, "In this time of sadness, the family thanks you for your love and support. It is their wish that you respect their privacy."
Murphy's acting career began in the 1990s with small television, commercial and film roles. Her big break came when she landed a leading role in teen hit Clueless alongside Alicia Silverstone in 1995.
She is also well known for starring in Eminem's 8 Mile and comic-book adaptation Sin City.
The late star provided the voices for several animated characters, including Luanne Platter on more than 200 episodes of U.S. TV series King of the Hill and Gloria the penguin in 2006 film Happy Feet. That same year (06), she released the single Faster Kill Pussycat, which became a dance club hit.
Murphy recently wrapped her scenes in Sylvester Stallone's upcoming film, The Expendables, set for release next year (10).
She dated Ashton Kutcher and appeared as on-screen lovers with the hunk in 2003 comedy Just Married. The pair split the same year (03). She was later briefly engaged to production assistant Joe Macaluso in 2005, before marrying Monjack in a Jewish ceremony in 2007.
The Los Angeles Coroner’s office has launched an investigation into the cause of her death, reports RadarOnline.com.
Sin City star Brittany Murphy has wed her screenwriter boyfriend Simon Monjack.
The 29-year-old actress and Monjack were seen wearing wedding rings at a Playboy magazine event at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
A source tells UsMagazine.com, "They didn't want photographers to take pictures of their rings because they were waiting to make a formal announcement."
Murphy called off her engagement to ex-boyfriend Joe Macaluso in August 2006, following an eight-month relationship. She was also engaged to talent manager Jeff Kwatinetz for six months in 2004.
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Actress Brittany Murphy has split from her fiancé Joe Macaluso.
The pair met on the set of movie 2004 movie Little Black Book, which Murphy starred in and Macaluso was best boy, responsible for lighting and electricity, on.
They became engaged on New Year's Eve last year, but the actress hinted all was not well when quizzed on their wedding plans at the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday. Initially reluctant to discuss the relationship, she said, "Everything is going wonderful, thank you. I'm just living every moment, you know, enjoying my day."
Today Murphy's representative told People magazine they have "amicably ended their engagement. They remain close friends and wish each other much happiness."
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Brittany Murphy is planning another wedding after getting engaged to boyfriend Joe Macaluso.
The actress accepted the young producer's proposal over Christmas and is now reportedly sporting a Tiffany diamond on her ring finger.
The couple met when Murphy was shooting the 2004 romantic comedy Little Black Book, on which Macaluso was working as a production assistant.
The actress ended her engagement to Jeff Kwatinetz in 2004.
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.