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.
Tori Spelling is wasting no time in becoming a mother after marrying actor Dean McDermott in May--she's already pregnant, according to reports.
The former Beverly Hills, 90210 star reportedly blurted out the happy news during a recent trip to trendy Hollywood maternity store Petit Tresor, according to Life & Style magazine.
This will be 33-year-old Spelling's first child, and the news comes less than a month after the death of the actress' father, TV mogul Aaron Spelling.
The new baby will join McDermott's children Lola and Jack Montgomery.
Spelling Misses Out on ‘Chicago’
Tori Spelling has missed out on the chance to take to the Broadway stage with R&B hunk Usher after losing out on a starring role in musical Chicago to sexy Bianca Marroquin.
Marroquin, who has starred as Roxie Hart in productions of Chicago on Broadway and in Mexico City, will reprise the role when Rita Wilson hands over the part next month.
Reports suggested newlywed Spelling was considering taking the role, opposite Usher's Billy Flynn.
Marroquin won New Revelation and Best Actress honors from the Mexican Critics Association for her role as Roxie Hart.
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
Beverly Hills, 90210 star Tori Spelling is in talks with the producers of Chicago to star as Roxie Hart on the Broadway stage.
Spelling would team up with R&B superstar Usher, who has already signed on as slick lawyer Billy Flynn.
The star is currently negotiating with the husband-and-wife producing team of Barry and Fran Weissler to take over the role from Rita Wilson.
The couple have managed to persuade a variety of celebrities from other realms of the entertainment industry to appear on the New York stage including Brooke Shields, Melanie Griffith, Huey Lewis and Billy Zane.
Spelling would take over the role at the end of August.
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
Get ready for some more alien fun. When we last saw Agent Jay (Will Smith) he was a greenhorn in the ways of the Men in Black organization--the highly funded yet unofficial government agency that polices all things alien on Earth. His mentor and partner Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) decided to call it quits and had his memory "neurolized" so he wouldn't remember any of the fun alien adventures he had. Now five years later Jay is on top of his game. He's the king bee at MIB but he can't seem to find a partner as worthy as Kay. That's about to change. When a particularly nasty Kylothian monster named Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle) lands on Earth takes over MIB headquarters and generally causes a major ruckus (all in the body of a lingerie model) only one man has the power to stop her--Kay. Time to get the old man out of retirement. With the help of a beautiful young woman Rita (Rosario Dawson) who becomes an innocent eyewitness involved with MIB's operation as well as Jay's love interest Kay's memory is restored and he reteams with his partner to kick some alien booty.
It's all about chemistry folks. When it works between two actors it makes all the difference in the world. Smith and Jones fit like an old glove in this sequel and you can tell right away the two of them had a lot of fun revisiting their alter-agents. But it seems Smith has taken his character further than Jones. Jay is no longer the novice but rather the all-knowing professional and Smith plays it right even showing how the character is beginning to feel the isolation the job entails. Still he hasn't totally become the cold and impersonal agent like his former partner--he still likes to paint a rosy picture for the everyday folks he has to neurolize. Jones' Kay has a few more lines in his face but doesn't offer much more than the hardened persona we saw before either as a civilian postal worker scolding his patrons on how to properly wrapped a package or as a super-agent blowing the head off of an alien (knowing it will grow back). Boyle has a blast playing the sexy villain but who wouldn't have fun walking around in black leather and chomping up the neighborhood? As well Dawson takes the ingenue role and gives it something extra. It is also nice to see some familiar faces particularly Tony Shalhoub as the alien jewelry owner Jeebs and David Cross as Newton the hapless morgue worker from the original now a video store owner.
Men in Black II does not surpass the original. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what is missing from the sequel that the original had. It could just be that the first Men in Black was fresh and new. Still director Barry Sonnenfeld inherently understands he can't reinvent the wheel. The slick sequel offers plenty to make it worth seeing and it certainly adds to the elements that made the original so much fun. This time around it's got more laughs and less gooey mess. Returning characters such as Frank the talking Pug (who houses a wisecracking alien) and those lovable "worm guys " who have now gotten kicked out of MIB headquarters for trying to rob the Duty Free shop have more screen time in the sequel and they milk it stealing every scene they are in. Hearing the dog sing Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" while sticking his head out of the window of Jay's car is priceless. The film even gets to poke fun at those celebrities we all suspect might be aliens (we won't give it away). The gadgets and cool effects are plentiful as well but the film really relies on the humor more than anything else--thank goodness.