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.
The Braveheart star has endured a tough year which saw him split from his girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his young daughter Lucia, and the nasty break-up played out in public.
Grigorieva fanned the flames of the former couple's custody battle by accusing Gibson of beating her in a violent altercation in January (10), while tape recordings of their bitter arguments hit headlines across the world.
Gibson now looks set to make light of his troubles with a big screen comeback in the highly-anticipated follow-up to the hit 2009 movie, which sees the action transferred from Las Vegas to Thailand.
A source tells New York Post gossip column Page Six, "It's a done deal. Mel will make a cameo as a tattoo artist. Filming is taking place on the Warner Bros. lot, where a Bangkok set has been built, and Mel is expected to film his role in two weeks. Then the production moves to Thailand at the end of October."
The news comes just days after cast member Sasha Barrese teased fans about an "unbelievable" surprise guest, which prompted speculation shamed golfer Tiger Woods would be making an appearance in the film.
He said, "It's the best cameo you've ever seen in your entire life. It's a guy. That's all I'm going to say. It's the best."
The first film, starring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha and Ed Helms, featured a famous cameo slot from boxing legend Mike Tyson.
The actress played Jade in the first film and was slated to reprise her role in The Hangover 2, but Warner Brothers bosses have revealed she won't be joining Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ed Helms and Ken Jeong in the sequel.
A studio spokesman tells Eonline.com, "Unfortunately Heather won't be in the sequel; they way the story unfolds doesn't allow any room for her character to show up. I don't want to reveal to much of the film, but once you see it you'll understand."
The move will be a blow to Graham, who made it clear she was desperate to be a part of a sequel last year (09) - she told the website she'd like to play a pregnant stripper: "I think (Ed Helms' character) Stu should get her pregnant, and that she should do a pregnant strip dance. I know it sounds so wrong, but it sounds so right."
Meanwhile, cast member Sasha Barrese has started teasing fans about a very big "unbelievable" surprise guest: "It's the best cameo you've ever seen in your entire life. It's a guy. That's all I'm going to say. It's the best."
That guy could be Tiger Woods - director Todd Phillips announced he wanted the disgraced golfer for the sequel last year (09).
He told HollyScoop.com, "We are going to try and get Tiger Woods for the second one... and help him regain his image."
Steve Carell, Ellie Kemper, Zach Woods and their characters' Dunder Mifflin co-workers will host a Glee viewing party for the 11 November (10) episode, reports the New York Post.
Executive producer Paul Lieberstein says NBC executives "weren't thrilled" by the idea, even though they didn't axe the tribute.
But Glee creators Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy happily signed off on featuring The Office stars watching scenes from the hit FOX show.
Lieberstein tells the New York Post, "They're (Glee creators) always so supportive and creatively understanding that when we get really excited about something, they let us do it."
Lieberstein explained he chose Glee because the show has become a pop culture "phenomenon", and he's hoping the tribute will get big laughs, adding, "We watch a lot of TV, we watch 'Glee.' We like it... I don't know - someone said the words 'Glee viewing party', and it just made us laugh so hard that we had to do it."
Played Geets Wilson for one episode of "My Wife, the Ghost"
Played Gabe Lewis in "The Office"
Played Jared on "Silicon Valley"
New York University
"I haven’t really trained as an actor, so the only really acting training that I have are things that I’ve adapted from improv or whatever intuitive acting skills I have so I better improvise because that’s what I’ve spent ten years honing, that’s my commodity to market in an audition, so I would try to do it as much as possible." - May 4th 2012 interview with Bill Hines on splitsider.com