Saturday, 7 April 2012


The third April 2012 film review begins with a film I considered going to see in theatre, the Kenneth Branagh directed Thor and a tremendous CGI epic it is with a convincing cast and an easily digestible story of a Cain and an Able although in this instance the one of the brothers learns only when an adult that he was adopted during conquest. The film was converted to 3D post production which means one gets the perspective without being bombarded with gimmicky stuff coming at you all the time.

The story is based on a Marvel comic character which in turn is based on ancient Norse myths of the God Odin and one of his sons Thor. For the purpose of the film Odin is not a God but king of an advanced development planet with the ability to travel between the 8 other planetary systems with life forms through a portal which has a 24 hour guardian to ensure that it use is only available to those authorised by the King.

Odin is a war lord type of being who is also wise and cultured and able to perform acts of magic. The story begins 1000 years ago when the Frost giant of the planet Jotunheim comes to earth in a bid to conquer the known worlds. This race the ability turns people as well as matter to ice threatening new ice age. The earth was saved through the arrival of Odin and forces who then went to the homeworld and defeated them returning with the source of the power and also the son of the defeated leader. He then concentrated on establishing and maintaining peace. His first born Thor is a headstrong young man, self confident ambitious and too full of himself who is to be named by his father as his official successor. His brother is less physical, artful and a schemer who skilled in magic so he can create holographic replicas of himself and secret mobility and most significantly is resentful of the position of his brother. In order to disrupt the great ceremony is gets some of enemies of Kingdom onto the planet with a view to take back the instrument of power removed the centuries before. His main purpose is to disrupt the ceremony and by dealing with the intruders show his father he is just as worthy of being King.

He then eggs on his brother and the close friends to undertake a raid on the enemy in retaliation for their but despite great valour it is Odin who has to come to rescue. He decides that Thor is not ready for the position as official heir and strips him of his power. He banishes his son sending him to earth with only human powers but he also send the hammer, a kind of Arthurian Sword but with great powers.

Dazed from his landing and situation he is hit by a vehicle driven by a research team led by Natalie Portman as an astrophysicist and take him to hospital where he breaks out although quickly finds he does not have his former strength. The authorities called S.H,I.E,L,D raid Portman’s centre and remove all her equipment and records giving her a cheque to cover the loss and start again.

There is the news of the arrival of the hammer the Mjolnir which is embedded and the local rednecks try to dislodge including using a tow truck. The authorities arrive called SHIELD and eventually Thor makes his way to the now heavily protected site but manages to gain access but is unable to dislodge the hammer. He is taken into custody and treated as a trained mercenary. He is released through the help of Portman’s chief assistant/adviser.

Meanwhile there have been developments back on Asgard. Odin reveals that Loki is not his natural son but that of the leader of the Jotunheim and he falls into a form of coma Odinsleep watched over by his wife. Loki assumes the role of the King and pretends to Thor’s followers that the King’s wife has confirmed that the banishment should remain. He orders the travel Gatekeeper to keep the portal closed and he then visits the enemy to do a deal to allow a select brought enter Asgard retrieve their instrument of power and kill Odin. He visits earth and tells Thor has his father is dead, he has been confirmed king and the banishment confirmed.

Not prepared to accept this situation Thor‘s friends come to earth rather than submit to the new regime with the Gatekeeper agreeing to help them. For his actions he is frozen and Loki to earth a powerful robot to destroy his adversaries. Meanwhile Thor has come to terms with his limitations and the rashness and boorishness of his behaviour. He sacrifices himself, apologising to his father for his failures, in order that the blood shedding on earth with stop. This has the consequence of rousing Thor from his condition and releasing the hammer to Thor as he appears to die. This has the effect of enabling him to destroy the robotic creature,

He has established an emotional relationship with Portman. He promises to return for her after he has sorted out the situation in the homeland. He is able to help the Gatekeeper free himself to open the gate. Meanwhile Loki has allowed into the kingdom Laurel and his assistants but kills the man before he kills his father. He hopes by this act to impress Odin and his Odin’s wife. He also sets about using the available powers to destroy the Jotenheim and refuses the appeal of Thor to stop. The two men fight and in order to stop the destruction of enemy Thor has to break the bridge to the portal thus also preventing his immediate return to earth and Portman. It is necessary for Odin to once more rescue his sons but Loki refuses to accept the situation and appears to end his life by refusing to accept the hand preventing him falling into endless space.

Thor is returned as the heir apparent but he is sorrowful with the loss of his brother and his inability to return for Portman. Before department he had managed to get the note book records taken by the SHIELD and he then persuaded the earth defenders to return all her equipment and allow her to continue her work. There is a long period of credits before the film ends but waiting until completion is rewarded by what appears to be a trailer for a second part. This shows Portman’s assistant being invited to work at the SHIELD research centre where it appears they are now close to creating a portal to Asgard and the rest of the galaxy. The sequel is scheduled for release in 2012 although Branagh will not direct. This will be undertaken by the Director Game of Thrones and the Boardwalk Empire.

I was impressed with the visual creativity of the Asgard capital city. The story was always engaging and central with the CGI effect supplemental rather than overwhelming and the use of post Production 3D effect. The quality of the acting performance and the script were also important. In addition to Natalie Portman Chris Hemsworth played Thor and Tom Hiddleston creditable as Loki. Sir Anthony Hopkins is Odin and Colm Feore Laufey.

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