Monday, May 30, 2011

Thoughts on Thor and Movie Theaters These Days with the Previews and the Loud and the I Don't Know What

...I liked it! Roger Ebert was all, "it doesn't stack up to more epically serious superhero movies of recent times, like The Dark Knight or Spiderman," but I say GOOD. This is about a dethroned Norse God traipsing around Earth. I don't want gritty Gotham skyscrapers or emo-pants Peter Parker whining up the joint.

Pauline Kael (because I never have ever mentioned her here before) once said, and boy am I paraphrasing, "if you can't appreciate good trash, you can't appreciate the movies." And that is exactly what Thor is. Good trash.

There were some things that bothered me, sure. I really like the relationship between Chris Hemsworth's titular beefcake and N.Po's Jane Foster, but we should have seen more of a build-up to it. There was that sort of squashy scene around the fire where they talk sexily about science and magic (an aphrodisiac thrown out there for all D&D players?), but is that really enough to highlight why Thor suddenly decides to become one a'them long-haired peace-niks instead of one a'them long-haired Viking warriors?

I mean, Branagh should have at least included a scene where Jane shoots him a run-down about why violence be bad, and how everybody should get together and lurve one another (while giving his abs the once-over), so we could at least see how that seed first gets planted in his mind. As played out on screen, I interpreted his change of heart stemming from how his inability to pick up his hammer and finding out Loki's taken charge of Asgard humbled (i.e. damn humiliated) him. So I was a little surprised everyone started crediting this newer, genter Thor to the love of a good mortal woomin.

But like I said, I warmed to their relationship anyways, because of Hemsworth and Portman's performances. I hate to say, I always thought Portman, though obviously an adequate and occasionally strong actress, was a little low on charm--her slightly tinny voice can really grate on the nerves--but she brought a silly, harried, fun quality to Jane that immediately made her likable. And I found Hemsworth attractive, so what? My mom and I originally wanted to see the movie because of our mutual creepy (on my part) crush on Anthony Hopkins, but Hemsworth weren't nothin' to spit at.

And it's not because I specifically go for that blond, buff body type. I don't, actually. In fact, if he had spoken in a Sly Stallone or Vin Diesel monotone rumble, I most definitely would have been all blech with him. But he brought the proper gravitas and clear diction to his role, and so, basically, it worked.

I also liked how they didn't make Loki a black-and-white bad bad bad guy. Fits into his original mythological role of taking moral ambiguity to Catwoman-level heights. Hey, when he was king, did he remind anybody else very vaguely of The Monarch from The Venture Bros? I mean, obviously the outfit's not exactly the same, but the way he wore it on his slight frame and with his slicked back dark hair...if he'd had but a nasal voice and a floating cocoon...well, anywho.

But: I now have a reason aside from my crippling poverty as to why I should skip movie theaters and just wait for everything I want to see to come out on Netflix. And that reason is movie theaters suck. At the risk of sounding like a geriatric misanthrope--which deep in my black, twisted heart, I truly am--I maintain the movie itself was shorter than the combined commercials/previews. And gah! The loud! So loud! Everything was loud! Once the previews started, it was like Green Lantern wanted my ear drums to explode! You're supposed to use the ring for good, not booming and clanging and car throwing and so forth! Don't be a Sinestro, GL! C'mon!

And what's with that self-serve butter dispenser crap for the popcorn at the theater we went to? You can't do that to someone like me. I won't stop! I need mediation, or I'll go too far! So my kernels ended up way too saturated, and I felt like liquid death afterward.

And what about that airline food, anyways? And what about Scarecrow's brain?

Also: was it another unique trait of the theater we went to that the chairs were super fancy? You could recline in them and put your feet up and everything. We attended the 2-D showing, but I noticed we were in the same theater as the 3-D viewings. Are awesome chairs a general commodity in 3-D theaters? Because I'm still not going to 3-D movies, yo.

Poor Rene Russo didn't get a lot to do, did she?


  1. I like that Thor had little bits and pieces that made it different from the run-of-the-mill, cookie-cutter superhero movie, among them the fact that the romantic subplot was SO underdeveloped. I can imagine Branagh saying to studio execs: "OK, I know there has to be SOME romance in this, so I'll put in one or two mildly-interesting scenes and leave all the good stuff for the other relationships. Sound good?" The whole romance aspect could've been cut, and while I'm not surprised it wasn't, I like that Branagh didn't try and devote too much screen time to something that didn't work from the get-go.

    I also loved how Loki wasn't just some regular bad guy--sure, he betrayed his family, but to protect Asgard! Not quite sure why he did what he did at the end, as it was never clear what exactly his punishment would be for trying to destroy Asgard's enemies once and for all. Thor attacked their King and killed their cave troll, and he basically just got grounded.

    My brother had the same complaint about seeing Thor: That it's just so LOUD. It wasn't for me, but I take my hearing aids out when I go to the movies specifically so my eardrums won't split. Hearing loss: A natural advantage for cinephiles. :)

    I saw Thor in 3D because it wasn't playing at my theater in 2D. It was the first time I'd seen a live-action movie in 3D, and may I just say: LAAAME. Color was too dark, and any time I noticed that the 3D was even there, I just found it really fucking distracting. WHAT'S THE POINT?!

  2. I can totally see Branagh saying that. Speaking of whom, wouldn't you have loved being a fly on the wall during filming, watching Kenneth Branagh directing Kat Dennings talking about her iPod? Such a weird disconnect there, priceless.

    My guess is Loki woulda been banished, too, so, yeah, what's the deal with what you did at the end there, Loki? Gettin' exiled's not that bad. Thor was, and he got to make out with Natalie Portman AND come back to Asgard after eating a bunch of pop tars. Not a crummy deal, when you come right down to it.

    What is the point of 3D? From what I understand, the effects aren't that clear, like you point out, and why would I want to feel like Thor's hammer is going to crush my head? Because I don't, really.

  3. Branagh and Kat Dennings are now my second favorite theoretical IRL BFF OTP (yay, acronyms!), second only to the IRL BFF OTP of Gary Oldman and Daniel Radcliffe, which is an IRL BFF OTP that you just can't beat!

    Especially for Loki, banishment wouldn't seem that bad, as he doesn't belong with the Asgardians OR the Frost Giants, really. And he had to have known that Odin wouldn't have killed him or anything. Sure, Odin's not the best parent, but Odin never did anything really TERRIBLE to Loki. He just seems to prefer Thor, which is shitty parenting, but as a king he seems fair.

    I'm guessing that when Loki fell he knew he wouldn't die--maybe he had some Frost Giants standing out in space with a big tarp for him to fall on (or a bouncy castle!). Seems like Loki'd have a contingency plan so that he could face exile on his own terms (and that's better for sequels anyway). Like you said, THOR was able to return from exile, and Thor isn't exactly a genius.

    I don't get why everyone's so big on 3D now. It was a fad a few decades ago ('50s, I think? Too lazy to look it up), and people say the big reason it failed was because the technology was awful. But technology's better now, and there's STILL no reason for 99.9999% of films to be in 3D! When I hear people talk about 3D films, they generally only bring up the 3D if it's badly done. I saw Avatar in 2D, and I doubt the 3D would've made the story, dialogue or characters any less awful.

    And don't get me started on 3D ticket surcharges. If I'm considering paying $12.00 to see The Green Hornet, you can be damn sure that if I have to pay $18 instead to see it in 3D, I'll just go home watch something on Netflix.

  4. "Branagh and Kat Dennings are now my second favorite theoretical IRL BFF OTP (yay, acronyms!)"
    Hee, this! I dunno, there's something about the idea of a Shakespearean director palling around with a doofy hipster girl that brings a smile to my heart. I'm a sucker for opposites attract Felix/Oscar dynamics.

    Loki's definitely more tragic in this version than he's usually portrayed in mythology, but he's still the God of Mischief. So I've no doubt he had a fall-out plan just in case Odin exiled him for one of his horrific pranks. That minx.

    I have a feeling 3D will fade away again once everyone fesses up to realizing how annoying it still is. At least, that's my naive little hope.