My Kingdom For a Norse…

An Active3D Movie Review: THOR 3-D

Rating (out of 5 stars): **

Hammering the message home is Australian soapie star Chris Hemsworth.

It’s very difficult, as a grown-up, to review a movie this silly. But it’s based upon a Marvel Comics character, and I know that I’m supposed to show due respect…

I dunno; Superman and Batman I could somehow swallow, but when characters from ancient Norse religion come into contact with modern-day USA, then I’m left wondering whether the creators (and yes, I know that we’re talking here of the revered Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Larry Leiber) weren’t chewing on the bark of a very exotic tree.

The last time (I think) that a similar cinematic event took place, was when Olivia Newton-John slipped away from the realm of the Greek gods to romance Michael Beck in Xanadu. And that movie, lovely songs and an embarrassed-looking Gene Kelly aside, was really very silly indeed!

But the producers have taken this production very seriously – to the extent that Kenneth Branagh was asked to direct (no doubt, to explore the piece’s Shakespearean dimensions, which are many). The film is also blessed with a very strong cast, from Natalie Portman to Anthony Hopkins, Colm Feore to Stellan Skarsgård – although they pretty much troll through the film in a somnambulistic haze; no doubt thinking about what they’ll do with their pay cheques.

Playing Thor is Oz actor and graduate of the Australian soapie, Neighbours, Chris Hemsworth, a blonde pin-up boy who’ll enjoy his place in the sun until something younger and prettier turns up in a few years’ time. The real revelation of the film is Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Thor’s brother, who has taken the Shakespearean nature of the tale so seriously that he lends the entire production a gravitas and dignity that one might never have expected from such fluff.

The 3-D is particularly impressive when we find ourselves in the computer-generated kingdom of the Norse gods. Many of the US location scenes are shot in hyperstereo (in order to exaggerate the 3-D effect) but this ends up making everything look dwarfy – so that a pickup truck driving through the countryside looks like a dinky car. But that’s what comes of placing your left and right lenses so far apart… The truth is that we can’t discern 3-D after about 20 metres, so landscapes and other far-off scenes don’t “read” in 3-D. My view on that is, if distant scenes don’t appear 3-D in real life, why force them to do so in 3-D movies? And just because a movie is 3-D doesn’t mean that every single moment of screen time has to ‘pop’ or recede! In Disney’s Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert, the studio pulls a smart trick by running arbitrary interview and backstage footage in 2-D. That way, when we cut back to the concert, the 3-D carries more ‘wow’.

Considering that I was expecting to be bored out of my mind, the film was surprisingly entertaining, perhaps largely because I had a regular chortle at the campy costumes that looked as if they were copied from action figures – instead of the other way around. And finally, the film’s title made complete sense as, running at almost two hours, it left my backside feeling rather “thor”…


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