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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Movie Review: Thor (2011)

Wendy has been studying hard for exams lately. But last Saturday she powered through one whole module of her subject and finished it earlier than expected. That gave us more time to 'hang kai' on a Saturday evening.. =)
Since we hadn't watched a movie in awhile and saw that we were quite far behind on movies, we decided to catch Thor at Cathay Cineplex, e@Curve.

I usually have nothing to complain about Cathay screens; the seats are comfortable and roomy. But this time we were treated to the unwelcome arrival of technical glitches with about 20 minutes left in the movie. At that point, the voices became muffled, like the people were speaking from far away. Everything else like the sound and music was okay, just the voices were affected. You can imagine how annoying that was, especially when it happened right at the climax!! -__-" 

Anyway, we still managed to finish the movie with some voice left. At some points I was reading the subtitles to be sure of what they were saying...

Anyway, Thor is about this man called Thor (doh!) who lives on the planet Asgard. The movie begins by showing him and his brother Loki growing up under the guidance of their father, Odin.

Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins, and his two sons.

Odin teaches them many things, but chief amongst them is about the history of war between the people of Asgard against the frost people of Jotunheim. Thor finally grows up to inherit the kingdom from his father, but on the day of the ceremony, 3 frost people try to steal their most precious weapon from Asgard, thus interrupting the handover ceremony. Thor disobeys his father and goes directly to Jotunheim with his brother and closest friends to seek answers, but ultimately starts a fight with countless frost people.

Just before they are all defeated, Odin arrives and saves them, but is so angry at Thor that he banishes him to Earth until he learns true humility and is worthy to be king. It is on Earth that Thor meets Jane and her team of scientists, and so the story follows Thor as he tries to become the man his father wants him to be, and return to Asgard.

Thor is actually a character adapted from a marvel comic. To be honest, I've never followed his stories, so I can't say whether this can be counted as a good adaptation. As a movie though, Thor is well worth a watch. Here's why.

1) Thor Is A Real Beefy Dude
For the ladies who love to see big, muscular men, then this show is for you! It was already widely reported before the movie launched that Chris Hemsworth (who plays Thor) had actually taken his workout regime so seriously that his costume couldn't fit because he had bulked up too much! (You can read about that here).

The dude is ripped.

So ladies, wipe that drool off your chins, because I know you're thinking about those rock hard abs and arms that you want to see on the big screen. In just that one scene where he walks out wearing only a pair of jeans and nothing else...even I had to

2) There's Good Humour!
This was something unexpected, but something that we were happy about. There are actually quite many funny scenes in the beginning when Thor first lands on Earth in the beginning of the show. I won't spoil it for you so I won't mention any here, but the insertion of some humour does help to ease the audience through the otherwise-boring beginnings as the movie builds towards the climax. 

3) Good Acting

The beautiful Natalie Portman.

She's so pretty we must put TWO pics!

Oscar-Winner-For-Best-Actress-2010 Natalie Portman plays Jane, so don't worry guys there's someone for us to ogle at too. Unfortunately there's nothing sexy about her role here, and she doesn't take off her clothes ala Hemsworth. (say it with me guys - "Awwwwww"). But she and Hemsworth do work well together to create some believable chemistry between them. Portman does well to act like the little schoolgirl with a big crush, while all Hemsworth has to do is stand there looking like a Grecian God which isn't hard seeing how buff he is!

The two had good chemistry from the first scene to the last.

Besides standing around looking buff, Hemsworth was believable as the lead character; he looked every bit a Norse God, and his deep voice sounded every bit like the God of Thunder. He showed some fine comedic timing and did well through some challenging scenes especially as he realized he wasn't invincible.

Another actor that has to be singled out would be Tom Hiddleston, who played the role of Thor's brother, Loki. Hiddleston proved his acting chops as the plot unraveled through the display of his silent contempt towards his brother and the urge to outshine Thor for Odin's approval. He, and Hemsworth also worked rather well together - the casting too worked well, because even visually, the two were as night and day. Hemsworth blonde, brash and righteous, Hiddleston dark, calculative and vengeful.

Tom Hiddleston as Loki, who initally tried out for the lead role of Thor as well.

4) Stunning Visuals

Of course, there's nothing worth raving about the scenes on Earth unless you particularly enjoy Godzilla-like monsters terrorizing a city. But the scenes in Asgard and Jotunheim are just visually stunning; a real feast on the eyes. Asgard looks every bit the proud, victorious, flourising city, while Jotunheim on the other hand looks like the dark, vanquished city languishing in semi-ruin. Lots of gold and yellow colours and shiny brass help emphasize Asgard's prestige, while the shadowy frost people of Jotunheim kind of remind me of Lord Voldemort. Laugh if you want, but after watching it I'll bet you agree with me!

So there you go - 4 reasons why you should watch Thor this weekend. If there's anything I would gripe about the show, I would gripe about Mjolnir, which is Thor's special weapon that helps him control thunder and lightning. To me it looked so damn small that it looked like a little toy in Hemsworth's hands! Hardly something to be fearful about, let alone believe that it can control the skies.

Maybe it was because Chris Hemsworth was so big that Mjolnir looked tiny.

Thor's brothers in war, the Warriors Three who provided in comic relief, but not as much in storyline.

You didn't think there was only Nataile Portman worth looking at, did you? Jaimie Alexander plays the female warrior Sif, whom along with the Warriors Three, help Thor throughout the movie.

Other moans include a lack of focus on Jane or Thor's friends (notice I haven't mentioned them at all in the review except these pics?), but that's common I guess for a movie adaptation. There just isn't enough time to give justice to every character.

And finally, although I talked about how beautiful and advanced Asgard is, for a civilization that can travel to different planets at will, they still ride horses?!?! This is another example of fiction not making sense. I would at least appreciate the level of technology in science fiction movies to be standard throughout, not have astrophysics that are way beyond our current years but transport that takes us back to the 1800s!  Ah well,  hopefully by Thor 2 they'll be rolling in a Prius at least.. =)

My rating : 3 stars out of 5.

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