DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Marvel Comics Adaptation Arrives on DVD
Directed by four-time Oscar-nominee Kenneth Branagh, this worthwhile adaptation was stars Aussie Chris Hemsworth in the title role. Plus, its supporting ensemble is stacked with an abundance of accomplished thespians, including Academy Award-winners Natalie Portman (for Black Swan) and Anthony Hopkins (for The Silence of the Lambs), as well as Rene Russo, Jeremy Renner, Stellan Skarsgard, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba and Colm Feore.
A virtually-seamless mix of live-action and animated special effects, the film unfolds in line with the genre’s familiar “origins” formula. Thus, it is primarily concerned with Thor’s back story and with setting us up for the sequel, The Avengers, which is already slated for a spring 2012 release.
This episode unfolds in Asgard, a remote realm of the universe where we find aging King Odin (Hopkins) weighing which of his two heirs, Thor or Loki (Tom Hiddleston), to crown as his replacement. He makes up his mind when the former’s warlike nature fractures the nation’s fragile peace with a neighboring race of creatures called the Frost Giants.
And Odin subsequently decides to teach his bellicose son a lesson by banishing him to Earth, but not before separating him from his mighty hammer. When Thor crash lands in New Mexico, he is hit by a car containing a trio of stargazers: his obvious, future love interest, Jane Foster (Portman); her ditzy sidekick, Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings); and astrophysicist Dr. Erik Selvig (Skarsgard).
Reduced to a mere mortal on this planet, a frustrated Thor is forced to recuperate in a hospital until he’s well enough to mount a search for the trusty hammer his father has tossed elsewhere in the desert. Meanwhile, trouble’s brewing back on Asgard where it has come to light that Loki is not really his brother, but the adopted evil seed of Laufey (Feore), the diabolical Lord of the Frost Giants.
Can Thor find his fearsome mallet and figure out how to hightail it back to his home planet in time for an epic showdown to prevent the pretender from ascending to the throne? Not merely an entertaining intro to Thor, but a roots adventure cleverly laying the groundwork for what’s in store from The Avengers and numerous other planned extensions of the Marvel franchise.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for intense action and violence.
Running time: 115 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Limited 3-D Edition Combo Pack Extras: 3-D blu-ray, 2-D blu-ray, DVD and digital copies of the film; commentary by director Kenneth Branagh;7 “Making-of” featurettes; 11 deleted scenes with optional commentary; a short entitled Marvel One-Shot; Road to The Avengers; and trailers.
Friday, September 9, 2011
DVD Review by Kam Williams