Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Off the List: Thor

As I have been wont to do of late, I swung by a Redbox kiosk on my way home and picked up a couple of DVDs. One of them was Thor, which I just finished. To be honest, I went into this not expecting much. I've never been a huge Thor fan, and the trailers made it seem really corny to me. And, to an extent, it was sort of corny, but it was also absurdly well written and acted for something as potentially ludicrous as it was. The filmmakers did an exceptional job making the elements of Norse myth fit into a science fiction (rather than fantasy or straight comic book) take on a comic book setting. Of particular note was their treatment of Yggdrasil, the World Tree, which was actually (incredibly minor spoiler) a star map. The other thing I thought was remarkable was just how well a batch of little-known actors did with the film. Natalie Portman was really the only movie star in this film, and she was in a supporting role. I'm amazed I'm saying it, but it was a legitimately good movie, and worth seeing.

RPG notes: Surprisingly, there's not all that much to be cribbed from Thor, except the old trope of "Any technology, sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic." (Arthur C. Clarke) This manifested itself in some subtle and interesting ways, such as the aforementioned example of Yggdrasil and the Rainbow Bridge. Asgard itself seemed to almost be a space station of sorts. The rest of the film was fairly standard fish-out-of water tropes as Thor had to cope with being "merely human," though that part of the film does do a lot to make the case for a god stripped of his powers and cast down to live amongst mortals until he atones for some misdeed as a fun story element. Also: Loki is a fantastic example of a sympathetic manipulator villain. Those wanting to create such adversaries should watch with a notepad handy.


  1. Interesting review. One point, though: Natalie Portman is by far not the only (or even most well-known) movie star in the film. Anthony Hopkins and Stellan Skarsgard, veteran character actors, bring some pretty impressive star power. Rene Russo has also been doing the Hollywood thing way longer than Natalie Portman.

  2. Rene Russo was criminally under used in this movie. And yet, I enjoyed the Hell out of it. Rainbow bridges for the win.