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Thor (2011)
Courage is immortal.
Director: Kenneth Branagh

Against his father Odin's will, The Mighty Thor - a powerful but arrogant warrior god - recklessly reignites an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.

Thor (2011)

Shakespeare, Shouted

I continue to maintain that the least imaginative and cinematically effective production group is not Michael Bay‘s, Jerry Bruckheimer‘s, or that gleeful combination of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. It is Marvel, who time after time think a hard punch is an effective punch, colour is the same as effect and shout equals passion. Their use of the visual art of cinema is roundly uncinematic, just as Shanghai is profoundly dumb architecturally and for the same reason.

They know this, and also know that their films may not be remembered kindly – affecting aftermarket sales. Of all the entertainment businesses, Marvel knows that markets change and the real moneymakers are those that can be sold into new media pockets.

So what do they do? Well, I have seen two Marvels this summer. With the latest X, they decided to add some story for a change.

But here they tried another tack, and it is worth noting. The dramatic world of Marvel is Greek with teen angst added in and everything taken to excess. There clearly was a market for that. But since the production of the films is so tightly controlled and homogeneous, to sell more tickets, you need a differentiator. The angst and volume is already stretched as far as they know how, so why not stretch the dramatic centre from Sophocles to Shakespeare. So bring in Branagh and allow him to populate the thing with actors who can appear ‘Shakespearean.‘

It is less important that we actually witness Shakespeare, the folds, introspections and narrative loops, than we think we do, we get stentorian presence. No one is going to deride Anthony Hopkins for this, because he is a lost cause among serious actors. But the real tragedy is Ms Portman, who with Skarsgaard can really act and who knows how to support a vision like Kenneth would have for his ‘Hamlet.‘ But that is not his job here. His job is to take loud things and give them the smell of Shakespeare.

Natalie, like her character, can only watch in horror as this is visited on her, and disaster is grown.

Posted in 2011

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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