It’s True Confessions time, and I have two of them today.
First, when I was a wee lad my only comic book interest (this is before they became known as “graphic novels”) was the Thor series from Marvel.
Modern myths of Krypton and Gotham City aside, I remember being intrigued with the fact that here was a contemporary “superhero” with classic, historical literary roots, which made the story have far more appeal to me.
And the second confession is that, even today, I have an undiagnosed but authentic approach-avoidance relationship with superhero films. (Okay, we all have our guilty pleasures, don’t we?)
So imagine my surprise when those few of us who sat through the interminable credits of Iron Man 2 saw an appended scene at the very end, in which the camera pans down and gives the vigilant viewer (it fades to black quickly) a glimpse of — wait for it — Thor’s hammer! (A true case of non sequitur meets deus ex machina !)
I took this to mean that the “Comic-Book-to-Movie” Hollywood juggernaut had finally discovered another potentially lucrative franchise, and my first excited thought was, “What took them so long?”
So, yes, there is a live-action film version of Thor, currently set for release 6 May 2011, which is now listed as in “post-production” — meaning they’ve finished the major shooting, and it’s time to hunker down for a year’s worth of CGI, thank you very much.
The movie, directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh, will star relative newcomer Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek) as both the be-hammered Norse god of thunder and (from the conceit of the comic book) his alter ego Dr. Donald Blake.
Natalie Portman will play Blake’s love interest Jane Foster, upgraded from her comic book career as a nurse to a21st-century PC-appropriate “doctor/scientist type” for the film.
Other cinematic gods in this film’s pantheon include Sir Anthony Hopkins (Odin) and Rene Russo (Frigga).
So, we wait for the digital 3D film so we may involuntarily gasp and duck when Thor throws his hammer directly at us. (You know he will!) Approach-avoidance, indeed!
METACRITIC RATING: ?
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo
Genre: Action | Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Release Date: 6 May 2011
Rating: Not yet rated.
Partially disabled medical student Dr. Donald Blake discovers his heretofore unknown true form, Thor, the Norse god of thunder. Thor is Marvel’s stab at an epic fantasy adventure, spanning from present-day Earth to the realm of Asgard. The story centers on Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. As punishment, Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans. But once here, he 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. (Marvel Studios)
Sir Kenneth Branagh on Thor :
“Growing up, my single comic book passion was Thor . From my time in Belfast as a kid, that’s the first time I came across that comic, really, exclusively, I don’t know why, but it struck a chord. I was drawn to it. I liked all the dynastic drama.
“Inspired by the comic book world both pictorially and compositionally at once, we’ve tried to find a way to make a virtue and a celebration of the distinction between the worlds that exist in the film but absolutely make them live in the same world. It’s about finding the framing style, the color palette, finding the texture and the amount of camera movement that helps celebrate and express the differences and the distinctions in those worlds. If it succeeds, it will mark this film as different. The combination of the primitive and the sophisticated, the ancient and the modern, I think that potentially is the exciting fusion, the exciting tension in the film.
“What’s surprising and delighting me is the way the cast, the ensemble, has fused together. It’s kind of an interesting combination of very young and very experienced people and the double-up of that, it seems to me, is there is a lot of fire in the movie. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, it doesn’t try to be too solemn.”