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DVD Review: Thor

September 13, 2011

Thor – A Paramount Pictures’ Release

http://thor.marvel.com/

DVD Release Date: September 13th, 2011

Rated PG for violence, frightening scenes, not recommended for young children

Running time: 114 minutes

Kenneth Branagh (dir.)

Ashley Edward Miller (screenplay)

Zack Stentz (screenplay)

Don Payne (screenplay)

Patrick Doyle (music)

Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Natalie Portman as Jane Foster

Tom Hiddleston as Loki

Anthony Hopkins as Odin

Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig

Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis

Our reviews below:

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Thor DVD Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

With stunning visuals and excellent performances, director Kenneth Branagh’s Marvel adaptation tells us the story of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), a powerful warrior once thought to be the God of thunder.  Cast out of the realm of Asgard by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), the powerful warrior finds himself on Earth.  Helped by a brilliant astrophysicist, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her wise cracking assistant Darcy (Kat Dennings), Thor becomes a hero to humans as he fights to stop his sneaky brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) from taking over our realm of the universe.

Although based on one of the more fantastical stories in the universe of Marvel superheroes, Thor is a piece of thrilling and surprisingly smart entertainment.  The visuals of Asgard are stunning and the performances by the excellent cast – Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings are delightful personal favourites – lift the film above the level of most common blockbusters.  Also refreshing is that the main female character serves as a lot more than just the love interest.  With a sequel already in the works and the title hero set to play a big role as part of next summer’s hugely anticipated mega-blockbuster The Avengers, this debut might prove a tough act to follow.  Thor remains one of the most entertaining superhero movies of the year.

The Blu-ray includes commentary with director Kenneth Branagh, 7 featurettes, 11 deleted scenes, a promo for The Avengers and an entertaining Marvel short film titled The Consultant.  ___________________________________________________________________________

Thor DVD Review by Erin V.  

**** (out of 4)

Based on the Marvel comics, Thor tells the origin story of its title character, and helps to further set things up for next year’s Avengers spin-off.  When the film opens, we meet physicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who is studying energy anomalies in the New Mexico desert.  When a giant storm seems to tear down from the heavens, she drives into it to try to get an energy reading, but instead hits someone with her car – who turns out to be Thor (Chris Hemsworth).

Before returning to this scene, we go to Asgard to meet Thor and his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), first briefly as children, and then grown-up.  Thor is arrogant and about to be named king, when by defying his father Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) wishes, he causes a truce to be broken between the Asgardians and the Yodenhiems (Frost Giants).  His trickster brother Loki is mischievous and has grown into a real troublemaker, clearly jealous of his brother Thor’s popularity and position for the throne.  When Thor is cast onto Earth by Odin as punishment, Loki seems in some ways relieved.  It is then that Loki shows his true colours, and soon tries to use the Bi-Frost (rainbow-coloured bridge between ‘realms’) to wreck more havoc and become the king.  Meanwhile, Thor is on Earth and has run literally into Jane (or rather her car).  When S.H.E.I.D agents discover Thor’s hammer Mjulnir, and Jane’s work is brought to a halt, she gets help from Thor and together they have to find a way to get him back to Asgard before Loki destroys the balance of things there – and here.

Out of all the superhero films that came out this summer season, Thor is not so much a comic-book movie as a sci-fi/fantasy film – all the way from story to set design.  In some ways it’s the whole look and feel of the film, but even more so, I’d say that this one has the least ‘comic-book’ villain.  Loki is a fascinating character in his twisted motives, and makes an admirable adversary to Thor (if not physically, mentally).  This is all furthered by the acting by the leads which is spot-on.  Asgard is beautifully rendered, as is the Bi-Frost, and the cinematography throughout the whole film is interesting as well, favouring frequent dutch-angles at times – without being distracting.  The score by Patrick Doyle also works quite well.  For those who have already had the privilege of seeing Thor, its worth another watch, but especially if you haven’t already seen it on the big screen, this is really worth a look now that it’s come to crystal-clear Blu-Ray.

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Thor DVD Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

Based on Marvel’s The Mighty Thor, this film is sure to please fans.  When astrophyscist and alien chaser Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her assistant Darcy (Kat Dennings) accidentally hit a mysterious man with their car, they have a lot of questions.  Who is this guy and where did he come from?  Turns out he is Thor (Chris Hemsworth), whom the Vikings believed to be the god of thunder.  Being a hotheaded individual, his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) kicked him out of Asgard, a distant realm in another galaxy, down to Earth through a wormhole.

With Thor no longer in Asgard, his trickster brother Loki (Tom Hiddleson) is up to no good.  Meanwhile, back on Earth, Thor’s powerful hammer, which Odin also banished to Earth, has been generating a lof of attention.  This furthers Jane’s interest in who this Thor guy really is, which just makes her friend and associate Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellen Skarsgaard) think he is just crazy.  Can everything get sorted out before Loki makes a mess of things?

Thor is a visually stunning film.  The animation of outer space and the realm of Asgard is just gorgeous.  Asgard, as a flat world shining in gold, has a beautiful surrealist look.  Bright with a warm heavenly glow, it is a real contrast to the planet of the frost giants, which has an icy blue monotone look.  The set design and colour temperature is sure to get Thor some Oscar nominations.  The acting here is also really good.  There are also a lot of funny moments in which Thor struggles to fit into the human world.  Thor is a beautiful and exciting film that is worth owning on Blu-ray.

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Thor DVD Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

Even good-looking Norse Gods can be cut down to size by sibling rivalry.  Based on the Marvel comic, Thor is set in the stunning celestial kingdom of Asgard.  Ruled by King Odin (Anthony Hopkins) the mighty king has two sons.  Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is the eldest, and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is second in line, poised to take over the kingdom.  When Thor argues with the king over how to handle their icy enemy, King Odin banishes Thor and his mighty hammer to a time-out on planet Earth.  Of course Loki is right by Daddy’s side and knows exactly what to do.

Lucky for Thor his landing on Earth is buffered by the front of pretty astrophysicist Jane Foster’s (Natalie Portman) vehicle.  Dr. Foster, her colleague Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellen Skarsgaard) and their dry-humoured assistant, Darcy (Kat Dennings) load Thor into the van and begin to unravel the mystery of ‘who is this guy’ and ‘how is he connected to the amazing light show that occurred in the desert sky moments before he landed?’

Thor works on just about every level.  Actor Chris Hemsworth is both dead serious as the angry and confused Earth-bound God and charmingly funny as he tries to make his way around this strange world.  More coffee anyone?  Equally good are his new Earthly companions.  No surprise that Jane Foster catches Thor’s eye and Darcy is flat-out funny.  Both Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings are well cast.  In the equally important heavenly world, Anthony Hopkins and Tom Hiddleston give worthy performances as King Odin and temporary King Loki.

The action sequences are well done and the CGI world of Asgard is a beautiful fantasy creation.  The storyline moves along at a steady pace and is as believable as you can expect when dealing with a comic book hero.  Thor is plain and simple, a lot of fun to watch.  The lead-up to Marvel’s next big effort, The Avengers is evident in the post-credits scene.  Nerds and non-nerds alike can enjoy Thor.  May the Gods be with you.

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Thor DVD Review By Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is heir to the throne of Norse god Odin (Anthony Hopkins) in the heavenly realm of Asgard. His cunning brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) tricks Thor into picking a fight with the Frost Giants. An angry Odin stops the fight and casts Thor and [his mighty hammer] Mjolnir down to Earth. Scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) with colleagues Erik (Stellan Skarsgård) and Darcy (Kat Dennings), find Thor on a New Mexico site they are studying. His presence quickly comes to the attention of SHIELD Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), as well as the discovery some distance away of Mjolnir, which has proven impossible [by the unworthy] to be pulled out of the ground. Discovering Loki’s treachery, Thor’s fellow warriors Sif, Volstagg, Fandral and Hogun (Jaime Alexander, Ray Stevenson, Josh Dallas, Tadanobu Asano) come down to help him, and Loki sends the Destroyer robot to wipe them all out. Once the dust settles on Earth, all is restored to order on Asgard.

The latest Marvel Studios film featuring an Avengers superhero, Thor has similar themes to Shakespeare’s Henry V, so Kenneth Branagh is a good choice as director. As the title character, Chris Hemsworth balances great strength with charm and brashness. Hopkins,  Hiddleston, and Colm Feore (almost unrecognizable under five hours of makeup) as the Frost Giant king all handle their weighty roles well. The swashbuckling roles of Sif “and the warriors 3” provide lots of action, though I still don’t know how a Samurai (Hogun) ended up on Asgard. Back on Earth the acting is also fine, with Portman at once serious and vulnerable, Dennings and Skarsgård respectively providing comic relief and Viking lore, and Gregg as the usual cool agent. Overall production is excellent, particularly in the spectacular scenery and costumes in the heavenly realms. As expected, a post-credits teaser for The Avengers appears, and the disk includes a public appearance of its director (Josh Whedon) and stars.

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Consensus:  With excellent performances and stunning visual effects, director Kenneth Branagh’s take on Marvel’s Thor delivers a piece of thrilling and surprisingly smart superhero entertainment.  ***1/2 (Out of 4)

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