Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Video review: "Thor"
Summer's first major blockbuster announces the march of high-profile movies arriving on video from now through the rest of the year. I'm glad to see "Thor," because the pickings has been a mite slim lately.
Based on the comic book, "Thor" is the tale of the Norse god of thunder, an arrogant warrior played with brio by Chris Hemsworth. No hero creation myth necessary here: Thor was born a mighty god, the son of the all-powerful Odin (Anthony Hopkins). After offending Odin with an ill-advised attack on the home of their mortal enemies, the frost giants, Thor is banished to Earth and stripped of his powers -- including the hammer Mjolnir, which is to him as Excalibur is to King Arthur.
While vulnerable, Thor finds himself falling for a mortal scientist (Natalie Portman) and dealing with the machinations of his half-brother Loki, who has some serious daddy issues and would like to sit on Odin's throne.
As a villain, Loki is a little lacking, more of a mopey presence than a truly forbidding one. Fortunately, Laufey, the king of the frost giants, serves as a suitable backup.
The movie occasionally gets tripped up by its own sense of pomposity, taking on Shakespearean overtones when the material is more suited to bubblegum action set pieces. But there are plenty of those, and despite a few weaknesses "Thor" packs quite a wallop.
Video goodies are decent with the basic DVD edition, and improve significantly upon upgrading to Blu-ray.
The DVD has a feature-length commentary track by director Kenneth Branagh, four deleted scenes with commentary, and "Road to The Avengers," a featurette building up to the super-hero super-group (including Iron Man and Thor) debuting in their own flick next summer.
The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack includes all that stuff, plus seven more deleted scenes, a digital copy of the film, seven making-of featurettes centering mostly on visual effects, and something called "Marvel One Shot: The Consultant," a short film that helps bridge the divide between "Thor" and the Avengers movie.