Philosophy, Film, Politics, Etc.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thor on DVD

I rented Thor on DVD last night. I'm glad to say that much of the drama, comedy and action held up well on the second viewing. However, I want to add a bit to my initial review. Despite its notable flaws, I'd originally given the film four out of five stars. Unfortunately, I can only give the DVD version three-and-a-half, and that only barely. One reason is the lack of 3D. The 2D film isn't nearly as visually enthralling and impressive, and this makes it much easier to get distracted by the film's faults. When I left the theater the first time, I was charged and ready for more. After watching it again on DVD, I didn't feel much of anything at all. On top of that, I found one more plot point to criticize.

One of the main ideas in the film is that Norse mythology is based on historical fact. In the film's world, beings from another world once interacted with earthlings. All the myths about Odin, Thor and so on are based on these historical experiences. This allows the filmmakers to bridge the so-called gap between science and mythology, and I'm all for that. But there's a gaping hole in the way they go about it, one so big I'm surprised I didn't notice it the first time around.

In the film's backstory, which is explained at the beginning of the film, the immortal gods of Asgard defeated the Frost Giants, who were threatening humanity on earth, and then returned back to Asgard for the last time. Norse mythology should only be influenced by everything that happened up until that final retreat, and not later. But this makes it impossible for the mythology on earth to have anything to do with Thor, since he was, at best, an infant when Odin defeated the Frost Giants. So how, in this fictional world, is Norse mythology supposed to have incorporated facts about the hammer-wielding Thor?

Oh well. Not a perfect film. Still a lot of fun, and with some great acting and directing. I didn't have time to watch the film again with Branagh's commentary, but I did watch the special features, which include a small handful of deleted scenes. None of them belong in the movie, but they all work as entertaining and interesting supplements.