Friday, May 6, 2011

The Mighty Thor is just Thor the Meh

Thumbs down on Thor. It just wasn't engaging enough to convince me to suspend disbelief. There were so many distractions I just couldn't get into it. The other people in the theater, 90% nerdy men, laughed out loud at the punched-up jokes and seemed to enjoy the well choreographed fight scenes. So it might just be my own personal problem because Thor reminds me of one of my friends. I wonder if people tell Chris Hemsworth that he reminds them of Austin business attorney James Blake?
James Blake, Austin's own Chris Hemsworth lookalike
Besides that I found the sets and scenery distracting in their  sheer ugliness. Asgard was like Superman's jutting crystal Fortress of Solitude with gold lame stretched over it. It was as gaudy as Flash Gordon, but it took itself too seriously to be campy so it just came across as irritating. They rode horses across surfaces that even the owner of a glitter finish bass boat would find tacky. Horses? Live horses? Where's the pasture? There was no sign of greenery in the whole realm. Yes, I said realm. That's what they called it and I have no issue with realm. But I can't allow for horses in that shimmer coated fiberglass Discworld ripoff.

Natalie Portman's character was supposed to be an astrophysicist. She left me completely unconvinced. But it wasn't her fault. I'm sure she had to read the lines in the sets they built for her. But the thing that was supposed to be her lab in what was supposed to be a town in New Mexico was just utterly far fetched. For a town that small it was certainly bustling. I couldn't understand why an astrophysicist would set up a lab in a repurposed unidentifiable circular glass building. What was it, a defunct car dealership? She's all by herself with a very un-funny sidekick, nowhere near any kind of university? And there was supposed to be equipment she built herself but there was nothing that looked remotely like an antenna or even an oscilloscope in sight. Just LCD screens everywhere. I suppose this was the story in the comic book so they were stuck with it. It just made it hard for me to get into the movie.

Hubble image of a star nursery used as the sky in Asgard
There was also the distraction of my desktop picture as the sky in Asgard. It's a Hubble image of a star nursery and they just pasted it in behind the clearly visible mountain range in the background. Really? That's what you're going with for the sky? You can see that at dusk? It's too much. Just no.

There was plenty of good chemistry between James, I mean Thor, and Natalie Portman. They had a nice parting kiss. Again my brain distracted me, this time with the rather horrific memory of this video I saw today about a long distance kiss transmitter. If they can't get that magic wormhole thing going again there's always Japanese innovation! They are on their way already judging by the blatant Acura product placement.

Warning: This is really gross. Watching this give me the feeling of what it must be like to be a 9 year old boy when there's kissing in a movie.


Everybody in the theater sat patiently through all the credits. They must have known something was coming. There was a tiny snippet of film at the end that I guess is from The Avengers. So if you go and wonder why nobody gets up after the movie, that's why.

*Update 5/27/2011 I just read Andy Howell's science-based review of Thor. His only remark that is even remotely similar to my observations is this part.
The filmmakers did cram lots of cool stuff in its night sky of Asgard, inspired by real astronomical observations. I need to see THOR again to catch exactly all they put in there.
So I have come to the conclusion that I was watching this partially as a critical scientist but more as designer or architect. It may be a woman thing, since apparently I'm not the only woman scientist who rolled her eyes at this stuff.
When one of my female astrophysicist friends, Haley Gomez, saw Thor, she tweeted, “Next time I'm in my office ’looking at particle data’ I will make sure I'm wearing false eyelashes like Jane the Astrophysicist.” I must confess this went right by me. Indeed, there is a fine line between “looking Hollywood” and ringing true as a scientist, but as far as believable portrayals go, I’ll take Natalie Portman in false eyelashes over Denise Richards in glasses any day.
And apparently I was wrong that they had her ridiculous lab set up that way because of the comic. They changed her from a nurse. They completely made up that whole astrophysicist thing. But again, I guess I'm the only physicist who doubles as an interior designer so I guess it doesn't bother anybody else.

2 comments:

  1. That "kiss transmitter" looks dumb as hell. A pair of wax lips that goes "muah!" would be a better "kiss" simulator. That's thing's just a weird waist of 3d printer time and motors. He could have at least gotten a mannequin head model to mount his weird proboscis to instead of a nondescript boring box.

    Oh, and hearing that about Thor doesn't surprise me. That series never seemed like it was very good. Just seems like they're just making sure to scrape the bottom of that barrel clean with comic movies.

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  2. There were trees! I saw them when the gang rode horses crossing the bridge. They were probably photosynthesizing off the weird bridge glow!

    However, horses? I mean, c'mon. They used them to cross the bridge in ONE SCENE. No one took them back to the stables. There was no place to tie them off when you got to the Bifrost bridge. Presumably you'd be gone a while...

    As for your other criticisms, well, yeah. What she's looking for on the LCD's wouldn't be washed out by bright sunlight, obviously. There were a LOT of little things that just kept coming out. There should be a product placement drinking game. The newsstand in that fading little town would have been overkill in New York City.

    I'm going to go fly southwest now, and have some go lean crunch while drinking an iced coffee...

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