crap i have watched recently #4

chibi thor and lokiIt’s the superhero edition!  SPOILERS dead ahead…

Thor:  This is pretty much just another superhero movie, albeit an arty one directed by Kenneth  Branagh Himself and with Anthony Hopkins playing the King of Asgard.   I never read the comics so I can’t comment on how faithful it might be to canon but as far as popcorn entertainment goes it was OK.  It is helped immensely by Thor himself (Chris Hemsworth); he is not at all hard to look at, no matter how cheesy the plot requires  him to be.  (I will also note that the guy who plays Loki is himself quite pleasing to the eye.)  The script itself is pretty basic.   Blessed with looks, strength, and the right family, Thor is perhaps a little…self absorbed… and eventually his hubris gets him into trouble.  Odin exiles him to earth without his godly powers but tosses his hammer after him as a tease, since without his powers Thor cannot wield it.  On Earth Thor meets a lovely scientist (Natalie Portman) who is investigating aliens, learns his hammer is nearby being “protected” by the American military, and gets himself captured when he tries to retrieve it.   In the meantime, Loki, Thor’s brother, maneuvers himself onto Asgard’s throne and starts causing all kinds of hell.  Thor proves himself worthy of again wielding his hammer, returns to Asgard, defeats Loki, reconciles with  his father, and…that’s that.  Poor Natalie, left behind on Earth, vows to find a way to open a portal to Asgard and and Samuel L. Jackson makes another of his cameo appearances as Nick Fury.

All you really need to know about this movie is that it is primarily a prequel to The Avengers, opening at a multiplex near you soon.   It serves no other purpose than introducing us to Thor and establishing his place in the superhero pantheon.  It also introduces us to Loki, who is going to be the big villain in Avengers.  Thor is all about the eye candy and sometimes that’s good enough for me.

Score:  Meh.

Captain America: The First Avenger:  I remember absolutely nothing about this movie.  Basic plot (thanks Wikipedia!):  skinny guy gets rejected by the Army, is recruited into a super-soldier experiment, becomes toned and muscular (better living through chemistry!), meets Tony Stark’s father, fights evil Nazis, crashes a plane into the ocean, disappears, and wakes up 70 years later in modern day America (that was some party!).  Samuel L. Jackson plays Nick Fury.  Again.

This is another origin story and Avengers prequel; I’m sure it was enjoyable enough while I was watching it.  I feel kind of bad that I don’t remember it but I guess if if it really sucked it would have stuck in my head more, so there’s that.   I’d have probably remembered it if had Thor in it.  Or Loki.

Score:  Meh.

Jane Eyre:  Ok, so maybe calling this a superhero movie is a stretch but Jane Eyre is considered a feminist icon, a woman before her time, a strong, self-reliant female character who who follows her own path despite pressure from family, friends, and lovers.  So if I want to call her a hero, I can.  As a character she’s fine, particularly in the classic novel on which this movie is based.  I’m not really a fan of the book, primarily due to its depiction of mental illness and the utter lack of appeal of the “hero”, Mr. Rochester, but I have no problem with Jane herself.  This movie, though, is a mess from start to finish and really doesn’t do the character justice.  It begins with a quick tour of Jane’s childhood trials and tribulations–the cruel stepmother and abusive brother, the horrid boarding school, the death of her best friend–and moves quickly on to her acceptance of a governess position at Thornfield Hall, the gloomy, isolated home of Edward Rochester.  The unfortunate effect of this drive-by tour of horrors is that the hopelessness and fear of Jane’s childhood doesn’t really register.  The movie assumes we understand what a “plain and poor” child’s life in mid-1800s England would be like and this glancing approach to the nuances of the plot continues throughout the film.  Jane and Rochester fall in love in record time and for no apparent reason, Jane discovers Rochester’s dirty little secret and leaves him, Jane meets her long-lost cousins (one of the biggest “WTF?” plot contrivances I’ve ever seen in a book), magically inherits a boat-load of money (another convenient relative), and returns to find Mr. Rochester a little crippled and blind but still entirely rich and handsome.  Love conquers all.

Except there’s no point to any of it.  I realize that film and print are different media and it is sometimes not useful to compare the two, but this movie takes everything that drove the plot in the book and replaces it with atmosphere.  The absolute worst example of this is Bertha Rochester, Edward’s unfortunate mad wife.  The book expends considerable effort to convince us that she is a hideous, filthy, fat, insane monster, filled with hatred for Mr. Rochester (with good reason), spitting fury and setting fires.  She haunts Thornfield and her discovery on Jane’s wedding day nearly destroys our heroine.  In the movie, we see Bertha for a few seconds, she is pretty in a disheveled sort of way, and Rochester looks on her with pity and gives her a  hug.  In the book, his treatment of her is unpardonable; in the movie he looks like a saint for protecting her and it’s all just a big misunderstanding.  This movie doesn’t even bother to do the fire scene; Jane just comes back to a burned out shell and finds Rochester waiting patiently for her.

In short, if you’ve read the book you will spend this  movie wondering what the director was thinking.  If you haven’t read the book, you’ll have no idea why you should give a damn about any of these unpleasant people.  If you like rain, billowy cloaks, moody scenes of the Yorkshire moors,  and worlds where the only color is grey you’ll be well pleased.  Basically, though, this movie  NEEDS MOAR THOR!!1!!  (and Loki)

Score:  Fail.

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~ by gun street girl on April 16, 2012.

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