June 12, 2011

Almighty Thor (2011)

Hello everybody, I'm back! Sorry for the delay in posting--I started a new job recently and didn't have the strength to sit through b-movies. We shall start off the summer with a Syfy offering--Almighty Thor

Syfy had already made Thor, Hammer of the Gods, so I was curious to see how this second Thor would compare. Final verdict: Almighty Thor stinks way more than Thor, Hammer of the Gods. Read on...

Plot Summary

The evil Loki (Richard Grieco) wants the Hammer of Invincibility so he can take over Asgard, which is somehow connected to modern-day LA. Odin (Kevin Nash) hides the hammer in the World Tree's heart. His son Thor (Cody Deal) must retrieve the hammer before Loki can get his black-gloved hands on it. A Valkyrie named Jarnsaxa (Patricia Velasquez, in an inspired bit of bad casting) helps fend off Loki's minions while Thor searches for the hammer. Yes, it's true--Thor must go to LA to find the right portal into the World Tree's heart. Sadly, the script offered no rationale for putting the portal in LA. I would have really, really liked to hear that explanation.

Nutrition Facts

Vitamin B-Acting: 100%

All three leads--Thor, Loki and Jarnsaxa--contributed to the high rating in their own unique ways. 

Cody Deal cannot act, though he is marginally more believable in the role of Thor than Zachary Ty Bryan was, just based on looks alone. Deal's acting consists of two settings: 1) pouty teenage boy, and 2) slack-jawed, bored teenage boy. Though Deal is actually in his 20s, he captured teenage ennui and the slouched posture perfectly. So many times Thor looked as if he would rather be listening to his iPod than to Jarnsaxa's nagging.

Richard Grieco's Loki is a combination of a pasty-white Ben Stiller and an evil Luke Skywalker with the requisite overacting and spiky black armor. 

"Come to the Dark Side!"

Plus, he carries around a fake femur with a magic crystal attached, called "The Bone of Urrl."

Ah, the dirty jokes inspired by that bone...

Now we come to Patricia Velasquez. It is odd to see a Venezuelan play a Valkyrie, but her thick Spanish accent is what made her casting really jarring. Normally my hearing impairment makes it harder to detect accents, but even I couldn't miss Velasquez's accent. Oh, and she can't act either. 

"Kill the WABBIT!"

Vitamin B-SFX: 85%

The special effects follow the classically cheap, fake Syfy template--explosions and flames obviously superimposed on the scene, the "blue/green=good, red=evil" color scheme, and superimposed monsters with stiff-legged, jerky movements.

But what sets Almighty Thor apart from many other Syfy Original Movies are the "artsy" touches. Two of the best examples:

1) Thor fights a knight in slow-motion. Occasionally the scene switches to choppy slow-mo, as opposed to regular slo-mo. Thor defeats the knight, and rain falls in poetic slow-mo as he savors his victory. Enough slow-mo already!  

High Art Example #1

2) When Odin and Thor talk to the Norns (kind of like the Scandinavian Fates), the Norns are taped in sepia tones with wobbly, blurred camera shots. If the crew was trying to make the Norns look high, they certainly succeeded. 

High Art Example #2

Vitamin Fun: 40%

The movie drags plenty, but the level of bad acting and the size of the plot holes should help hecklers stay awake.

Sugar: 0.1%

The romance between Thor and Jarnsaxa comes out of nowhere about 3/4 of the way into the movie, and the "it's in the script" feeling is hilariously overpowering. Jarnsaxa and Thor do not make a convincing couple.

Plot Fiber: 0%

It would be easier to just list some of the most glaring plot/continuity holes, so here we go:

1) Thor's brother, Baldir, manages to pull out a double-headed pike that pierced his aorta. Very impressive, considering that sort of injury kills within a minute or two at the most.

2) As Odin lays dying from a wound Loki inflicted, he tells Thor where to find the Hammer. Why doesn't Loki just eavesdrop instead of making a big production out of following Thor around LA?

3) Speaking of dying, if Loki was never "alive" and therefore cannot die, why isn't the same true for Odin?

4) The biggest plot hole of all--the LA element. When Jarnsaxa whisks Thor to LA, the sudden switch from medieval-ish Asgard to the smog-wreathed skyscrapers of LA has no effect on Thor. He remains as bored as ever, even when he's exposed to novelties like guns. Shouldn't he at least be choking on the smog? 

From this...

...to this. No problem!

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