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FROM PAGE TO SCREEN: THOR (2011) - PART TWO
 



 

The singular most annoying thing about the Thor comics has to be the pseudo-Shakespearian English spoken by Thor and most of his Asgardian cohorts . . .

It is a sort of Elizabethan English crossed with the King James Bible.

Here are some random samplings of dialogue:

“Go thou, Hermod – on the back of eight-hoofed Sleipnir – and learn what must be done to spare the life of the fatally-wounded Balder.”

And:

“No man or immortal lays hands with impunity upon the Mighty Thor!”

Reading this sort of stuff is a chore, so one can imagine what a task writing it all must be like, which is why I always feel so sorry for the Thor writers. The very first Thor comic strip may have been simplistic, but when Lee stopped writing the title, the storylines became quite convoluted and elaborate in the best Marvel tradition as more and more figures from Norse mythology and even new fictional ones got thrown into the mix such as Loki, the Lady Sif and the three loyal sidekicks often called in for comic relief, namely Frigga, Hogun and Volstagg.

"It can be even more corny than the 1980 Flash Gordon movie!"

Add to the above the sort of colorful and garish costume designs that looks cool when Jack Kirby draws them on paper, but patently ridiculous when a costume designer actually has to bring those designs to life in a movie, and you’ll understand our misgivings about a Thor live action movie. It can be even more camp than the 1980 Flash Gordon movie – and we all knew how well that went down! After all we’re talking about a muscle-bound surfer dude with long girly blonde hair in a Viking outfit spouting a lot of “verilys” and “forsooths” here! (Strangely enough, Thor’s human alter ego speaks normal English.)

Marvel however seems intent on dumping all of these elements that make Thor so unique / memorable / camp / corny (take your pick) in the first place. According to Marvel’s Karl Feige: “The thing we’re most excited about with Thor is having a canvas that we haven’t played on before in an arena of fantasy, mythic realms and the Norse gods. That’s a wholly unique aspect of the Marvel Universe that hasn’t even begun to be explored on film.”

“What interests us most is the idea of Asgard (the home of the Norse gods) and the relationship between the gods. Midgard, which is Earth, will be in a portion of the film, but we’re not interested, in this first movie, in the idea that Dr. Donald Blake bangs a stick and becomes Thor in modern day . . .”

Screenwriter Mark Protosevich has confirmed this particular creative route: “There used to be a segment in the Thor comics called Tales of Asgard - and it’s much more akin to that. It really is set in that world. It does deal with Earth. The primary focus we're taking on it is really all about the Norse myths.” So it’ll be more Lord of the Rings than Spider-man then? But will it still be The Mighty Thor then?

Walking the line between pleasing long-time fans of the comic and modern audiences averse to silly high camp might be the trickiest bit for any Thor movie, one which one suspects not even Thor’s trickster nemesis Loki might be able to pull off. . .

One can see that Marvel is getting desperate as all the well-known comic heroes (Spider-man, Fantastic Four, Hulk, X-Men, etc.) have already been made into movies. Whatever you might want to do with the material at hand, we’re not entirely convinced that Thor can be turned into a viable summer blockbuster. After all, there is just something about dudes in steel helmets with wings on them that makes us giggle aloud.

Heck, we think it will probably be easier to bring Marvel's Howard the Duck comics back to Cineplexes – in spite of that George Lucas flop back in the ‘Eighties! After all, those original Steve Gerber comics were pretty cool and they had no cod Shakespearian dialogue . . .

Note: Chris Hemsworth who played Kirk's dad in the 2009 Star Trek has been cast as Thor. Natalie Portman is also onboard as Jane Foster. Release date is now 20 May 2011.
 


 



 

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