What I Learned at “Thor”

This past Friday, Marvel Comics did its part to begin blockbuster season with an adaptation of the popular title Thor. The stunning visuals and respect paid to the work of origin pleased comic book nerds as well as the casual viewer only in it for a good time.

Not one to ruin a fellow moviegoers experience, let’s run down some non-spoiler observations from the opening night of Thor, shall we? Here goes…

Michael Bay needs some serious help

Yes, Michael. Explain why your "Transformers" movies aren't terrible. We dare you.

Okay…if you’re a fan of Michael Bay’s Transformers series, you’re either a child or someone whose company I most likely would not enjoy. With all the money spent to make these movies a visual tour de force, Bay’s adaptation of the popular animated series looks like a billionaire’s attempt to make a Transformers movie as a joke, with twisted metal everywhere, an unthreatening leading man and a trashy-looking female co-star.

Michael Bay may be swimming in much more money than he made from The Rock or the Bad Boys series, but he might want to consider giving Sean Connery and Will Smith a call to see if they can restore some integrity to the genre that he hasn’t excelled in since 2003 (Bad Boys II). He shouldn’t call Nic Cage, though…because…well…he might actually want to BE a robot…because he’s weird like that.

Zoe Saldana has officially called ‘Next’

Zoe is serious about it being her time to shine. Deadly serious.

Milla Jovovich? Done. Angelina Jolie? See ya. They may have been the most prolific action heroines of the last 10 years, but they’ll both have to take a seat for Zoe Saldana.

Since playing Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Saldana has amassed a diverse body of work, ranging from indie dramas to big-budget comedies. But Saldana ascended to the A-List when she followed up her role as Uhuru in Star Trek by playing Neytiri in James Cameron’s Avatar.

Audiences got confirmation that Saldana was the real deal in the action genre (with out green screens) when she stepped up as the kick-ass, gun-toting Aisha in The Losers. Playing a similar role to the one in the aforementioned action flick, Saldana will get her first starring role in Columbiana, a shoot ‘em up revenge story.

Studios already rode the Jovovich and Jolie trains until the wheels fell off. And Columbiana’s success will probably determine how long a ride Saldana’s will have. Hopefully, it will be a long one…because have you SEEN her?

It’s a thin line between Abrams and Shyamalan

There goes J. J. again, exaggerating about his 3-inch idea.

The trailer for J. J. Abrams’s Super 8 played before the presentation of Thor. Super 8 is the tale of a small town in 1979 that gets swept up in chaos after a train wreck unleashes a mysterious monster. The main protagonists appear to be a group of children who inadvertently captured footage of the crash on their super 8 camera.

Government officials enter the town on a highly classified containment mission, much to the chagrin of local law enforcement. While the sheriff is kept in the dark about what escaped from the train in the first place, so is the audience. Abrams is resting on the assumption that people have not grown tired of this brand of mystery.

His assumption is wrong.

The attention Abrams pays to captivating audiences with what they don’t see could be better placed elsewhere. The disappointments of Lost and Flash Forward aren’t the only reasons Abrams’s strategy has gone sour; M. Night Shyamalan did his part to make the unseen the stuff that makes people hate filmmakers. Every M. Night Shyamalan mystery has been worse than the last, and it’s only a matter of time before J. J. Abrams buries himself alongside Shyamalan in the Hack Hall of Fame.

All hate aside, I’ll probably watch Super 8 (it DOES star Kyle Chandler, after all), but I won’t be expecting much.

IMAX 3D is a rip-off

All the magic at Hogwarts couldn't stop them from looking like complete jackasses.

Not all IMAX 3D experiences were created equal, to be sure. But now that every film studio is converting their can’t-miss action movies into 3-D to pad their returns, it’s time for this generation to call 3-D out as the fad that it really is, just as the generation given flimsy specs with one blue lens and one red one did.

It was a novelty act then, and it is now. And for the record, Thor’s visual effects were impressive enough to do without people sitting in a theater with those ridiculous glasses on. And, ahem, some of us had to wear the glasses over our prescription glasses, which is awkward, embarrassing, and not something I want to deal with when I’ve just shelled out 20 doll hairs.

It’s high time we all rose against this return of 3D. High-def time.

Even aliens are British

"No no, dear boy, you misunderstahhnd. I wanted FATHER beans."

Apparently the British accent is the only one that demands respect throughout the entire universe.

Will there ever be a filmmaker who develops an accent for its alien cultures instead of using the British accent as the default? Sure, speak English (it saves time), but if George Lucas and Gene Roddenberry developed different languages for their characters, what would it take to fiddle around with inflection and tone to make Asgardians sounds like real aliens? It’s fine, really…but really!

The post-credits bonus has lost it’s ‘cool’

"Sure is nice havin' all this motherf_____' money in the motherf_____' bank."

It was the X-Men movie series that made the “stay thru the credits” recommendation catch on. And with the exception of a handful of people who either didn’t care or have been living under a rock that doesn’t have access to Marvel Comics movies, the hundreds in attendance sat in anticipation of a teaser that would hint at what was in store for future Marvel Comics feature films.

But now that most of the world knows to buckle down and get a glimpse of Marvel’s next movie, it seems that the attraction has lost its luster. Now that the teasers are definitely working towards the release of The Avengers, they have lost their ‘woah’ factor because more questions get answered about the direction of the larger story arc.

It’s clear that the post-credits cliffhangers have officially jumped the shark, because Marvel’s titles going forward will not generate the same amount of buzz that The Avengers has. On the bright side, these teasers may take on a more functional role, which may help the filmmakers get to the point a little quicker instead of holding the audiences’ hands through plot points…well…except for the guy with the sleeveless plaid shirt and the silver sneakers with the giant wings on them who left before the teaser. He’ll be completely lost when The Avengers comes out. Then again, I can’t blame him for wanting to leave the theater while it was still dark. Somebody should have told him how he looked before he left the house. What an ass.

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