Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thor's Game: Buttering the Path to more Elvish Deviance, and Philosophical Discussions with Pigs and Trees

The story so far: the god of mischief Loki, bored with nothing to in his Asgardian prison cell, fills his time by manipulating the human race on another world into fighting a war with an alien race colloquially known as the buggers, because what could be better than some sporting buggering, after having been buggered to the throne by a well-meaning if rather beef-brained brother? Said brother still manages to save the day though, by throwing his electrical hammer into this paragraph which is composed of nothing but nonsensical drivel due to the fact that the writer is simply stalling for time while trying to think of something to say about either film which somehow makes sense- pauses for breath- while being somewhat entertaining, and... where was I again? Moral of the story: keep your sentences short or you'll lose track of where you were going. Now if you've somehow managed to stick through the above drivel because you're curious about why I've glued two movie posters together, tousle your hair like how a senior citizen would, taking pride in the amazing achievement known as patience- here's why I did so. I'm too lazy to do two separate reviews, and I simply don't have the confidence that I'd have enough to say about either movie to warrant a separate post for each one, so short that they'd be better off being posted on twitter in 10 separate posts in intervals of 10 atomic minutes.

...though, having seen how long that first paragraph went, maybe I should probably put this into two separate posts, and throw caution to the wind. That does however increase the risk of me turning the entire post into a scatter-brained romp through Wonderland though. So without further ado, on with my commentary on Thor: The Dark World. A quick summary first: Thor's love interest from the first film, Jane Foster, accidentally becomes the host of an ancient artifact, waking up an ancient race of pale skinned jackasses known as the Dark Elves, who want to rid the universe of all light and revert to a life of eternal darkness, seemingly for no reason whatsoever- maybe they have trouble sleeping at night and require pitch darkness, but don't want to wrap their heads up... Odin's beard, I'm really a Dark Elf, aren't I? Death to the Asgardians, I say!

Now for what you've been waiting for- my Opinion- it sure does look grander when capitalized, no? It's to disguise the lack of it (tip: if you plan on starting a cult, don't explain yourself like I just did). If that isn't clear enough for you- let's just move on. Like the Incredible Hulk, I once thought that filmmakers would have a hard time with the Thor franchise, given how the chap's a fictional representation of a Norse god- i.e. he might as well be immortal. Even when he's in serious trouble, O-Daddy fiddles with his beard and beloved Goldilocks is whisked to safety. They did well in both Thor films, though. In the first they made him a normal human, while in the second, they gave him equally strong opponents to dance with. Try not to wonder why about the science behind the film- like how the atmosphere of all 9 connected realms (even the destroyed homeland of the Dark Elves) is breathable, how Darcy and Intern manage to calculate coordinates for teleportation without even having to count their toes... Thor is an action movie, a beat-em-up. Turn your brain off already! Or so you thought. Along comes wily Loki- and that's when you need to start thinking- or rather, doubting. It's thanks to his machinations that for once a Marvel movie has left me wondering what in blazes just happened. Oh, and let's not forget that the whole world is suddenly madly in love with Tom Hiddleston (Loki). Now on an almost completely unrelated note, I have high hopes for what this film has the potential of doing: chipping away at the mindset of a generation raised on pretty but superficial LotR films that elves are all glorious, noble, and above all shiny Barbies and Kens and are more than capable of being dastardly bums which should be spanked- perhaps someday we'll see a Silmarillion film adaptation someday. Hobbit lovers can stay home, thank you.

Up next. Ender's Game! I first fell in love with (almost) everything by Orson Scott Card, after picking up a copy of 'A Planet Called Treason', which eventually led to me laying hands on everything he penned at a book sale (the dirt cheap Big Bad Wolf sale)- and although I read the series out of order- I actually started with the more philosophical 'Speaker for the Dead'. It was quite a surprise for me when I heard that there was a movie in the works. I now found myself hoping that Ender would do well enough to guarantee a film adaptation for the sequels- I'm guessing it did well enough, judging from the reaction of friends who'd never read the original and were blown away by the ending. That being said- for someone who's read the book (i.e. me), having to sit through two hours of the film was a bit of a chore, knowing every single thing that would happen.

A quick summary again: humanity finds itself in the middle of a war with an alien race known as the Formics, colloquially known as the 'buggers'. 12 year old Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is recruited into a program to train young children to be the next generation of soldiers and commanders. He is sent to Battle School, a space station orbiting over Earth, to be molded into the savior of the human race.

I was quite surprised to how close they stayed to the novel- there were several necessary changes which made the movie feel somewhat lacking compared to the book, though. First of all, turning Ender into a 12 year old instead of a 6 year old- I'm sure they had no choice here- speeding through Battle School training, glossing over his two fights and the relationship between Ender and his siblings, all of which are understandable given the practical limitations of the format, but one thing I was not happy with was how the one aspect of the ending was left out- the fallout amongst the human alliance after the war with the Formics ended, and what that had in store for Ender and the other gifted children. In short- the book was better, and while I hope to see film sequels in future, I worry that I simply won't be able to enjoy the film as much as I hope I would.

Maybe Tom Hiddleston could take up the role of the older Ender? Hmm. I can hear the sound of fluttering hormones and box office kachings already.

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