Almighty Thor (2011)
COMPANY: The Asylum
RUNTIME: 90 mins
PLOT: When Loki invades Asgard and kills Oden, Oden sends the Hammer of Invincibility - the mystical item Loki is after - to Earth. Now Oden's immature son Thor must get to it before Loki does or the entire Universe will be destroyed.
REVIEW: I always anticipate each new Asylum movie, and Almighty Thor was no different in that regard. Some such as Battle of Los Angeles turn out excellent while some such as Dragonquest turn out really crappy. With Asylum movies, you're never really quite sure what to expect in terms of quality as they fluctuate from movie to movie. Where their last movie I saw, Battle of Los Angeles, was amazing IMO, this one...not so much. Arriving just in time to cash in on the big budget Hollywood movie Thor from Marvel, which Asylum does quite often and always to timing perfection, Almighty Thor is their very first foray into superhero films, but unfortunately it's a prime example of one of their lesser-quality ventures.
For example, the acting – whooo boy. Asylum may not have the best acting, but even by their own low standards it hasn't been this bad in years. Granted, Cody Deal (the fellow who plays Thor) does improve a bit once they get him out of Asgard and down to Earth, and the guy that plays Loki is excellent as the villain, but everyone else is pretty horrible. Kevin Nash of wrestling fame (playing Thor's father Oden) seemed to be reading from cue cards the entire time and Patricia Velasquez from the first two The Mummy movies (playing a warrior Valkyrie guardian of Asgard here) had such a thick accent, you could hardly understand most of her lines. And none of them – including Cody Deal – should have ever attempted to do the old medieval-style of speech. That's a hard way of talking to pull off realistically (even big budget movies rarely pull it off well), and I'm a firm believer that it's way to distracting when not done well, so if you can't then don't even try. Seriously, it made me groan whenever somebody other then Loki spoke. Luckily though, they seem to mostly drop that style of speech once they get to Earth (though it doesn't make any sense as to why their speech would change). Even the horrible botching of the speaking-style aside, the guy who plays Loki is the only actor in the movie that does anything even resembling a decent job, totally stealing the show every time. The movie is almost worth watching just for him alone.
And while I'm on the topic of Loki, there are a few things I didn't really understand about him - for one, there is no backstory whatsoever given on him. Why is he so evil? Why was he locked away underground? If he could escape from Hell so damn easily (with reinforcements no less) then why wait until now and not escape sooner? We had no backstory or motivation really given on him, and I hate when villains are written so lazily with no care given as to giving us any proper information on them other then 'They're bad, so you have to hate them.' Adding to the confusion of Loki, is that staff/wand thing he carries around – there's no rules with it. It can literally do ANYTHING he wants it to. His magic seems to work without rhyme or reason and just does whatever the situation calls for and whatever he needs it to do with no restrictions. If that's the case, then why does he have such trouble taking over Asgard and then Earth? I hate when movies introduce a magical item like that, with no rules for it whatsoever and it can literally do whatever is needed of it for that scene; It's piss poor lazy writing.
The fight choreography is also pretty crappy, moving at such a deliberately slow pace that it's plainly obvious that they're just acting the fight out instead of actually fighting. Most of what we get is just Thor and Loki swinging a couple swords or a giant hammer at each other, dodging, swinging again, blocking, swinging a third time, dodging, then escaping. The fight choreography in Battle of Los Angeles was better then that, and all that had was a chick swinging a sword at a CGI alien ship! I was really disappointed in the lack of care given to the action in this so-called action movie. It wouldn't have even bothered me so much if this was of a different genre, but billing itself as a fantasy action, and then dropping the ball on the action part, is just disappointing.
I can't do an Asylum review without mentioning the special effects. In some cases such as Battle of Los Angeles and Transmorphers: Fall of Man, they're pretty good. In other cases such as Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus and this movie, they're simply not. The giant Hellhounds and Demon Worms - they actually looked pretty good and had a decent design, but everything else from shots of burning fires and crumbling buildings, to even just exterior shots of Oden's castle - that stuff all looked low caliber, even for an Asylum flick (and why they felt the need to CGI a castle and not shoot on-location at one is beyond me. Even Full Moon shoots on-location at castles, and their movies are of even lower budgets then Asylum ones). With their recent movies showing that they really are capable of much better work, I'm really disappointed to see that it's not as good here as it is in their other recent flicks, and that they did things in CGI, badly, that could have easily been done to much better effect with practical work.
All of that aside though, I can enjoy a badly-acting bad-effects-fueled movie as long as there's a good story. So what about the story? Well that's what I was asking for the majority of the movie as well. There is next to no story here. Hell, the entire first half is nothing but Loki chasing Thor and his lady-friend through a forest. THAT'S IT. For 40 minutes. It's not until they get to Earth in the second half that anything even resembling a story comes into play as the two sides race to get the Hammer of Invincibility first. And even then I was left scratching my head as to why not one person seemed to notice these people running around the city in medieval garb.
One aspect of the script that I did like however - though I know most people didn't – was one very awesome action scene where Thor is running down the street, firing off a machine gun. Most people hate it when a classic Greek character or an oldtime-warrior is seen in the present using modern weapons. I personally love it. It makes sense; they're in modern times, so of course they're going to use modern weapons. Granted, it was only the one really short scene, but it was very cool none the less, and maybe if the other action scenes had more of that instead of a couple swords or obviously-fake hammers being banged around slowly then they would have been more thrilling and entertaining.
One thing I have to really hand it to them for though, and it's something I've been noticing on most of Asylum's more recent movies in the last couple years – the amazing cinematography. I don't know if they hired someone new in the last year or so for this or what, but whatever the story on that is – it's working, so I hope they keep it up in their future endeavors as well. There is a distinct change in the cinematography between the Asgard scenes and the Earth scenes, with Asgard (being the home of our main characters) coming across as normal, but then a smooth blue filter over the Earth scenes to make it seem almost foreign and alien, helping us look at Earth almost with the eyes of someone who had never been there before, and that's a stylistic choice I can really appreciate.
One last thing I really liked was most of the final 15 minutes, once Loki declares all-out war on Earth and his Hellhounds and Demon Worms show up to start causing massive destruction while he destroys the Tree of Life and causes natural disasters that lead to global destruction. I wish there was much more of this kind of stuff, because I felt that's when the movie really started getting genuinely entertaining, but unfortunately it was too little, too late.
All in all, I have to be honest and say I didn't really enjoy this one. There were a few things I loved (the actor playing Loki, the excellent cinematography, and the final 15 minutes), but even more I hated such as horrible acting, horrible effects, and a dreadful script with no plot and that doesn't explain ANYTHING (How did Thor know Loki was on Earth in the first place? How did Thor know where to find Loki on Earth? Why was Thor such an immature brat and seemed to never learn from his mistakes and always refuse to listen to anyone that isn't himself? How exactly did Thor escape from Hell once Loki sent him there? Plus all of the previously-mentioned stuff in regards to Loki and his magical staff/wand thing). The bad far outweighs the good with this one and I can only hope that I enjoy Asylum's next venture more then I did Almighty Thor.
3/10 rooms in the Psych Ward