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Lightning Strike

Subj: What Thor Movie Would You Make?
Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 02:14:08 am EDT
Reply Subj: Thor statue
Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 03:50:01 pm EDT

From cast, to producer/director/screenwriter (if not yourself) through to broad plot strokes, and whether you'd go for a CG look or not. Would you hew to Kirby, Simonson, Viking Era, or perhaps Wagnerian opera staging?

I'll submit my own proposition to get things rolling...

First off, realize that the ring Cycle by Wagner popularized pre-Christian Norse and Germanic mythology for a new era, and retains some small following (not smaller than current comics readership worldwide, I'll wager on the side).

Of late the Ring productions have gone for a modern look with the Gods in suits and ties against an industrial backdrop. And why would they be stuck in an earlier era, supposing their origins were primeval regardless? The Highlander 2 movie of course opened with Connor watching The Ring... and imagining his own story of godlike characters. This is a acknowledgment by the director that what made Highlander 1 was perhaps inspiration from the modern stagings of The Ring. Who knows... It does give us some notion thought (from Highlander 1, not 2) that the mythic metaphor can work in the modern world.

Kirby didn't really treat Asgard as if it were a backwater, stuck with tech that the vikings would have ad (but less advanced than their contemporaries and antecedents in the great civilizations). He didn't imagine them as being somehow in a corner of the Norse world... He imagined the Norse world being a backwater, a tiny little past-tense corner, of their world. A world that while rich in tradition had neither stood still, or ever been anything but Midgard's better. Of course, the way that the Aesir left the wilds and the savages more or less alone right outside their walls said a lot about their state of harmony and restraint.

While I wouldn't use Vancouver as Asgard, I would have Asgard designed in such a way that it looked like the better of any terran city... with a people far less interested in conveniences and comforts, not setting out to overload with gothic flourishes to shame Anton Furst... Still taking pride in a sort of hominess as Simonson's version had. The Gods wouldn't wear terran attire but would indeed look superheroic with clothes and armor that were both ancient and more advanced... in simple terms... than any on earth.

It would not be an origin story at all. To Hel with origin stories, every damn comic movie starts out that way, but virtually no comics start out that way... Because it's not that interesting. Its interesting once you care about the present, about where it is all going, not before. Consider that in Star Wars "A New Hope" there is only the bearest hint that Vader has a past. You couldn't even look it up in a Wikipedia article on the myths or comics. This was far superior to seeing Vader in diapers in "The Phantom Menace." Infinitely superior, in fact. If origin comes in at all, it should be withheld as part of the last act of the same movie, as with Dark City and Blade Runner and a million others, just by way of example. Just because Superman started with an origin everyone had to follow suit. Well they didn't actually ave to... They just lazily did.

You see, the Norse origin story mythologically is very muddy. Odin and his brothers are said to have created the nine worlds from Ymir's body, and so on (I'm actually an expert). But the same accounts state paradoxically that the Vanir Gods (definitely) predate the Aesir, and the Alfar (Elves) are said to have as well. Meanwhile the Giants both came first and are far more powerful and advanced than the Gods. Thor, like Odin and his brothers before him, is hugely important in that he can go toe to toe with giants.

That's right... My Thor movie would have touches of Godzilla, with the giants at one point rampaging through a sophisticated and large Asgard. Thor would be cast not as a muscleman but as an actor able to convince us he is channeling supernatural strength, because the threats he wrestles with are so far beyond the scale of mere muscle. Mjolnir would be as much special effects representing storm and lightning as the actual, meteoric-metal object that both channels and is in turn controlled by that, in flight.

Anyway here is the plot: It follows Thor's chronological existence in the Marvel Universe. He starts out summoned and controlled by the Nazis, while Odin sleeps the sleep of ages and Asgard has its own problem of dreary struggles against mythic attackers. Thor fights The Invaders in cameo. Here we depart from the books. Realizing his error, the angered Thor goes on a rampage against the Nazis and it is he who singlehandedly "firebombs" Dresden in revenge, killing untold numbers of civilians and non-military culture. Odin is roused at the end and dispatches his Valkyries to the battlefield to hasten the Waffen-SS and so on, not to Valhalla, but, explicitly, to Hel instead. There are other superbeings, supernatural forces, and high technology on display too, making it clear that the Aesir are not all-powerful to set human affairs aright. Odin directs that the aid be subtle and secret with minimal human impact. Odin declares that meddling in human affairs is now forever at an end, for his part; so disgusted is he by the perversion or war. That's the first 30-45 minutes. (The tone would be to pick up where Raiders of the Lost Ark left off. Okay the Nazis open the can of whoop ass that kicked their own ass... But it didn't stay on one little island.)

That leaves the impetuous Thor to be dealt with. Odin casts him down to earth as a young boy, Donald Blake. Let earth have his son, he figures, so that it can teach him humility in that no good deed goes unpunished, etc. Not exactly Jor-El. We rejoin Dr. Don as a man in 1964... You know this story. This part is a period peace too, very JFK. We don't find out much about Donald Blake other than his struggles as a doctor... He's shown doing more emergency stuff than general practice, a bit after the fashion of Eric Masterson, which ought to work better to show him struggling, in action, with his bum leg, trying to save people.

I could fill in the blanks but this isn't fan-fic. It ends with Thor battling Loki and a pack of giants back through America... Forming the (trimmed down) beginnings of the Avengers along the way with his old "pal" Cap... And taking the fight back to Asgard where Loki had managed to take over Asgard by subterfuge, ruling it for his own as Odin slept. Thor gets a lot of heavy hints that this is his home and that he is really Thor but he isn't ready to believe it, but the seed is planted. Meanwhile, it isn't explicit, but we get the least bit of a hint as he escapes, that it was Loki all along who had helped rig Thor's summoning and enslavement to the Axis, and that all the damage Thor and company did "liberating" Asgard from his grasp was all according to plan. As a final cliffhanger, Odin is not actually in his sleep chamber...

So as you can tell I'd do as much of the movie myself as I could if I could. Thoughts?

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