A Droid Premiere – Thor (2011)

A Droid PremiereI can’t say I expect much from Marvel movies now. The first in the new “Marvel Studios” production line, ‘Iron Man’ proved to be an entertaining surprise (upon first viewing) at the cinema in 2008. The new studio was off to a promising start. But just two months later that promise came crashing back to earth in the shape of a giant green steroid freak in stretchy pants, with the release of ‘The Incredible Hulk’. That film firmly established the trend. Marvel Studios will be dumbing their movies down for the masses, with little attempt to create bold, challenging and satisfying stories. In short, their game plan is to play it safe.

This trend was followed by the sheer boring blandness of ‘Iron Man 2’, which focused more on establishing periphery characters for an Avengers movie, than on creating a worthwhile, satisfying follow-up to the original film. With the ground rules in place, and my expectations checked, I ventured to the cinema to see ‘Thor’.

Thor PosterThor (Chris Hemsworth) is the God of Thunder and the first in line to the throne of Asgard. Alas, the mighty Thor is brash and thoughtless, and recklessly pokes the Frost Giants of Jotunheim (led by an unrecognisable Colm Feore) with a stick until they understandably get really riled up (well, he bashes their heads with his hammer, which is just as annoying to a Frost Giant). For this, King Odin (Anthony Hopkins) strips Thor of his powers and banishes him to earth, along with his hammer, which is stuck in rock and can not be moved until such a time as he becomes a worthy successor to the throne. After crash landing in New Mexico, Thor is found by Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), conveniently located scientists studying something or other. Fish out of water jokes and SHIELD related developments ensue (including an after the fact cameo from Jeremy Renner that sticks out like a sore thumb). Back on Asgard, Thors brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) learns the truth of his lineage and sets about creating mischief and whatnot. After a bunch of fistfights, a little romance, and a showdown with a giant robotic flame thrower called Destroyer, Thor learns how to be a better God of Thunder, gets his worthy back and buggers off back to Asgard for a showdown with little brother.

Thor-1Thor is a stupendously dumb film. It’s boneheaded and clunky, with the story lurching back and forth between Earth’s fish out of water comedy and Asgard’s Shakespearean pretensions. The romance between Thor and Jane is so chaste it makes the FT’s Letters to the Editor seem like Penthouse Forum, and SHIELD (Clark Gregg and a bunch of dubious looking blokes in dark suits and sunglasses) continue to be the most obvious and inept “secret government organisation” since CONTROL. Their entire function in the film is to show up, put plastic tarp around the hammer and get repeatedly punched by Thor. There’s also the case of the Warriors Three, Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Fandral (Joshua Dallas) and Hogun (Tadanobu Asano), and Thor’s bestest, totally platonic mate Sif (Jaimie Alexander). Despite showcasing solid skills in asskickery earlier in the film, they show up on earth only to get thrown about by Destroyer. Although their arrival in town does provide the film with a couple of good jokes, I wonder why they even bothered making the trip. And the details surrounding Loki’s intentions remains murky. But to mention it here would be venturing into spoiler territory, so I will let that one get discussed once people have seen the film.

Thor-2Boneheadedness aside, Thor does work. That it works as well as it does, is down to two major reasons. The first is that director Kenneth Branagh and the screenwriters (a bunch of them), recognise the fundamental stupidity of the entire concept and play it fast and loose. The films earthbound scenes are filled with gags. Physical gags like Thor getting tasered, along with jokes about facebook and ipods. Some jokes work better than others, but the overall levity that Branagh and Co bring to the film goes a long way to making Thor entertaining. Over in Asgard, Branagh holds back on the humour while he plays out the family drama in broad strokes. Odin is virtuous while Loki is devious. A puddle has more depth than the characters in this film, but if you want Branagh’s Shakespeare you can rent Henry V or MacBeth. Where Branagh is also successful is making the film aesthetically pleasing to look at, while staging the action with a mostly clear visual style that makes it easy to follow. Asgard is opulent and grand, and New Mexico is, well, dusty and dry. There’s not a great deal you can do with that, so Branagh does the only thing he can. He sets an entire scene in the rain. Fair enough. During the action scenes the camera frequently stays far enough back for us to understand the geography of the fight. A welcome change from the recent “in the middle of the action” shaky cam trend. Good job, Ken.

Thor 4The other real reason that Thor works is Chris Hemsworth. He clearly understands the tone Branagh is going for, and delivers the performance that this film required. He’s a big bloke, built like a brick shithouse, so the physical requirements of the role weren’t of concern. He accomplishes the difficult task of providing light comedy relief without ever relinquishing the air of an imposing superhero. But his most successful achievement is selling the underwritten character developments the film’s plot is based around. Namely the almost instantaneous and largely unprompted arc that sees Thor change from unworthy, brash, reckless and selfish to worthy, slightly less brash, mildly less reckless and unselfish. For this, along with the woefully underwritten romantic subplot, which he and Natalie Portman manage to sell through sheer good humour, Hemsworth should be commended.

Thor-6Because Thor is trying to introduce the character and believably place him in the same universe as Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and Steve Rogers, the film is overstuffed with plot. Because of this, and the fact that the film is (thankfully) under two hours, a lot of the characters are underdeveloped. Of the other performances, all underwritten, the stand out’s are Hiddleston and Hopkins. In their brief scenes they manage to create surprisingly strong characters. Hopkins has been guilty of phoning in performances in big budget movies in the past (Bad Company for example), but here he gives a good performance from very little. And Hiddleston lets the scheming of Loki sit just under the surface, not going over the top and making him the obvious moustache-twirling villain. Both benefit from the fact that the scenes on Asgard are infinitely more entertaining and interesting than the ones on earth, being as they are the scenes that feature family drama and devious skulduggery as opposed to wisecracking Kat Dennings and expositioning Stellan Skarsgard.

Thor-5If you keep your expectations moderate, Thor is a fun movie that just gets over the line by virtue of the strong direction of Kenneth Branagh and the pitch perfect performance of Chris Hemsworth. The film completes the main goal of Marvel, which is to set up the character for the Avengers film. But if they do make a sequel to this film, I hope it’s a non-earth based adventure that further explores Asgard and the Nine Realms. I hereby bestow Thor with a rating of two and a half hammers.

Take it easy,




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About Judge Droid

In between refining my procrastination skills I talk a lot of shit about movies and such.

137 responses to “A Droid Premiere – Thor (2011)”

  1. Tom_Bando says :

    It sounds-GOOD! Amazing, eh? I had NO idea what to make of this-mixing Thor w/ Branagh as director. But you know what? I’ll check it out. I can remember that big flame throwing robot thingie there from the old comics(sadly) so that’s at least a nod to the character etc. we know.

    How is Stellan in this?

    • Droid says :

      It’s better than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise.

      Stellan is fine, but he’s not given anything to do apart from some exposition and one scene where he’s the punchline of a joke.

  2. Bartleby says :

    Decent review Droid. Probably tempering expectations here is a good thing.

    I didn’t find it as incredibly boneheaded as you did, but that’s probably down to two things; 1. I accepted the fantast aspects and felt the story told within them was reasonably well written and 2) I saw Fast Five the day before.

    The story is implausible and silly, but the movie, at least to me, never felt dumb or lazy. Pretty much everything else you say I agree with, but I’d rate this one higher.

    I personally didn’t find the movement between Asgard and Midgard all that clunky and bought Thor’s change of heart. Yes, it happens over the course of a single film –when it should be the sort of thing a tv series should handle–but honestly for comic book films, I thought this was the most even-handed and satisfying of the Marvel pics since Spiderman 2.

    Probably one of the best ‘opening summer’ movies we have had in a long time.

    I was also surprised by how well some of that Earthbound comedy worked, as it looked like the weakest link in the trailer.

    And the score was surprisingly strong and prominent in the action.

    • Droid says :

      His “change of heart” didn’t come about in one movie. It came about in one scene! All of a sudden he was “worthy to wield the hammer”. Anyhoo, it was acceptable because the whole movie was dumb, but fun.

      BTW, I saw this after seeing both Fast Five AND Scream 4. It’s still boneheaded.

      • Bartleby says :

        I didnt say it’s not boneheaded, I said it isn’t incredibly so. I guess what I mean is, it’s no more boneheaded than the source material.

        Yes, but with genre stuff, the change of heart thing is hard to make stick believably anyway. One of the few instances where they did it and I bought it was Pitch Black, with Riddick screaming into the rain at the end ‘Not for me.’ Silly, but it worked, but then by Riddick sequel, he was rebooted back to the original character.

        At least Thor had all the raw materials there from the beginning. It was less character change, and more allowing a switch to flip and make a choice.

        So, without tipping your hand too much, did you like Scream 4 and Fast Five? I was suprised to find I enjoyed both.

        Also, I saw this in 3D. It was a distraction but that’s how they screened it for us. If I pay to see it again, it will be in 2D.

      • Jarv says :

        I’m seeing it tomorrow to avoid the Royal pukefest.

        Unfortunately, it’s in 3D.

      • Droid says :

        Fast Five thumbs up, Scream 4 thumbs down.

        I’m writing the FF review today. Such. A. Dumb. Film.

      • Jarv says :

        I’m morbidly curious about Scream 4.

      • Droid says :

        I’ll be writing a review.

        But I wouldn’t pay to see it if I were you.

      • Jarv says :

        Right. Won’t then.

        I think I know who the killers are anyway.

      • Jarv says :

        Oh and Tomorrow’s review is….

        Max Payne. Because it was £1 in Morrison’s last night.

      • Bartleby says :

        Fast Five almost makes dumb an art form.

        Scream 4 isn’t a good movie, and my enjoyment of it probably comes from the fact I’m not really a fan of the franchise. It did amuse me though. and I suspect Jarv, you will find things to enjoy in it. Paying cinema price for it isn’t advised, especially considering there are probably other better choices out there to double team with Thor if you are inclined.

      • Droid says :

        It’s blatantly obvious. Even if I didn’t have it spoiled by a review beforehand, I would’ve been pretty damn certain of my guess.

      • Droid says :

        Jarv will hate it. I’m 99.9% certain of it.

      • Bartleby says :

        yes, within five seconds you know who the killers are. In fact, Scream 4 would have gotten major points from me if they had acknowledged the dumbness of movie characters and had Gayle and Dewey solve th emurders and interrupt the characters within ten minutes to prove that living through four previous horror movies has made them slightly smarter.

        The movie could have gone off and done something else, but that would have really made it at least a 1/3rd as smart as it thinks it is.

      • Jarv says :

        That’s actually a really good idea.

      • Droid says :

        Max Payne is crap. And not in a good way.

        I liked those games.

      • Jarv says :

        Never played them. Not holding out a lot of hope.

        Still, it was only a quid. Lovefilm is still broken because of the PS3 Network, so blah.

        I don’t want to hand out another UWE this early.

      • Bartleby says :

        you guys do share the same stodginess, so I’d go with Droid’s suspicions.

      • Droid says :

        you guys do share the same stodginess

        Should I be insulted by this comment!?

      • Droid says :

        Jarv, do a dumbhouse double bill with Thor and Fast Five. It’s the only way to beat those Royal Wedding blues.

      • Jarv says :

        It’s so annoying, because I ordinarily like to go to the pub before/ after going to the cinema. And every pub will be full of Prince dipshit and the walking amoeba.

      • Bartleby says :

        No, not at all. I just think you guys have a shorter tolerance when it comes to movie shenanigans, or plot points that push your buttons.

        Somewhere over the last year, I dumped the cinematic gag reflex over implausibilites and mostly look at everything from a more aesthetic ‘how well did they do it’ perspective. I’m not saying you are unduly harsh, just that similar pet peeves tend to push both your buttons.

        I’ve noticed lately that this has become more a job to me and as a result I think my reactions have started running through a different filter than ‘is this worthwhile to a paying customer?’

        I’m mostly just acknowledging that my perspective has been slightly skewed. I’m still objective, just coming from a different place sometimes. Maybe it’s time to segment the reviews more between what works and whether an audience is gonna want to drop cash to see it.

      • Jarv says :

        I have got hotspot irritations.

        Also, I think I’m the only person not head over heels in love with Inception.

      • Droid says :

        I always try to review a film on whether or not I think it’s worth watching. My rating will then correspond with if it’s worth paying for.

        A rating of 3 and above usually means that I’d recommend paying to seeing it at a cinema. While 2 1/2 is more an on the fence rating. It’s a movie worth watching, and if you really want to see it, pay for the cinema, but otherwise wait of rental. Less than that is generally “avoid” territory.

      • Bartleby says :

        Regarding Max Payne. I actually think i’ts worth a Uwe. It’s really completely useless as a movie. I can’t think of anything about it that was interesting.

      • Jarv says :

        Oh shit.

        It’s getting monotonous. If I can find one thing in it that isn’t hateful then it gets off.

      • koutchboom says :

        Max Payne….it had a solid trailer.

      • Jarv says :

        Maybe the score is good?

      • koutchboom says :

        I’ve heard positives about the score, I really don’t remember shit about the movie. I confuse it and Hitman in my head.

      • Jarv says :

        Hitman is a crap film. That’s ducking a Boll by virtue of Olga Kurylenko getting the goods out.

      • koutchboom says :

        Ehhhh but thats typical Boll, getting naked chicks shoe horned in there. That to me makes it MORE of a Boll film.

      • Jarv says :

        It also has a competently staged fight scene. Boll has never managed this.

        I’m dreading the next few Boll movements in that stupid series. Earthworm Jim can’t come soon enough.

      • Droid says :

        The most surprising thing about ‘Hitman’ is that Jarv doesn’t call it ‘Shitman’.

      • Jarv says :

        I don’t think about it that often. But now you’ve mentioned it, I shall do in future.

      • Droid says :

        I’d appreciate it if you did.

  3. just pillow talk says :

    Okay, sounds like I’ll be renting this one afterall down the road.

  4. Droid says :

    Jonah, did you see it in 3D? I saw it in 2D and can’t see any reason for it being in 3D.

    • just pillow talk says :

      I actually fail to see how any movie should be in 3D, except cheesy horror movies.

      I mean, Avatar used it most effectively to ‘enhance’ scenes, but I still prefer 2D version.

      • Droid says :

        This is true. But you’re preaching to the choir.

        It really pisses me off that there are 13 sessions of Thor at my local cinema and 9 of them are 3D. Meaning the 2D sessions are rammed (I had to sit near the end of a row which was an annoying angle).

  5. Bartleby says :

    Droid, did you watch this trailer yet?


    I’m kind of conflicted. I can’t tell if it’s gonna be The Fall or more like The Cell. There’s a disturbing sense of ‘300’ in there, but then there a few really cool shots that make it seem like something interesting.

    I’m really on the fence about the first preview.

    • koutchboom says :

      It looks almost like a direct to video sequel to 300. With a lesser cast and weaker/cheesier sounding dialog. But its got some cool shots, like the air battle. It could be fun, I bet its on par with 300.

      • Bartleby says :

        I dont see it as DTV. It’s got a very theatrical bent to it. My concern is that it will play like Julie Taymor’s 300.

        But The Fall was so surprising that Im willing to give Tarsem some leeway. That sky battle shows it has more classical aspirations than 300’s muscle-bound Frazetta knock-offs.

      • koutchboom says :

        There are just some super cheesy aspects to it that give it a sort of cheap-o DTV feel, granted the greatest DTV movie ever, I mean the fucking thing cost 115 million. I’m talking about the Bow and Arrow in the rock, when it hammers it like a chuck breaks off like some cheap Star Trek prop. Also that cast???? I also dug just that WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP sound of the score. I think it could be cool and fun, IDK I’d like to see a quicktime version of the trailer.

      • Droid says :

        Also, when the arrow blew up the rock/door/whatever and the people went flying, one bloke in the middle had his cheap plastic helmet fly off.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah also some of the shots of the ROARING speeches seems like there are only 15 people there, and some of the shots of the sheilds look cheap.

      • Droid says :


        We are being very picky.

      • koutchboom says :

        Well I wouldn’t have given a shit if it really cost what it looks like, but it cost 115 million. 300 only cost like $60 million. Immortals looks like it cost a little less than that. I actually liked the trailer overall, its just the price that eerks me. But also 300 was a trailer better than the movie movie, this’ll probably end up being the same.

      • Droid says :

        Maybe it’ll end up like Thor and look better on the big screen than it does on a trailer on the computer.

      • Bartleby says :

        I agree with all of that, except I think the rock is supposed to look like that. Whether it’s good decision or not, Im not sure, but in those images it’s clear Tarsem is trying to make it look like an elaborate stage production. The entire thing isn’t CGI, but the scenes that are do look too ‘300’ esque. That’s what struck me is that the artificiality seems purposefully accentuated.

        Those rally scenes do look pretty lame though. That does feel like one of those NBC miniseries like Odysseus or something they used to churn out in the late 90s.

        I do want it to be good, but the trailer was, as you said, seriously underwhelming when you are using the Fall as your reference point.

        Ansd this is just me, but where are the monsters? Is it wrong to want monsters in my Greek mythology?

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I get that the rock is suppose to be like that. Like if he NAILS the sort of HAMMYNESS and over dramatices of it all it could be a good dumb fun film. BUT like you said about Julie Taymour, she tends to take her shit overly serious and that could kill it if he goes that way with it. I agree about wanting monsters, but also I wonder if they wanted to stay away from Clash similarities, I liked Clash though it was good dumb fun.

        I wasn’t underwhelmed with the trailer, really I had no idea what to expect. Sure its not The Fall, but looking at it now its about what I would expect if I had given the film any thought prior to the trailer. Its funny, both this and Green Lantern had an overall underwhelmed response with their first triailers while I enjoyed both. The potential is there for a good film but still Tarseem is a wild card.

        BUT jesus this’ll piss me off if the movie is told in flashbacks by some elder to younglings floping back and forth, then THAT would be typical Tarseem style. I hope he keeps it straight forward with the plot.

      • Bartleby says :

        I didnt like Clash much at all. The definition of a ‘meh’ movie. And I walked in wanting to like it.

      • Jarv says :

        Refuse to watch Clash remake. No interest at all- and I love the original.

      • koutchboom says :

        See I waited till rental because I thought it would blow, had a good time with it.

      • Droid says :

        Clash was shit.

    • Droid says :

      I watched it last night. I’m underwhelmed. It does have a 300 feel to it. Not good! I want it to be good. Tarsems back in my good books after The Fall. But while The Fall featured astounding practical effects and such, Immortals looks entirely computer generated. It’s also not a very good trailer, which doesn’t help.

  6. koutchboom says :


    has been guilty of phoning in performances in big budget movies in the past (Bad Company for example),

    Come on you can’t blame Tony for that he was still the best part, everything about that thing was phoned in. Awful movie.

  7. koutchboom says :

    Sooooooooooo Idris Elba and Rene Russo….are they in this at all? No ones said shit about them in any review I’ve read. But I did read somewhere that Idris has a pretty big role.

    • Bartleby says :

      Idris is decent. He’s the protector of Bifrost, the rainbow bridge. He’s decent, but his role is small, as is Russo’s.

    • Droid says :

      I thought about both of them while writing the review, but there’s only so many “Heimdall the Gatekeeper (Idris Elba) is the blah blah” and “Mrs Odin (Renee Russo) has one line in a thankless role” you can do without becoming monotonous. So I gave up trying to shoehorn them in.

      Elba has a good funny moment though.

      • koutchboom says :

        It’s just funny about Russo because she hasn’t done shit since what….1999 Thomas Crown? And then she makes her giant comeback with….this? Idris I was trying to see if what I read about his role being bigger was a lie or not.

      • koutchboom says :

        Ohhh god she has done some shit since Thomas. Totally forgot about Rocky & Bullwinkle, Showtime, 2 For The Money and Yours, Mine, Ours as I hope the rest of the world has as well.

        I like Rocky & Bullwinkle, purely on a so absurd its fun level but I know its a bad movie.

      • koutchboom says :

        Hrmmm she’s married to the guy who wrote The Fall.

      • Droid says :

        I also only mentioned Natalie Portman (aside from the plot description) on a rewrite of the review.

  8. koutchboom says :


  9. TomBodet says :

    Oh and it must be said:

    French Hulk>Chinese Hulk. You know it to be true. Search your feelings.

  10. Droid says :

    Two films started shooting on earlier this week. The Avengers* and Piranha 3DD. Big whoop you say? Piranha 3DD is scheduled for release in November 2011. Shooting, effects, post and release in six months!?!?!?!

    *I only mention this so that I can justify talking about Piranha 3DD on a Thor review.

    • Jarv says :

      Nicely played.

      Honestly, fuck The Avengers.

      • Droid says :

        The Jeremy Renner cameo in this is unspeakably shit and pointless. And it’s so completely obvious that it was dropped in their 6 months after the film finished shooting.

        Find a way of incorporating the characters into the story or just put them in the Avengers movie!

      • Jarv says :

        Find a way of incorporating the characters into the story

        Like Iron Man 2?

      • koutchboom says :

        Hahahah jesus it amazes me that Piranha 3DD is actually going to theaters, just look at that non cast they got.

      • Droid says :

        Like Iron Man 2?

        Okay, I’ll correct the sentence…

        Actually HAVE a story, then find a way of incorporating the characters into that story.


      • Droid says :

        Piranha 3DD will be made for peanuts, open to decent box office, disappear and then make a bundle on dvd. Just like the first one.

      • koutchboom says :

        But did the first one make a “bundle” on the DVDs?

      • koutchboom says :

        Ohhhh hahaha you non American’s enjoyed it:

        Total US Gross $25,003,155
        International Gross $57,922,644
        Worldwide Gross $82,925,799
        Home Market Performance
        US DVD Sales: $4,972,907

      • Droid says :

        Well, I’m going off the Amazon bluray top sellers list. Piranha 3D has been on there in the top 30 or higher since it came out.

      • koutchboom says :

        hahahaha really? Amazon UK perchance.

      • Droid says :

        Actually, I didn’t realise it cost $24m. I thought they made it for about $10m. But still, it’s nearly quadrupled its budget.

      • Droid says :

        Yeah Amazon UK.

      • koutchboom says :

        hahahaha come on those sales numbers don’t mean shit.

      • Jarv says :

        Don’t be silly.

        The UK has a massive DVD/ Blu-ray market. Nobody is going to ignore this.

        You know, if I didn’t happen to know you had a passport, I’d think you were one of 80% of Americans that had never left their home state.

      • Droid says :

        What sales numbers?

      • koutchboom says :

        Amazon UK.

      • Droid says :

        I didn’t state any sales numbers. Merely stating that the bluray of Piranha 3D has been high up in the bluray top sellers list for months. That list is apparently taken from ongoing sales. Take that however you like. They must have been selling some of the blurays for it to appear on the list in the first place.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah but England is roughly the size of Virginia……. i mean in the grand scheme of things it don’t mean shit. Also Amazon America sales I wonder how little they play to it also, I’m not sure.

        And hahaha Jarv….you are an old man and fool. You have the most stero typical view of Americans, I’m just real about the rest of the world.

      • Jarv says :

        Koutch, this isn’t my view of Americans. It’s my view of you.

        You are amazingly USA-centric, which is understandable, but to say that international markets “don’t count” is just plain daft. It’s also a fact that only just over a third of Yanks have a passport.

        The UK has a population of 60m- which is 1/5th the size of America, however, if you can catch 1% of that, that’s 600K DVD sales- Dealer Price at, say £10, that’s £6m in the bank. Who is going to turn down £6m? Only an arsehole that thinks everywhere outside of America doesn’t count.

        Nobody is going to ignore that.

      • koutchboom says :

        Hey I said that its run in Non american theaters is why its getting a sequel. Not its dvd sales. How was that US Centric? I don’t think DVD sales mean shit anymore no matter what country they are in.

      • koutchboom says :

        Also America’s total pop of america 308 million to All of Englands 68 million and only 4 Million in DVD sales probably means that England didn’t end up doing some CRAZY amount of sales for the movie to souly justify a sequel based on that. ALSO England wasn’t the highest grossing non American country for its Box Office Run. That would be Russia, which is acutally do to major changes in economy and theaters is becoming much bigger force in terms of box office. Japan actually grosses the second most box office outside of America.

      • Droid says :

        Bloody hell. Despicable Me has made $130m on dvd alone.

      • Droid says :

        Koutch, the date of those dvd numbers is 2 weeks after the dvd was released.

        19. Piranha $4,593,500 (2)

        Thats from February 03, 2011

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah it drop to like #30 something in its third week…how much tracking do you expect them to do?

      • Jarv says :

        Not my point. I was just correcting the colossal ignorance of someone that says “x-market doesn’t count” of course it does.

        When I was at the label all markets counted. Some more than others, but we were always really pleased to see how much shifted in Sweden, say, as opposed to Japan.

        The thing about DVD sales is that once pressed it’s gone- and the shop pays for the amount of stock they want up front. Therefore, that it’s been however long selling for Amazon UK means that it’s bought in good money every month for fuck all work. Only a simpleton would pretend that this doesn’t matter.

      • koutchboom says :

        Ohhh come on Jarv, Droid brought it up like it was a main factor of it getting a sequel. Yeah sure its quite loverly that its been selling well in the UK on DVD, but as a whole it didn’t mean shit one way or the other. LIKE Droid also pointed out afterward, the sequel was announced before they had even began to make any profit on the film. When you break shit down like a know it all sure, but who actually gives a shit about that. I was saying that the UK Dvd sales of it didn’t mean shit in terms of getting the sequel made.

        Had it somehow grossed something like $30 million on DVD in America then yey…maybe, BUT also like I said I don’t think DVD sales mean shit compared to what they used to. DVD sales have been tanking horribly, maybe if the movie had come out in 2002 it would’ve gotten the sequel because of the DVD sales. I doubt there will ever be a movie to ever get a sequel due to its DVD sales ever again. If anything I could see a LET THE RIGHT ONE IN case, that if some small unknown Un American movie has decent dvd sales…then they’ll just remake it.

      • Droid says :

        Plus, the reason Piranha 3D is getting a sequel is because Dimension announced it after the US opening weekend when it did a lot better than expected.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah that whole movie feels like some way for studios to launder money. Also it opened in England same day as America and Russia a week later. I mean the movie opened 6th to 10 million on a 24 million budget only to gross 25 million in the US. I mean Daybreakers opened 4th with $15 on a 20 million budget to gross 30 million US, but only 50 million world wide. Piranah grossed 58 million world wide, thats the reason its getting a sequel and why something like Daybreakers probably won’t. Even though going by US box office only you’d think Daybreaks would more likely get a sequel over Piranha.

      • koutchboom says :

        Part 2 could be better than 1. Its directed by the Feast guy and written by the Collector/Saw blokes.

      • koutchboom says :


        The clip used in promotional TV ads and the trailer that shows Kelly Brook’s character, Danni, face to face with a pack of piranhas was not used in the movie, and was used for promotion only.

      • Jarv says :

        The world is becoming more important than just the US, thankfully. Partially because of companies like Sony who own studios but are totally international.

        America is still far and away the most important, but when dogshit like The Descent 2 can limp into profit because of Fucking France, or AITD places at the top of the German DVD charts, this shit becomes important.

      • koutchboom says :

        Also Jarv it wasn’t some ‘colossal ignorance’ on my part. I said straight up the Non American box office has to be the driving force behind the sequel. I know box office very well, and no its nothing new that world box office is important. In most cases the world out grosses America. Fuck Titanic would’ve been the highest grossing film ever even if they never released it in the States (just going off Numbers). I think its just in recent years distribution has been becoming easier overseas making it more lurcative. And i think the only movie thats grossed more in America then the rest of the world in the top 50 highest grosses is The Dark Knight and maybe one more.

      • koutchboom says :

        E.T. and Star Wars both made more in America than the rest of the world as well.

      • Jarv says :

        hahahaha come on those sales numbers don’t mean shit.

        Who was that then?

        Also, I would wager on DVD’s being as, if not more, important than bums on seats now. DVD’s cost fuck all to make and have a high dealer price (it was £8.49 back in my day for new product). There’s also the front-end loading of revenue with DVD’s that the Studios seem to love. You sell 300,000 units (for a new release this isn’t a huge amount) worldwide to the dealers at £10 a pop. That’s $4m dollars there and then. That’s a massive chunk of cash back for a film like Piranha.

      • koutchboom says :

        That was in terms of Droids notion that the Amazon UK sales of Piranha were one of the big reasons it was getting a sequel. And yes you can break down DVD sales, good, all I know is that DVD sales have been plunging massivly lately, so I don’t think companies are putting much bank into their sales.

        ALSO bottom line we can’t get an accurate figure of what the dvd sales of it in the UK really are. But seeing as that it only made $6 million there at the box office and $4 million on DVD in the states I doubt it’s made more then $2 million if that on DVD there.

      • Jarv says :

        We don’t know the actual numbers. However, Say it made £2m (not out of the question) this is paid up front. That’s a good chunk of the production budget paid back by one DVD market. If it had a similarly strong performance in other territories (which is what I took him to mean), then it’s fucking coining it in.

        DVD sales may well be plummeting- Hollywood is making exactly the same mistake regarding piracy as the Music Industry made- but even so, it’s money for old fucking rope. $6m at the box office= roughly £5m. Which is about 500,000 people seeing it. Of that the studios see half. If you get a similar score for DVD, then that’s £5m banked.

        I’d expect global DVD of the major territories to have more than paid back the production budget- which puts it a long way in the black overall, and that’s why it’s getting a sequel.

        I thought Droid just quoted Amazon as it was indicative of the film’s strong performance (which it is)- not region specific.

      • Jarv says :

        Also, Koutch, while sales to the punter may be declining, the retailers still have to buy their stock up front (and that’s the bit the companies get). Therefore, they’d have bought X (large) amount of units at full whack dealer price.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I’m not denying that. I’m just saying if in the UK they only moved 500 units of Piranah then it doesn’t fucking matter in the long run.

      • Jarv says :

        It’ll be a lot higher. You can guarantee it. Although, yes, you are right- £5K here or there on this scale, and who gives a fuck.

      • Jarv says :

        And on that note, I’m off. I’ve a Royal/ Middle Class Social Climber assassination to plan.

      • Droid says :

        That was in terms of Droids notion that the Amazon UK sales of Piranha were one of the big reasons it was getting a sequel.

        Koutch, you’re talking complete shit. I never said anything of the sort.

      • koutchboom says :

        You pointed it out with no reference as to any other reason for it to be having a sequel. I get that you were just stating a fact, so ran with it as it being your key reason as to why Pirahna 2 was happening.

      • Jarv says :

        I thought he was using it as an indicator that it performed well on DVD- not as a cast iron reason why its got a sequel.

      • koutchboom says :

        Either way he was pointing it out as if it meant something, may have not been his full intention but that is where the discourse of this convo took it.

      • Droid says :

        Christ almighty. I assumed it did well on dvd because it’s been prominent on the top sales chart on Amazon.co.uk, which is one of, if not the biggest online retailer. I used this and applied it as a rule. It’s an assumption based on that one indicator, which I stated as part of my reasoning for the production of a sequel. Not at any time did I state that dvd sales were the sole reason “with no reference as to any other reason for it to be having a sequel.” That’s you labouring a made up point because you don’t have any other. I honestly have no idea what you’re arguing for or against. You’re just arguing for the sake of arguing. Presumably because you’re bored.

        And on that note I’m off for dinner. Koutch, you can argue into the ether all you want now.

      • koutchboom says :

        I wasn’t arguging Jarv was? I just said Amazon UK saled didn’t matter in context to what me and you were talking about. THEN Jarv comes in to school me on the importance of UK Dvd sales. You guys are touchy jesus.

      • koutchboom says :

        And this is what Droid said:

        Piranha 3DD will be made for peanuts, open to decent box office, disappear and then make a bundle on dvd. Just like the first one.

        With the assumption being that a ‘bundle’ is probably more than ‘decent’. SO then I asked droid where he got his dvd sales from and he said Amazon UK and said that didn’t matter and that was the end of Droid and mine conversation. It then turned into Jarv and me talking about the importance of DVD sales as a whole. Yes it wasn’t your soul point but it was the biggest talking point as to why there would be a sequel, because a ‘bundle’ in DVD sales would give creadence to a sequel not decent box office. BUT then you came back later and corrected it by saying that the sequel was announced the second the movie was released so DVD sales meant nothing.

        I mean this was all covered, just you popping in and out at random moments confused the whole thing to a point where you got all ‘christ almighty’ about it.

      • Jarv says :

        The other thing about DVD sales, that it’s always worth taking into account, is that they’re the gift that keep on giving. As the film ages, it drops down the ladder in terms of what you can sell it for (bear with me on this).

        to get it reprinted, you don’t need to glass master every time. You can always just use finished product. This, therefore, gives you the absolute joy of if you get an order for it at mid price (still coming in at about £6 per unit) then you get the number pressed and voila, doubled your money for fuck all work. Even when the retailers run campaigns on low price material (still selling at £4 per unit) they buy fucking thousands of them, so you get basically a huge profit for again no work.

      • koutchboom says :

        I mean also this brings into account how a Harry Potter film (5 I think) could still be in the red while grossing $938,212,738 world wide and only said to have cost $150 million, really how the fuck would any other film ever be considered profitable?

        YES I understand that there is a lot more insurances on a giant film like that so you get a lot of back end cost. BUt it brings in that whole hollywood notion that its better to make $600 million on a $100 million film then $60 million off a $20 million film. But see I think something that cost more then probably $10 million is going to start raking up tax things and insurances and stuff I don’t understand that its odd to wonder how films break even.

        I mean a movie like Insidious that only cost 1 million and grossed $45 million so far yeah thats easy to see how that was profitable, and you wonder what the film world would be like if they aimed for more of those kinds of returns then something like Harry Potter which is having fucked up finances.

        NOW that Harry Potter thing could be a one off thing, but it shows the whole shoddy/shaddy backdoor deals of it all, and also calls into question how much of that 150 million really went into the film.

      • Droid says :

        In the end, the point is that Piranha 3DD is getting made because it’ll be cheap to make and therefore little risk of a loss. And judging from the success of the first one it will make a decent profit.

        And Gary Busey is in it. Which means I will see it.


      • Droid says :

        It’s astounding how well some movies do internationally. Mamma Mia for example (highest grossing movie in the UK!). Hancock made shitloads. As did The DaVinci Code and the sequel.

        All the US needs now is to recoup their money. International provides all the profit.

      • koutchboom says :

        Nope Avatar finally beat out Mama Mia in the UK.

      • Jarv says :

        Thank fuck.

        That was a national embarrassment.

  11. Droid says :

    Droid brought it up like it was a main factor of it getting a sequel.

    Piranha 3DD will be made for peanuts, open to decent box office, disappear and then make a bundle on dvd. Just like the first one.

    Seems to me like I’m saying that the sequel will do well, just like the first one. But hey, I’m just the guy that wrote a post stating his own opinion. What do I know?

    • koutchboom says :

      Well looking at the level of people they have in the production hopefully they don’t spend more then 5-10 million on it. I mean it really is surprising that its getting a theatrical realease. We’ll see if that actually happens, the first one was moved once or twice before it finally came out.

  12. Droid says :

    I’m outta here! Long weekend #2!!! Huzzah!


  13. Toadkillerdog says :

    Saw it tonight at preview screening. I liked it quite a bit. Give it three out of four toadkillers.

    Things that bring it down. I hated the opening sequences CGI, just looked phony to me, looked very cheap. It was also far too dark. The reason was in trying to show the grandeur of Asgard, it just did not work for me. Later on, when the scenes did no try to show so much background, it seemed ‘more believable’.

    The other thing i truly hate is 3D.
    Unlike Avatar, which I felt was a fantastic use of 3d because it was limited, this entire flick is filmed in 3d. The most mundane scenes arein 3d, makes it looks like a view master instead of a movie a times.

    Ok, enough of that. I thought Hemsworth and Hopkins and Hiddleston were great.

    Totally agree with droid that sir tony did not phone this one in. He could have chomped some scenery – even in his limited role, if he had chosen to, but he pulled back.

    Branaugh did a very good job of selling the entire movie, and even though it is a setup for the Avengers, pulling off Thor is no easy task. I applaud him for that.

    As for the rapid change of heart, well it happened in two scenes.
    After the failed hammer pull and after Loki…well that would be spoiler, but yes it was quick but for a comic book movie it was acceptable.

    Did not really fall for the Thor /Jane love thingy, very chaste very low key get it? Loki! I made a funny!

    Good action, could have been more, but it was good.

    I must say, Marvel and Branaugh pulled this off. It is fucking Thor!

    And the Stan Lee cameo is great.

  14. Frank Marmoset says :

    Good review.

    I’ll be keeping my expectations moderate, like you say. That seems to be the best way to enjoy these crazy superhero films.

  15. Spud McSpud says :

    Only a slight correction here, Droid, but I’m a Branagh fanatic so it’s warranted: he never made MACBETH on film. Had he done so, I’d be there with bells on, but he hasn’t, so I haven’t.

    The best MACBETH on film is the one directed by respected paedophile Roman Polanski, starring Jon Finch, and it’s fucking great. Kudos also to Sir Patrick Stewart’s portrayal in the UK TV version shown over Christmas last year. Had some great ideas nicely produced.

    Other than that, fair play to your review. I think reading even just one of the THOR comics will demonstrate how hard this movie would have been to make entertaining but not over-silly, so I think Branagh pulled an absolute blinder not letting this turn into MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (the movie that, for me, it most closely resembles). And you’re right – the one-two of Branagh’s perfect direction between epic silliness and earnest-yet-broad emotional drama and Chris Hemsworth’s thorough likeability are the main reasons that THOR works. There are some zingers there in the dialogue too – “What happened to him?!” “He drank. He fought. He made his ancestors proud!”, and the entire scene in the diner where Thor discovers coffee, and this does help.

    I can’t recommend THOR highly enough as an example of how a superhero movie SHOULD be made. Keep your expectations low, and this movie is just aces 😀

    • Droid says :

      Damn, I meant Hamlet.

      Cheers, Spud. I fully appreciate how difficult the task of making Thor work would have been. I think Branagh got the tone right. More of the comedy worked, than not. Kat Dennings was a little annoying. But the line when the Warriors Three arrive in town (“We have Xena, Jackie Chan.. ” etc) got a good reaction too. One of the things that didn’t work is the earth scenes felt like the only reason they existed was to tie Thor in to the “Marvel Universe”. If the whole thing was on Asgard, with Thor banished to some remote part of Asgard, it would’ve worked better because it wouldn’t have had those big shifts between earth realism and Asgard theatrical fantasy. I haven’t seen MOTU since the early 90’s. Don’t remember it at all.

      But yeah, expect a decent fun movie and that’s what you’ll get.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Agreed on Kat Dennings. I thought she was great in CHARLIE BARTLETT, and aparently DEFENDOR is good too (own it, not yet watched it though), but it felt like THOR left most of her scenes on the cutting room floor. Which is a shame, since some of her scenes worked really well for me. It just felt like there was more of her character that we didn’t see (trimmed for a shorter running time, methinks).

        I think you have to tie Thor into Earth in order not just to make it part of THE AVENGERS, but part of the Marvel Universe in general. Thor without Earth is just another asinine remake like CLASH OF THE TITANS – a meaningless CGI battle between one bunch of pixels and another – which, I grant you, is basically the first battle in THOR anyway. But THOR as a movie without Earth would be just another wildly inaccurate mythological movie – and my favourite scenes in it were the Earthbound ones.

        Hey, at least we know Tom Bando’s gonna love it – something other than an IRON MAN movie featuring Giant Robots – and is actually a good movie!!

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Actually Spuddy wonders of wonders it looks like Mikey Bay may have accidently made a (semi-) decent third entry w/ Big Robots Hitting Each Other (Yet Again). We’ll see.

        As for Thor-well of course I’ll watch it. I even recognize that big metal critter w/ the cyclops heat ray etc they show in the scenes. Should be at least fun to watch if nothing else.

  16. ThereWolf says :

    Not that arsed about ‘Thor’, the trailer didn’t do much for me (but then neither did ‘Avatar’) – but it sounds watchable after all. I shall await the rental with interest…

    Is that Tom Hiddleston the bloke who plays for Spurs?

    Nice one, R2. Good review.

  17. romancereader says :

    I loved the movie and Chris Hemsworth gave a great performance. I was underwhelmed by the romance between his and Portman’s character. This could have been great but there was no tension and he actually seemed uninterested in her until the end. I was really hoping to see a romance along the lines of Superman and Lois Lane but was sadly disappointed. Thankfully Chris provided fabulous eye candy so all was not lost.

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