Thor (2011) last night. It was... okay. I didn't enjoy it as much as the film treatment of Captain America I saw a few nights ago. It seemed too much like a sword and sandal film or two I have seen before... I don't know... Lord of the Rings, perhaps, or a Hercules film? And am I the only person to notice that a peculiarity of this movie is that the most powerful protagonist in it and the one who can most markedly influence the course of events, Odin, takes an extended nap - the "Odin Sleep" - so that the action can proceed?
Thor is like a Shirley Temple film in that regard. Shirley never had a biological father in any of her films because any trouble she got into would then be easily fixed and there would be no story. She had to struggle and tap dance with Bojangles Robinson on her own, the plucky little thing.
In keeping with Hollywood's de rigueur requirement for diversity Thor's pals inexplicably number among them a black man and an Asian. (Did some Asgardian complain, "There goes the fjord?") And, of course, there's the inevitable warrior female. I suspect that if Hollywood were to do a remake of the 1922 Eskimo epic Nanook of the North, it, too, would now contain a black man, an Asian and a warrior female. Perhaps a Hispanic as well. There simply is no location far enough north to get away from multiculturalism, not even across the rainbow bridge to Asgard.
(Wait a minute... it just occurred to me. No Jews in Asgard? No, of course not - what am I thinking? They're in Florida, where the weather is nicer. Come to think of it, there were no Jews in Star Trek, either. Jews in Space would have to wait for Mel Brooks. But I digress.)
Why is this relentless diversity necessary? Look, I don't care if Kurosawa didn't include an Anglo-Saxon in any of his Japanese samurai films. And I'm not put out if somebody does, say, a film about Dynastic Egypt without WASPs. Or a Bollywood musical sans NASCAR types. I'm no advocate of racial purity, but warrior Vikings with soul, chi or a menstrual period is jarring.
I used to read Thor comics as a kid, back when reading D.C. and Marvel stories constituted my per-literate period, before I turned to books as a fourteen year-old. Stan Lee (who makes a predictable cameo appearance in Thor as a truck driver) always scripted Old High English speech patterns for the Thunder God. Sayest thou? Verily. I'm not sure if anyone in English history actually spoke that way, save perhaps 17th C. Quakers. Chaucer's language is more like French and Shakespeare's English is far more colloquial; I'm certain Vikings didn't sound like that. (They didn't even speak English!) But, hey, it sounded appropriately epic in a comic book setting.
(When I joined the Mormon church and received the discussions from the missionaries I was enjoined to use thees and thous in prayer, to show a proper respect for Diety. I had no problem at all with this usage, having grown up on Stan Lee's Old High English in Thor comics. Thou wilts and thees came easily to me. It's second nature, now, and when I hear an occasional familiar "you" in a public prayer it kind of clangs on the ear.)
I might also mention that when I used to draw my own comics as a kid I had a knock-off character for Thor; mine was named the Mighty Bore. He talked a lot and, like the other one, threw a hammer around. Come to think of it, so did I. A cardboard box wasn't safe from the reach of my mighty Sears Craftsman Mjolnir.
Last night I also watched the programmatic antithesis to fabled realms, rainbow bridges, ice demons, Old High English, gods and demigods: another Rick Sebak documentary, this time about farmer's markets. It's entitled To Market To Market To Buy a Fat Pig (2007). Not being an especial fan of fresh vegetables, I found this one somewhat less appealing than his amusement park, ice cream, flea market and hot dog features.
And there is also this: it becomes clear that along with serving up bok choy and rutabagas, the folks at these open air markets are also dispensing some sanctimony. Comments from one smug fellow - a Californian, naturally - gave me the impression that he'd rather die than take a bite from an apple found in a grocery store.
Watch enough Rick Sebak documentaries and you'll notice that his narration almost always includes a chortle when he comes in after a kid says something funny. He's the chortlingest man on PBS since Jack Horkheimer died.
That's all for today.
Henceforth I think I shall call the little snooze I take when I get home from work the Odin Sleep.
I forgot to mention something in my assessment of "Thor" and its wonderful diversity: the one bonafide Scandanavian in all of it is the estimable Stellan Skarsgård, a certifiable real movie star from the Frigid North if ever there was one. (He was great as a flawed cop in the first "Insomnia," a Norwegian film.)
So what does he do in this? He has a minor role and gets drunk, unable to hold his liquor with Thor. Hmf.
Thor and Captain America cannot get drunk, apparently. It's probably better that way, don't you think?
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