Thor: Hammer of the Gods DVD Review
Written by Sharon Davies
DVD released by Koch Media
Directed by Todor Chapkanov
Written by Steve Bevilacqua
2009, Region 2 (PAL), 83 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 16th April 2012
Zachery Ty Bryan as Thor
Mac Brandt as Baldur
Daz Crawford as Ulfrich
Having read Thor comic books in the past and watched film adaptations on the character recently, I’m always interested to see another version about the mythical muscleman, so upon being given this film to review I excitedly popped it into my DVD player. Also, being a girl, I was looking forward to the prospect of seeing some handsome, muscle-bound man wielding a hammer and generally being brilliant, with bit of horror on the side.
However with this version I had a problem, a pretty big problem. The problem with this film is nothing short of his inclusion in it. Why? Well because even though this film is about Thor, starring Thor and with Thor being pouty throughout…he actually spoils the film. The casting is really wrong with Home Improvements' Zachery Ty Bryan looking like he couldn’t really handle a battle of “Connect 4” , never mind a fight to the death. This element of the film is just, in a word, confusing.
A Viking boat sails Thor, his brothers Baldur and Ulfrich (Blade II’s Daz Crawford), their wives and a small team of Viking men to the end of the Earth. Looking for glory, honour and a new kingdom, the men stumble upon a mysterious island and as the ship docks they smugly await what lies in store. The men imply their colleague’s ultimate power with claims of “Thor is a force of nature” which throughout translates to a pouty, short and slightly annoyed character whose first chance of battle concludes with him hiding up a tree. You know, warrior style. Not.
As the team ventures into the misty woods it soon becomes clear that evil inhabits their lands and they start to get picked off by a pack of beasts.
Now, up to this stage the beasts in question seem pretty menacing. A good basic rule of thumb for me is: if you don’t have the budget to make a good monster then a few suggested shots and the odd clawed hand can do pretty well, and in the early stages of Thor I felt rather satisfied with an implied attackers and a few disemboweled post murder shots. Unfortunately , this doesn’t last.
As the team venture on and the slaughter continues we soon cast our eyes upon what seems to be, 10 extras with wolf masks on. And not a good job either; the heads are possibly modeled on the wolf from Michael Jacksons’ Thriller video, and in a 2009 film, that isn’t scary enough.
The crew stumbles upon a village and the tension rises between the three brothers (who I might add couldn’t look further from biological brothers) and although you’d assume Thor would lead the pack it emerges that Baldur commands the team, leaving Thor as the moody kid and his other brother Ulfrich having a massive chip on his shoulder.
While in the village the team discovers some former explorers who beg them to take them and sail as far away from the island as possible - warning them of the death which awaits them all if they stay. Throw some twists and turns, some brother rivalry, some stabs in the back and an evil wolf leader named Fenris (who looks like a rubbish version of Gmork from The Never Ending Story) and that’s pretty much your story.
There are of course some battle scenes etc but a real lack of horror itself and, other than a few choice disembowellings, I struggled to find the gore through the cheese. However one horrifying moment towards the 108th minute comes when Thor wails out a rather famous line from another movie. Let’s see if you can spot it. If you do so this may be one of the few moments that send you reeling.
I guess the main issue is this, if you got rid of the Thor element and just called it Vikings Vs Werewolves then it might have worked much better. We could have just had some ass whooping scenes and a mix of genres which can sometimes work so well. But instead we have a horribly cast Thor, a hammer that looks somewhat papier-mâché and constant awkward mentions of Thor folklore to attempt to warrant its title.
Video and Audio:
Both Video and Audio quality is good with the clarity of film being done rather well. Perhaps an overused blue bulb to suggest the moon could have been left out but the camerawork and lighting allows you to concentrate fully on the piece without any cringy tricks getting in the way.
The score is fitting of the platform it creates and again does nothing to offend me as a viewer, in fact if anything it adds to its overall quality.