and sometimes poetry

Thor (2011) | Review by Hannah Brooks-Motl

Like adultery, drugs, and advanced degrees in the humanities, midnight showings are great in theory, often lackluster in praxis, and usually leave one deeply regretful come morning. They are a bad idea, neither the cause nor effect of which you can ever remember, and so one which you are helplessly destined to have again and again, like thinking “pot is still fun!” or “a bj isn’t really cheating!” or “oooh, PhD in creative writing….”—movies at midnight sit stupidly in the center of one’s movie-going buffet, a dry, dull cake you somehow convince yourself you will not eat even as you march gustily towards it, suddenly feeling great and what’s this? Hungry! And: Alive! with the pure excitement and adrenaline and pleasantly discombobulating sense of adventure arriving at and entering a mall that has already closed instantly and inexplicably entails. What are we, like 12? Yes; let it be known: Mark and I are like 12. For we went to see Thor with the other 12-year-olds, all of us housed unattractively in the pasty corporeal sacks of our mid-to-late twenties, and we went to see it at midnight—an hour when all normal adults are either drunk, asleep, or mid-coitus with their cougarish comp lit prof.

Thor is like if Kenneth Branagh had riotous, frequent, meth-fueled sex with one of his film-studies undergrads and they decided to make a movie together, but this undergrad was hugely overweight and really into fantasy/comic book shit and also super-gay in an early-80s Freddie Mercury kind of way, and he insisted that their movie be an accurate depiction of ancient Norse mythology and its accompanying world views. And by that he meant lots of capes, curly-horned helmets, and some kind of space-sea-waterfall-scape, as if multiple Yanni album arts had been blown-up and poorly CGI’d together. There are moments when you can tell that someone real directed this film: a few scenes, after Thor has been “cast out” from Valhalla or wherever and deposited into the astrophysicist purview of Natalie Portman (who here plays her one other kind of role—the over-eager, somehow feral Good Girl), smack pleasantly of Branaghian self-awareness; later on, a deliciously inter-textual moment is smuggled in. But alas such morsels are few and far between. Thor is loud and metallic; its savor is like sleeping with a mouthful of popcorn taste, then waking up from a backwash of dreams your subconscious once again got suckered into taking the last swig of.

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9 responses

  1. Anonymous

    I hope you put in enough analogies and metaphors in this review.

    May 14, 2011 at 3:12 am

    • mark leidner

      this comment is like a snake without fangs trying to bite a tree it thinks is a very slow giant’s leg

      May 16, 2011 at 3:42 am

  2. Anonymous

    And that comment is just stupid. See there? No clunky analogy. Just straight to the point. The writing on this site needs to kill off some of its contrived adjectives and metaphors. They distract from whatever point you’re really trying to make. Eh, that’s all.

    June 9, 2011 at 4:04 am

    • mark leidner

      if we stripped our writing down to a no analogy, no metaphor, no figurative language format, people like you would barge in here complaining that it was too boring, too straightforward, and too to the point

      June 9, 2011 at 10:55 am

  3. Anonymous

    I’m not saying don’t use analogies, metaphors and figurative language. The ones in this review are pretty good, but like anything else, the more often you use it the effect diminishes. Here’s a list this singular (and relatively small) review of Thor uses:

    —–

    Midnight movies are like adultery, drugs, and advanced degrees in the humanities, which in turn is like thinking pot is still fun or a bj isn’t really cheating or a degree in creative writing

    Next, midnight movies are like a dry, dull cake in the middle of a buffet.

    Like arriving at and entering a mall that has already closed.

    Thor is like if Kenneth Branagh blah blah blah big list of things.

    Thor is like sleeping with a mouthful of popcorn taste, etc.

    —–

    That’s a shit ton of comparisons for ONE short review of a movie. With all that shit, one wonders if there was ANY room for some actual substance or real analysis of the movie. The brilliant part is here – “There are moments when you can tell that someone real directed this film: a few scenes, after Thor has been “cast out” from Valhalla or wherever and deposited into the astrophysicist purview of Natalie Portman (who here plays her one other kind of role—the over-eager, somehow feral Good Girl), smack pleasantly of Branaghian self-awareness”

    That’s the shit I read reviews for. It’s analytical, shows you know a lot about films and directors, looks into the movie and the actors in it. The rest of this review is fluff and not really a review. Just a bunch of analogies strung together to show off a bit of word play. Also, kill off like, half of the adjectives here. The first thing writing professors teach you in class is that adjectives are the enemies of decent writing.

    Anyway, like I said, there’s a part of this review that’s brilliant but you lot aren’t catering to me so do what you do I guess.

    June 9, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    • mark leidner

      your points are strong and articulately made, but only your final concession is salient, in that it hints at an awareness of context. the purpose of poets on film is to push figurative language and structural experiment within the mode of movie review to the breaking point. check out hannah’s review of source code. as regular readers are aware, the blog itself is a journey of excess–nay, insanity–followed by moments of climactic reconciliation (like this one, with you) with classical convention–a series of dawns all the more sweet for having fought through the many midnights of a self-indulgent lyric. your eyes work. you see the sand in the machine. you try to remove it. but your inexperience blinds you to the fact that this isn’t a machine, it’s an oyster.

      June 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm

      • KKB

        Holy shit, how’d you get so cool? Also, please don’t stop! I can only reread your past movie reviews so many times before I must resort to reading your responses to (very dedicated) trolls. (But I guess aren’t they all?) THESIS STATEMENT: write more for me!

        June 26, 2011 at 3:36 am

  4. Ted

    Hannah, I loved your poem in Sixth Finch. Crushed stars is a phrase that won’t stop following me around. Hannah and Mark, more reviews please. The internet needs you. The internet is a nickname I just gave myself. I don’t know what to watch without you. I just bought two dozen tickets for an advanced screening of The Smurfs.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:39 pm

  5. Thor (2011) | Review by Hannah Brooks-Motl | Poets on Film

    June 30, 2014 at 7:18 am

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