Viking Cinema, Part Tveir By Roderick on May 16, 2011 8 In my discussion of Thor yesternight, I forgot to mention the films surprisingly antiwar politics. I cant go into details without spoilage, so Ive once again relegated them to the comments section. SPOILER WARNING: Left-Libertarian, Science Fiction, Terror
Asgard and Jotunheim have been at (uneasy) peace for a thousand years. Then some frost giants slip into Asgard to steal a Frostee MacGuffin, but after whacking a couple of guards they are killed by Odin’s automated defenses. Thor wants to go to Jotunheim to smash all the frost giants, but Odin forbids it, saying that Asgard was invaded not by all the frost giants but only by a handful, who have already paid with their lives; and since the frost giants didn’t get the Frostee MacGuffin they pose no more military danger than before. (The issue is raised that the unsuccessful thieves might have even been acting on their own, though Odin’s aversion to a punitive invasion pretty clearly doesn’t depend on this implausible, and as it turns out false, hypothesis.) Thus Odin prefers to let the matter pass.
I wish Odin had been president on 9/11. That way the death toll of 9/11 could have been kept at around 3000 rather than the possible million or so at which it currently stands.
Thor disobeys Odin and — thanks to Loki, who eggs him on in the guise of trying to dissuade him — launches a punitive “shock and awe” expedition against Jotunheim, where he gets in over his head and has to be rescued by papa Odin. Thor has now embroiled Asgard in an unnecessary war, and for this crime is stripped of his powers and exiled to Midgard.
Later in the movie we find out that the theft attempt was actually an inside job; Loki deliberately let the frost giants in, in order to impress Odin by then defeating them — and thus also to persuade Odin to choose Loki over Thor as his successor. Thus in effect the crisis was manufactured by Loki just as the Clone War was manufactured by Palpatine — so he could use it as an excuse to expand his own power. (Well, and to win his father’s affection.)
I’m not saying Straczynski (or Lucas, for that matter) is a 9/11 truther (although he didn’t write the script, JMS outlined the basic story, so I’m guessing these elements are his); and neither am I. But the film definitely presents a gratifyingly skeptical attitude toward the u.s. War on Terror, and I’m surprised I’ve seen nothing about this.
In your previous discussion about Thor, you commented on the pronunciation of Norse names not being authentic. Just curious, what is the authentic pronunciation of those names? In the move, J was pronounced as a Y; and Mjolnir sounded just like I had imagined it would from reading the comics.
I remember being impressed with the “wisdom” of Odin at the beginning, but then I had forgotten about it. But yes, I’d say that your assessment is very good, re: 9/11 (as well as the Palpatine analogy re: Loki).
I rank the movie just a hair below the first Iron Man, in overall entertainment and comic book adaptation. Good action & humour!
However, I’d still like to know how Loki got to Earth (& back to Asgard) for his visit with the “detained” Thor. I know at one point he mentioned to Heimdall that there are other ways than Bifrost to enter/leave Asgard. As well, he was able to somewhat cloak his visit/discussion with the Frost Giant leader, from Heimdall’s “sight”. But at least Heimdall knew that Loki was in Jotunheim. So I figure that Heimdall, who would have been watching Thor on Earth, would have picked up an unusual anomaly during the time that Loki visited Thor. Or maybe he did, and I missed it?
BTW, Walter & Louise Simonson also make a cameo at the end banquet!
“In the move…” should be “In the movie…”. 😉
The “o” in “Mjöllnir” has an umlaut, so it sounds more like the “oo” in “book” or the “oe” in “Goethe.”
The “heim” in “Heimdall” and “Jotunheim” rhymes with “shame,” not with “slime” (as it would if it were German).
The “Bi” in “Bifrost” is more like the “bi” in “big” than like the “bi” in “bike.”
The “d” in “Odin” and “Midgard” is like “th” in “there.”
Thanks for telling me about the Simonsons.
Re Loki, was he necessarily on Earth that first time? We know he can project his image, but it’s not clear how far.
< Re Loki, was he necessarily on Earth that first time? We know he can project his image, but it’s not clear how far. >
Well, consider that he did try to lift Mjolnir after leaving Thor. Would his projection ability/illusion casting allow for this?
Maybe he was possessing a human body? But if so, he was simultaneously cloaking his presence to the SHIELD agents (i.e. he was invisible to them). Is Loki supposed to be that powerful?
I forgot about that.
I really dug the antiwar angle, too. I’m not holding my breath for anyone in today’s media to talk much about that in any reviews, though. With the Captain America trailer looking pretty gung-ho, rah-rah, jingoistic, Thor‘s a nice antidote.
As for Loki traveling between Earth and Asgard, it didn’t bother me much. I just assumed it was some kind of special hocus-voodoo that enabled him to do it undetected.