By Odin's beard! May 20, 2011, is the date set for Thor, the big screen adaptation of the Stan Lee-Jack Kirby-created Marvel comic about the Norse god of thunder and his earthbound alter ego, Dr. Donald Blake. Chris Hemsworth, who played James Kirk’s dad in the prologue of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, stars as the hammer-wielding one, and Natalie Portman is onboard as Jane Foster, romantic interest. Colm Feore, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Stuart Townsend, Samuel L. Jackson (as Marvel cigar chomper Nick Fury), Jamie Alexander, Kat Dennings, Tom Hiddleston and Idris Elba (Stringer Bell from The Wire) have all signed on, for parts big and small, and Kenneth Branagh is directing.
Thor straddles two worlds: the ancient kingdom of Asgard, where he and the other gods -- including his arch nemesis (and half-brother) Loki – do stuff to make the chief God, Odin (Sir Anthony) angry, and New York City circa now, where Thor’s earthbound incarnation, Dr. Blake, struggles to keep his practice going as Congress dithers about a health care plan. (Well, not sure that that story line is getting in...) And then the evil forces of Asgard invade Earth, and all helvete breaks loose.
Hope this is good. As a director, Branagh demonstrated prowess and playfulness with his debut, 1991’s private eye noir homage, Dead Again, and he's certainly exercised his Bard jones with adaptations of Hamlet and a trio of jaunty Shakespeare comedies. But how are his CG chops? And when the thunder god starts slinging that uru hammer, Mjolnir, will Branagh know where to put the camera?