A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thor (2011): Every Mum and Dad's Fantasy

I'm not sure why the superhero genre puts people off. It's oodles of fun and mums should be the first people to embrace their geeky side especially when you consider how much children love the genre. Harry Potter was pretty popular even among parents and really, when you get to the guts of it he's really a kind of superhero.
I've been told it's the brightly coloured, tight-fitting costumes? I don't know... they've never really bothered me.

Thor, the mythical Scandanavian god of thunder, found his way into comic book history in the early 1960s and has now become the subject of a major motion picture. I believe the intention by Marvel is to release an Avengers movie in couple of years which is why we're getting a whole spate of Marvel comic adaptations such as Thor.

Never read the comic books but I remember watching Thor cartoons as a child. They were fairly ordinary stuff... especially compared to the good stuff coming out of Disney and Hannah-Barbera. I remember stills... lots of stills and speech balloons containing "Pow", "Bam", "Wham". Potently cheesy stuff.  But that hammer. I loved that hammer.

The hammer is second the best thing in the new Thor film. It is pure cool.  And I've discovered after 30 something years that it has a name -- Mjolnir. Cool. I suppose if swords have names, why can't hammers, right? After giving it some thought, I reckon it's the real protagonist of the film.
Why? Well, because without it, Thor's a mightily tall, blonde Chippendale clone that kicks rear ends. But not like when he kicks rear ends in Asgard because that is when he has his trusty Mjolnir.

The best thing about the Thor film is the Brent Spiner lookalike (reference for Trekkies) Loki. He's the second son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and whaddya know, even gods have family problems like the rest of us. With all the CGI and amazing effects, the thing that makes the film work is because it is about family... rebellious kiddies, sibling rivalry and why kids should ALWAYS listen to mum and dad. Daddy really does know best. Thor is a hothead and suffering from an overdeveloped sense of boredom. Peace time, admittedly, is rather ho hum for superheroes which is why there's Loki to make mischief and stir things up.

Thor gets banished to earth for wrecking a tentative peace deal with the Ice Giants and in the process learns humility a la Excalibur fashion. And yah... he bumps into the pretty Natalie Portman which makes his brief sojourn to earth less tiresome. And surprise, surprise, they even kiss.

Those of us parents know that Thor, despite his tendencies to leap before looking, is really not a bad kid. We know the type... daredevil, showman and doesn't really take "no" for an answer. In fact, "no" is usually red rag to a bull. Unlike Odin, however, we don't have the power to banish them to another planet and take away their ability to do further damage so they can learn the hard lessons of responsibility and humility.
Us plebs, on the other hand, are stuck with ours on Planet Earth and have to exercise discipline the arduous, no short-cuts way.
But it's obvious that time-out works.

So when we peel away all the layers of movie magic, it's obvious that Thor is really a parental fantasy for battle weary mums and dads: How to discipline your kids without having to discipline them yourself.

Just another day in Asgard... don't you know...

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