Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Marvel Media Mania: Thor: Tales of Asgard

Thor: Tales of Asgard is a direct-to-DVD animated film released in 2011, right around the same time as the live action Thor film.
This movie features a much younger Thor than we regularly see. He is viewed as a teenager by his Asgardian peers although we can assume that as an immortal God is is much older than 15 years old or so. Thor does not have his mystical hammer, Mjolnir yet and Loki isn't "evil."

Thor has been coddled his whole life, unknown to him, and he thirsts for adventure after Sif easily beats him in battle with a broken pitchfork. Algrim the dark elf is Odin's long time adviser and aid who hides that fact that Thor and Loki stow away on the Warriors Three's ship bound for Jotenheim where they seek Surtur's lost sword, Elderstahl. Yeah, the Asgardian names can be a bit much at time. But the story manages to have a youthful, upbeat feel to it. There are a few funny moments peppered throughout the movie (such as showing a table of Greek gods at the bar having no fun at all, Thor throwing a common wooden mallet to spectacular results, or Hogun's memorable quote, "I have to say, I'm close to weeping, lads.").

The storyline closely mirrors that of the live action film. It involves the Frost Giants and there's a threat of war between them and the Asgardians. Still, it manages to blaze its own trail by focusing on Elderstahl which corrupts those that wield it. We also get to see the home of the Valkyries. There's no way of telling if this film is in continuity with the movie or not. It simply isn't an issue. Thor stays in Asgard's realms for the entire film.

Visually, the character designs and Asgard itself are nearly identical to the comics. For some reason Loki has a strong anime influence but none of the other characters really do. The art is clean and visually appealing. The action is presented in a dynamic way that is interesting and easy to follow. The artists pay attention to the little details, even having Thor and company leaving footprints in the snow. The Thor/Algrim fight at the end in the dark is pretty cool (Spoiler alert... wait - too late. Sorry.) There are a few cameos for long time Thor fans such as the Fenris Wolf and you can sneak a peek at Mjolnir too.

All in all, this is a very enjoyable movie for old Thor fans and the young alike.

1LR Review - 16 out of 20 - It's a Hit!

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