Thor: Tales of Asgard (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

Blu-ray Review

Thor: Tales of Asgard

Directed by: Sam Liu
Cast: Matthew Wolf, Chris Britton, Grey DeLisle, Tara Strong, Rick Gomez (voices)
Running Time: 1 hr 17 mins
Rating: NR
Due Out: May 17, 2011

PLOT: A prequel to the live action blockbuster Thor, this animated feature follows Thor the teenager as he ventures to the Frost Giants’ realm in search of a sacred and powerful sword.

WHO’S IT FOR? Younger viewers who may not even be old enough to see Thor will likely enjoy this simple story, though they might be bored by the movie’s lack of action and focus on drama. Fans of Thor might enjoy the way it captures the Asgardian background of Thor’s character.

MOVIE:

It’s unclear as to whether the creators of this animated feature prequel had access to a viewing of Thor while this project was in the development. For one, the writers might have backed off the idea that this teenage Thor should start something up with the Frost Giants – as this happens exactly in Branagh’s film, and leads to a plot-deciding domino effect. This essentially happens in Tales of Asgard, and makes the story in the live-action feature now seem a bit redundant.

At the same time, had the creators of Thor: Tales of Asgard seen the movie they were ultimately promoting, there would indeed be some sense of accomplishment. For one, this little movie actually takes time to properly show the “Tree of Life” that combines all of the realms, instead of relying on a diagram drawn on the ground by Chris Hemsworth’s character. In Tales of Asgard we are given a detailed depiction of the realms actually being connected, and we get a bigger sense of how the different creatures can move between each realm (without having to use the laser beam service of the Bifrost).

Tales of Asgard stands out of the shadow of Branagh’s mighty Thor in a few other notable ways, which can be felt as a small sigh of relief for those who don’t want to just watch the junior novelization of the $150 million dollar movie. For one, this little movie hardly pays any attention to Mjolnir (the stupid name for Thor’s trademark hammer). The word “Earth” isn’t even spoken, and those side characters/friends of Thor’s are actually given a little more time in the spotlight. One would assume that these are nice nuggets for fans of the comic book character also.

The story of Tales of Asgard is simple. The animation is thankfully more labored than its story, as the different locations are given extensive detail, a bit like the special effects of Thor itself. Though this might be an animated movie likely primed for young boys and girls, the amount of easy-to-please action is a bit slim (only the final duel is exciting) and a heavier focus is given to dramatics of deceit. That being said, maybe the creators behind this didn’t get to see the big jalopy of Thor, but Kenneth Branagh would probably like what they’ve made.

MOVIE SCORE: 4/10

EXTRAS

Worthy: The Making of Thor: Tales of Asgard
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Bonus Episode
Feature-Length Audio Commentary with Supervising Producer Craig Kyle and Screenwriter Greg Johnson
Feature-Length Audio Commentary with Supervising Director Gary Hartle, Director Sam Liu and Character Designer Phil Bourassa
Trailer Gallery
1080p High Definition
DVD version of Thor: Tales of Asgard

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