Thor The Dark World DVD Review:
Thor The Dark World has finally been released on DVD and Blu-ray which gave me the opportunity to see the film for the first time. Blu-ray copies were/are impossible to find, meaning that I was forced to watch the DVD version of the film. This may sound snobbish, but at every opportunity I attempt to see a film on the highest possible definition. (and when applicable, in 3D)
I fully admit that I am a fanboy and despite this, I will attempt to not rant or to focus on every minute fault I can find with the film. While there are many positives, the fundamental issue with Thor The Dark World is the editing: a complete lack of pacing, a loss of subtle characterisation and refuses to let delicate moments breath before moving onto the following scene.
Thor The Dark World gave me the impression that it was put together in the edit suit by a director and editor who had spent far too long cutting the film. Instead of taking a break and revisiting the source material with a fresh pair of eyes, I imagine that the editing process was intensive, with great thought going into each and every frame. While this level of dedication allows a filmmaker to expertly weave a film together, repetitive viewing of a scene or a film as a whole, can mislead an editor into thinking that the cut is too slow and needs to be sped up. In reality, this is simply due to the editor being bored with watching a scene (or in many cases a shot) literally hundreds of times within a short period of time.
Much like the other Marvel films, Thor The Dark World has both humour and dramatic moments. However, as mentioned above, the scenes aren’t given the justified length of time to have their full impact on audiences. Events simply happen with no real sense of importance, shock or hilarity. It’s a film that has had a lot of work done to create a visually rich atmosphere. However, the musical score and high pace editing completely detracts from this which is a great disappointment.
Two early examples are the following:
At the beginning of the film (and as shown in the trailers) Thor arrives in the middle of a battle. The battlefield is littered with the dead while civilians run from their burning homes to escape the attacking marauders. Thor’s companions (from the first film) are the final line of defence and prior to their leader’s arrival, seem to be overwhelmed by the enemy. When Thor arrives, the fighting stops so that he can face the general of the opposing force. (Kudos if you know who he is and what his involvement suggests with subsequent films!) Thor quickly disposes of his opponent and the enemy force surrenders.
This entire scene happens at an extraordinary pace, without any care to establish the setting, draw the audience into the storyline or to show how the characters have changed since we last saw them. Unlike Iron Man 3, this scene shows that events from The Avengers have not had an effect on Thor. Instead he simply staggers his way through the enemy forces and blasts his opponent into bits with a single swing of his hammer.
This scene is the final battle of a long campaign to bring peace to all of the realms. Yet this event seems to lack any impact on any of the characters. Thor should be weathered from endless conflict and be physically and mentally exhausted. Opposed to his careless actions in the first film, he should be concerned for the lives of his men, show compassion towards those in danger, despise war and everything associated with it. In his final triumph, he should be released from his obligation to protect others, yet the return of the main villain forces him back into battle.
This opening scene should have been more akin to the opening of Gladiator; slowly building to the carnage and showing the immediate and long-term effects of war.
A second example is on the Dark Elf ship when Malekith is woken from his slumber. Everything shown on-screen screams atmosphere and attention to detail, yet it is an event that happens in a matter of seconds. This was the filmmakers chance to replicate the pacing and feel of the opening scenes from Alien and Aliens: a slow reveal of the Dark Elf culture and to establish that Malaketh is a malevolent threat to our hero .
Instead, the film simply hurtles through each scene with no regard to drama, tension or the repercussions of character’s actions. With the exception of one event in the film, (I don’t want to spoil the plot) I found myself repeatedly calling the filmmakers and Marvel Studios ‘cowards’. Much like the death of Optimus Prime in Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, a number of scenes that could have had gravitas are immediately reversed. This leaves the audience feeling cheated, destroys any sense of danger and for just a brief moment, cruelly lets the audience believe that the franchise is headed in a more interesting direction.
As hinted at prior to its release, the Universe of Thor The Dark World is far less glossy than it’s predecessor and instead opts for a Star Wars esq ‘used world’ look. This is welcomed as it adds realism to the worlds that the characters visit. To further enhance the look and feel of each realm, colour grading is used to perfection; a technique that helps to create a unique atmosphere for each world. However, as noted above, the quick pace of the editing detracts from drawing the viewer into the film.
Thor The Dark World DVD Special Features:
The DVD special features for Thor The Dark World are pathetic: a few extended scenes along with a brief ‘first look’ at Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
I should point out that the Blu-Ray has significant improvements over the DVD version of Thor The Dark World which reportedly includes:
- ALL HAIL THE KING – A MARVEL ONE-SHOT
- A BROTHERS JOURNEY – THOR & LOKI (PART 1)
- A BROTHERS JOURNEY – THOR & LOKI (PART 2)
- EXCLUSIVE LOOK – CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
- SCORING THOR: THE DARK WORLD WITH BRYAN TYLER
- DELETED & EXTENDED SCENES: EXTENDED CELEBRATION SCENE
- DELETED & EXTENDED SCENES: JANE LEARNS ABOUT THE AETHER
- DELETED & EXTENDED SCENES: LOKI: THE FIRST AVENGER
- DELETED & EXTENDED SCENES: THOR AND FRIGGA DISCUSS LOKI
- DELETED & EXTENDED SCENES: DARK ELVES PREPARE FOR BATTLE
- DELETED & EXTENDED SCENES: EXTENDED VANAHEIM SCENE
- EXTENDED CELEBRATION SCENE COMMENTARY BY ALAN TAYLOR & KRAMER MOREGENTHAU
- JANE LEARNS ABOUT THE AETHER COMMENTARY BY ALAN TAYLOR & KRAMER MOREGENTHAU
- LOKI: THE FIRST AVENGER COMMENTARY BY TOM HIDDLESTON
- THOR AND FRIGGA DISCUSS LOKI COMMENTARY BY KEVIN FEIGE
- DARK ELVES PREPARE FOR BATTLE COMMENTARY BY KEVIN FEIGE
- GAG REEL
As much as I love the Marvel films and the character Thor, after watching the film, I couldn’t care one way or another if I saw it on DVD or Blu-ray. This is primarily due to me not being enthralled by the second instalment. This isn’t to say that this is terrible film, but rather a missed opportunity – another case of me imagining a far better film than the one on-screen. With my imagination in overdrive, I wasn’t drawn into the film and perhaps a second viewing will be more enjoyable.