This production is not for young kids. We are not saying it is as monotone, adult and unappealing as The Dark Knight . However it deals with adult themes, diplomacy, betrayal, bitter feminism, some womanizing and a few atomizations.
That description may be at odds to an art direction more reminiscent of The Next Avengers. Cutesy Thor and Loki have skinny legs and big feet, not having grown into full manhood. Of course that does not stop them from causing man sized trouble.
The opening credits were pleasingly classy and interesting (especially for a direct to home market release). Though to us they clashed a bit with the stylized, less detailed animation. They also seemed somewhat at odds with Thor’s teenage angst and naïveté.
How about a one sentence synopsis? Teenaged Thor thinks he’s a man but is really a weenie, so he tries to prove otherwise by stowing away on a mission with his younger brother Loki easily finding a legendary blade no one for generations seemed able to find and causing a chain reaction of events leading to some fried frost giants, war amongst the Asgardian lands, interruption of feminist Valkyrie river bathing, some pointless battles and an ending which leaves you saying, “eh”.
This tired story really did not have to star Thor. The spoiled prince, some womanizing knights, the fiery attitude filled girlfriend denied being a warrior in a male-dominated society, kingdoms separated by a fragile truce… Yes you have heard it all before. Thor did not do a thing normally associated with the character. He did not use his hammer, call down lightning, or even utter, “I say the nay!” It is not even “Thor Year One”. It is more like “Thor Year Minus One” (because at least in year one he would get his hammer.)
Tales of Asgard was not bad. It had interesting moments and is worth watching. However it carries no surprises, earth shattering moments or a very satisfying ending. And some of the teen angst between Thor and his father Odin was ripped almost line for line from “The Little Mermaid”.
- Thor/Ariel: “But father I want to see the outside world.”
- Odin/King Triton: “I forbid it.”
- Thor/Ariel: “I’m grown up, you can’t keep me here!”
- Odin/King Triton: “I am your king and your father and you will obey me!”
Asgard itself was a little hard to pin down in regards to its technology and even era. Sometimes it was ancient Greek, other times medieval England. We are not sure what exactly they were going for. However at least the depictions of the Frost Giants was adequate. Unlike the live-action Thor movie, Frost Giants were actually… well, giant.
One of the least fun depictions was the Valkyries. Led by Brunhilde, they were male hating, cold hearted, duplicitous, murderous wenches. That is no exaggeration for the sake of humor or wit. Yet another island of bitter females who “throw off male subjugation” with ill temper and stifled aggression. A sect not satisfied until every female who ever experienced a bump on their romantic highway joins their unhappy enclave. Misery truly loves company.
If you go into this production with no expectations you may get one hour and 13 minutes worth of mild entertainment. Even if some of the characterizations are a little much, the overall plot stayed rather safe, although perhaps a little staid.