Title: Almighty Thor
Director: Christopher Ray
Writer: Erik Estenberg
Distributed By: The Asylum
Starring: Cody Deal, Richard Grieco, Patricia Velásquez, and Kevin Nash
Release Date: May 7th, 2011
When Loki (Richard Grieco) is set free, he starts destroying Valhalla and kills Odin (Kevin Nash) and Baldir (Jess Allen). More importantly, Loki searches for the Hammer of Invincibility, which would aid him in the destruction of the Tree of Life, as well as Earth. Now it’s up to Thor (Cody Deal) to put an end to Loki and change fate. Aided by a mysterious Valkyrie named Járnsaxa (Patricia Velásquez), he must find the courage and strength within him to travel to Earth and defeat Loki once and for all.
Well, it’s finally here. The last film of The Asylum special. Technically, I could’ve reviewed 6 Guns since it is rumored to have been a mockbuster of Jonah Hex. But since that plot is so different from Jonah Hex and could be mistaken for any kind of (bad) Western, I’m leaving that one out. Because a day in hell can seem like an eternity, and I don’t want to spend any more time with The Asylum.
Anyway, believe it or not, I had some hopes for Almighty Thor. Not hoping for it to be a good film or even a subpar one. But after seeing Transmorphers: Fall of Man improve on Transmorphers (and by “improve” I mean go from shitty to terrible), I was hoping that maybe The Asylum’s increased budget and experience would make Almighty Thor the best mockbuster yet. Plus, technically it doesn’t have to be a rip off of Thor. Yes, obviously a tie-in to cash in on the Marvel film, but Thor is a mythological character and as such, anyone can use it. Besides, maybe this one will give us a better glimpse of the real Thor mythology or take a unique look on it. Kind of like Tin Man did with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Of course, those pragmatic expectations were met with disappointment.
For starters, if you were expecting them to dig deeper into the real mythology, you can forget it. In fact, this is further from the true mythology than Thor is. You’ll notice it once you see that Odin has two eyes (throughout the whole film), and Mjölnir is not Thor’s hammer but rather a guarded hammer (Hammer of Invincibility) that gives anyone who has it invincibility. Of course, there are some exceptions such as Loki not being Odin’s son, but I wouldn’t use this film as a 101 on Norse mythology.
Fred Flinstone's hammer.
This is instead a rip off of Thor in the sense that he comes to modern day Earth. But this isn’t a rip off because it’s way too stripped and dumbed down to even be called a B take on Thor. The complex character relationships, story, and plot lines are all gone. Leaving us with just a mere shadow of Thor. In fact, there’s really only three main characters in this film: Thor, Loki, and Járnsaxa.
Speaking of characters, the characters are the worst possible characterizations of the mythology that you can imagine. And not to be beaten, the acting is perhaps the worst acting I’ve seen in The Asylum films. I mean, at least with the other films it looked like some of the actors were trying to do their best with what they were given. And at least in the other films you got one talented and experienced actor. But here, there are none. Really, this isn’t acting, this is reading out the lines and occasionally adding some pitch changes for emotions.
This is especially true for Cody Deal. I think it’s pretty safe to say that he will always be the worst Thor of all time. What do you think when you think of Thor? Tough, brash, chivalrous, arrogant, kick ass, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Aside from being just plain stubborn, this Thor is anything but the Marvel Thor. He gets his ass kicked all the time. He’s god-strong but not stronger than Loki, he doesn’t have any real training, and he cries about every three scenes. Plus, he never heeds Járnsaxa’s advice, which is to stop a while, train, and come back prepared to face Loki. Instead he charges into Loki each time, even though he gets his ass kicked during all the previous times. What’s worse, is that he’s stupid to fall for Loki’s trickery where even a five-year-old would know better. This Thor is like a very bad SNL skit.
Richard Grieco also does a bad job as Loki. Loki isn’t mischievous, fun, or complex as the Marvel fans have come to know and love. Instead, he’s the bad guy. But I’m sure you could guess by the ghost white face, black spiky armor, and evil looking wall. Everything about him spells out “BAD GUY ALERT!” There is no back story or reasoning behind Loki’s wanting to destroy the Tree of Life. He’s evil and that’s just the way it is.
I don’t think I remember Járnsaxa in the Thor comics (although she is a mythological character). However, after seeing this film, I can see why most writers chose not to put her into many of the Thor comics. Actually, she’s not the worst character in the film. Quite the contrary. I think she’s the only one who can fight, use her head, and has common sense. Unfortunately, the acting pulls all of that down. Not only does Patricia Velásquez do a bad job, but her accent throws it all off. I suppose everyone else’s non-British accents throws it off. Although come to think of it, British accents don’t make sense for the Norse Mythology. If anything, everyone should sound more like Dolph Lundgren or the Chef from The Muppets. The point is, her accent is different from the American accents and makes an odd juxtaposition to it all.
As far as the production values go, they upped the ante just a tiny bit. The biggest change is they went from bad digital to 16mm (or something similar). In case that makes no sense to you, 16 mm is a bit better than most digital and of course 8 mm. But it’s nowhere near the 35 mm, which is very expensive. In other words, 16mm tends to be used on most television shows and production. Which is what Almighty Thor looks like: a very bad SyFy movie. Fortunately, there’s none of that grainy digital mess up on the long shots, and I’ll give them credit on that. And for the fact that the camera doesn’t shake, but those should be standard production values for any small studio film.
The soundtrack is better than the other generic ambient tracks of previous films such as Transmorphers. It at least has an orchestral-like score to it that’s for the film specifically. But Chris Ridenhour still relies on trite motifs and the music doesn’t elevate the film that much.
Choreography isn’t bad; at least it shouldn’t be. I think it’s cool that they throw in some stuff like body slams and kicks to mix things up with the sword play. Only one problem. There’s slow motion in every single hit. Not the cool slow motion, but the bad kind, which completely takes away from the excitement of them.
Now the special effects…that’s a whole other thing. When you see the first few minutes, with hell, the castle, and the demon dog creatures (which look like giant Pokémon) you think, “hey, it’s not that bad.” I mean, it’s still bad, but at least we’re above the previous films. But then you see special effects like explosions (which look like photoshop effects created by a college student), gun shots (shaking the camera and adding cheesy gun fire each time the trigger is pulled), and the characters being tossed in the air (I can’t even describe how bad it looks). And man, are those special effects bad. I wish they relied on less special effects and more storytelling and real time fight sequences. But I guess that could be said for every The Asylum mockbuster.
Loki chooses Demon Beasts!
If there’s any good thing that comes out of this, it’s to prove how talented Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were when recreating the God of Thunder. Sure, it’s not their creation, but it’s Stan Lee’s characterizations and Jack Kirby’s drawings that made Thor a true mythology in its own right. And just because a pre-existing mythology is strong, doesn’t mean that it automatically makes it a great story to retell. Just take a look at Almighty Thor whenever you’re in doubt.