The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Almighty Thor (2011)

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Because Marvel can't copyright Norse mythology, the door was left open for The Asylum in conjunction with the SyFy channel to trade on the big screen adaptation of the Marvel version of Thor. I had originally wanted to go with a joke about how I thought this was called "Almaty Thor", and wanted to know what this Kazakh version of Thor was all about, but I already used that joke on Twitter. I need to be careful and not use up all my best material before I even get a chance to write the review. Also, I first caught wind of this through the post at Cool Target Action Reviews.

Almighty Thor is kind of a Thor prequel, where our hero is a whining, annoying teenager, and his dad, Odin (played by Kevin Nash) is killed by Loki (played by Richard Greico), who wanted to get his hands on the infamous hammer of invincibility or something. Anyway, one of Odin's most trusted warriors, Patricia Velasquez, takes Thor to LA so she can train him, and Loki follows them there, and all hell breaks loose. Can Thor stop being a shithead for two seconds and defeat Loki?

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Whose idea was this? "Yeah, I want to do a movie about Thor where he's a whiny, annoying teenager. Like, you know the 16-year-old who bitches about how much he hates his parents because they won't let him have the car, that human embodiment of awesomeness, that's what we're centering the film around." Really? If I want to listen to whiny teenagers, I'll go hang out at the food court at the mall. And for me, because Thor is the main character, it made the whole film a pile of suck. That's too bad, because Greico was awesome as this movies version of Loki, who looks like a cross between Edward Scissorhands and The Borg, but sounds like Christian Slater, and seemed like he was totally having fun with the film; Kevin Nash as Odin was also great, but pretty much wasted, because he barely had any scenes; loved the CGI monsters, total Asylum cheese; and even Patricia Velasquez as a Norse demi-goddess with a South American Spanish accent was pretty sweet. But whining Thor is the killer, as sauteed in wrong sauce as you can get.

As someone who grew up with Marvel comics, Thor was not one I followed. I remember he was in one of the Hulk TV movies, but after that, I didn't care. I was a little surprised they decided to make a movie about him, but I guess Marvel feels like if they make it we will come. I don't know, I didn't see it. I can think of a few that I remember that I'd have rather seen first: Cable, New Mutants/X-Force, Deadpool (not that weird thing they gave us in Wolverine), and maybe some of those space guys like Silver Surfer (I know he was in the Fantastic Four), Thanos, all those aliens and whatnot. Thor was not at the top of my list.

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If you're going to do Loki, why not do it the way they did it here with Richard Greico? It was like his theme song should've been Marilyn Manson's cover of "Sweet Dreams", and he should've been walking around LA like Sid Vicious in Urgh! A Music War strolling through Paris, shoving a piece of cake in someone's face. It's a shame that such a fun performance was ruined in a movie that decided to hang it's hat on an annoying teen Thor.

Loved Kevin Nash for his short scenes early in the film, and wish he'd been in this more. I remember when he, as Diesel, first came into the WWF. There was a Royal Rumble where all the guys in the ring ganged up on him to throw him out, and Shaun Michaels, who was his buddy, got in on it too. Hey, it's every man for himself in the Royal Rumble. I haven't watched wrestling in years, but I've heard he was back in the (now) WWE as Diesel. Love to see him get more work in the DTV/TV movie market-- and more than just a scene or two.

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All Asylum films have great CGI monsters, and this was no exception. Man, it's so annoying that they went with an annoying teen Thor for the hero. Did he have to be annoying? He could've been a teen but not annoying, right? It was like they were trying to channel Arch hall Jr. Sometimes The Asylum really gets it right, and sometimes they really get it wrong, and sometimes you get something like this that should be so right, but ends up so wrong. Give us Thor attacking big CGI monsters with Kevin Nash and Patricia Velasquez, and Richard Greico as Loki shoving cakes in people's faces. Is that so hard?

But wrong it is, so it's a no go for me. Maybe if you see this on SyFy you might want to watch passively while doing something else. I haven't give this one in awhile, but it has late-night procrastinating on a term paper potential. As far as a rental, whether it's on Netflix or Red Box, don't waste your time. It's not worth it.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1792794/

19 comments:

  1. "Almighty" Thor my ass. If he's so almighty, then why does he need to pick up an UZI? More like "Al...mighty God, why does the Asylum keep making crap like this???"

    You've got to love the Grieco in this. His one facial expression seems to emote, "Gee... maybe that Booker spin-off WASN'T such a good idea..."

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  2. Gotta say, I loved Thor wielding the Uzi. So much of this worked except for the biggest thing: Thor himself as a whiny teen. I didn't even have the problem with the guy who played Thor, just how whiny and petulant the character was. I think that makes it more frustrating, because The Asylum can do this kind of thing right, but they go out of their way to do it wrong.

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  3. Personally, i'm more interested in seeing Asylum's version of Moby Dick called "2010: Moby Dick" It's very "loosely" based on the true story and is more of an action/sci-fi film according to the synopsis, i'll see if Family Video has it.

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  4. I missed this on SyFy this week. If I'd known that Kevin Nash was in it, I would have definitely set the sky+. Good old Asylum! What's next, Captain USA starring Steve Austin?

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  5. I've read a lot of stuff on The Asylum but never watched a whole movie (caught a bit of CT Howell in War of the Worlds 2). Can't help but find them fascinating. There was one article that went into great detail of how they work. It takes them 4 months to turn these films around from an idea to the finished DVD on the shelf. They know exactly what they're doing marketing these films alongside big budget films, getting in old TV actors like Grieco to make people curious. I'm sure they said something like they've never made a loss on any film they've made!

    What one Asylum film would you recommend? This one sounds a bit ropey.

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  6. Oh man, or Arachnid Dude starring Bautista. There are so many great Asylum combinations for Marvel superheroes. For DC, I like The Dark Knight Rises, but not about Batman, about medieval knights-- that wouldn't be copyright infringement, would it?

    Yeah, I read somewhere that the Asylum thing started when C. Thomas Howell wanted to make a War of the Worlds, and it just happened to come out at the same as Spielberg's, and they decided to just go with it, and it was a huge success, prompting the distributors to ask them for more like that. Before that time, they did indie art house flicks.

    As far as a good first Asylum flick, I'd go with Titanic II. It's one that they really get right.

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  7. My poor father gets so confused when these come out. SyFy makes similarly titled films then releases them the same weekend the 'real' movies come out in the theater.

    When I'm about to take my dad to the 'real' film, my father insists that he's already seen the theatrical version b/c SyFy played it. I'm like no dad, Thor just came out, it's not showing on the SyFy channel. They confused him with Battle: LA too.

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  8. That's awesome, and if you ask The Asylum, and now SyFy too, they'd say "that's the idea." The funniest one is Transmorphers. I don't why they didn't go with Transformers, but have them be about shape shifters or electrical equipment.

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  9. That's the thing though, that's what they want. Before SyFy got involved, The Asylum was putting out these "mockbusters" Direct to Video. Now, before they hit the shelves, they air on SyFy first, which gets them out to an even bigger audience. For me, the main issue is that the idea of these "mockbusters" is often better than the actual movie we get, which is too bad. It seems like it shouldn't be too hard to make a low-budget Thor schlockfest that's so bad it's good, but apparently it is.

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  10. This sounds terrible but you sold me on Richard Grieco. Like you mentioned, my main issue with Asylum is not that they make cheap knock-offs, it's just that for the same amount of movie their knock-offs could be much more watchable if they'd spend a little more time on some basic questions, like "should Thor be a whiny bitch?"

    Dr. A B

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  11. Exactly. How much fun would this have been with a young Thor and Patricia Velasquez traveling through CG landscapes, fighting CGI monsters? But the whole thing is just Thor pouting about how he wants to fight Loki now, and Velasquez telling him he's not ready, and him pouting some more. I just don't understand how they don't look at something that worked, like <a href="http://www.mattmovieguy.com/2011/06/mega-python-vs-gatoroid-2011.html>Mega Python vs. Gatoroid</a>, and go from there. We'd all appreciate it more.

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  12. I had seen this one at the video store and was honestly too scared to get it because I knew it would piss me off. lol. Thanks for confirming my suspicions and saving me the trouble. :)
    Great write up man!

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  13. Thanks, and yeah, it was a definite disappointment.

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  14. @ msmariah - I was at the redbox the other day and a family was renting Mega Piranha, but they thought that it was Piranha 3D. I tried explaining it to them, but they looked at me like I was crazy ...

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  15. Almighty Thor is one of those so bad they are good flicks. Did you see the extra in the back of the shot when Thor and that lady are talking in the street? The poor lady had no clue where to go. haha.

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  16. Oh man, I missed the extra, that sounds awesome! And I would've been more in the so bad it's good vein too, if not for the whiny Thor. And I would've loved to see the look on the faces of that family when the bicycle kick scene happened in Mega Pirhana

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  17. I meant to say "for the same amount of money" not "movie" in that first comment - but you got the idea ...

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  18. No, you're right, I read it as "money" even though it said "movie". It's funny how that works.

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