Haha, you thought you were going to read a review for the Kenneth Branagh directed Marvel Comics adaptation, right? Welcome to the world of The Asylum, the company that creates random low quality mockbusters, where hopes and dreams are spit upon with nearly every viewing. What would 'Transformers' be without 'Transmorphers?' What about 'Battle: Los Angeles?' You surely know someone who started a Netflix stream of 'Battle of Los Angeles,' or, worse yet, paid money at Blockbuster to watch it. So, since this company is akin to a blood sucking leech (not so much a remora, as they actually help the shark), their entrance into the superhero fray was inevitable. They just had to find a property that they could work to their advantage, one that they could clearly make to deceive potential movie goers into watching, while not getting sued at the same time. Apparently, with 'Thor,' the time was ripe. Kinda hard for Marvel to say that a character from Norse mythology belongs to them. Just leave out the long blonde hair and winged cap, and tweak the outfit enough, and it's all perfectly legal.
Since I didn't buy into the majority of the performances turned in by the actors in this atrocity, since, well the majority of actors didn't appear to mind how much they were embarrassing themselves, I am refusing to call them by their character names. I still wonder why the lead actor isn't even mentioned on the front cover, yet the other three starring roles are. Methinks he was the only one to pay enough to save him the humiliation, but not enough to digitally remove from the film entirely.
In 'Almighty Thor,' the realm of Asgard is in great danger, as Richard Grieco, a powerful demon, seeks out the hammer of invincibility from Kevin Nash. Anyways, after killing the only believable actor in the film (Jess Allen as Baldir) and the Valhalla Heavyweight Champion, Grieco sets his eyes on Cody Deal, the last survivor from Nash's bloodline. I know, they should have the same last name, father and son and all, but maybe Nash is just a playa. Anyways, Patricia Velasquez saves Deal, and transports the plucky now-king/heavyweight champion to Midgard...or Los Angeles. Here, she hands Deal a couple of handguns and together they try to keep Grieco's demon powers from creating Ragnarok, destroying both worlds.
You read that right. Handguns, as in a pistol and an uzi. Thor. Packing an uzi. If ever there were evidence a film held its audience in contempt, it would be that...and this coming from the same film that brought Grieco back from a somewhat wonderful five year absence from cinema. Yes, dearest readers, writer Erik Estenberg and director Christopher Ray hate you that much.
Anyways, back on track, 'Almighty Thor' sucks. Why? Oh, here comes the fun. Well, let's ignore the fact that Asgard looks like a bunch of random Californian parks, with nothing mythical about it. Let's also ignore that Los Angeles looks like every other Asylum film ever made from the ground level. Ignore the random fire effects that hover improperly throughout the film. Ignore the fact that the pace is so bad that this hour and a half long trek feels longer than a film over twice its length. Ignore the awful dialogue that extras literally yell instead of speak. Ignore the fact that you can see the outlines of effects before they happen.
Ignore this film exists, that might be easier. There is nothing redeeming in the runtime of 'Almighty Thor.' Nothing. The entire film has no sense of suspense or action. The plot is nonsensical, the sets cheesy and lame. Acting from the top billed cast is an unfunny joke. Action sequences between Grieco and Deal have a weird slow motion effect to them, making the slow motions used by actors cheesy and ridiculous. You can literally tell not a single person went into weapons training for the film, and the haphazard swinging of plastic objects found here is so wild and unfocused that the scenes are even worse than the acting.
Speaking of weapons, something I really don't get happens early in the Midgard sequence of the film. See, Velasquez is a demigod, and she brings Deal to Los Angeles to escape the wrath of Grieco. Alright, so they're hiding. She walks into a building she inhabits, that doesn't seem to have any closed doors, and they walk into a room filled haphazardly with poorly put together shelves and random weapons. There's automatic weapons, a box full of swords, just all over the place. In Los Angeles, where people beat others for rooting for another team. This doesn't make sense.
'Almighty Thor' is so bad I stopped taking notes on the film, as I always do for reviews, and just threw up my arms and said screw it. Why not, everyone involved in the film seems to have, as well. It gets so nonsensical, so ridiculous, it's impossible to stay with it and enjoy the events unfolding on screen. Every element of the show is made to piss off viewers as much as possible, as if it were some kind of game to make the most annoying, worst film imaginable. Well, mission accomplished. I'm a fan of mockbusters, they can be some seriously dumb fun every now and again, but this one, I'm sorry, it's horrible. It's just horrible. There are no words for how horrible it is. In fact, I want to keep saying horrible so that maybe everyone will begin associating these thoughts with each other. A few more times for effect: 'Almighty Thor.' Horrible. 'Almighty Thor'...horrible. Horrible, horrible, 'Almighty Thor.'
The Disc: Vital Stats
The Asylum brings their newest crapbuster to Blu-ray on a BD25 disc in a regular case with no packaging frills. There are eight (eight!) minutes of Asylum trailers pre-menu. Eight! Anyways, aside from a very laughable low-res FBI screen, there's spots for the aforementioned 'Battle of Los Angeles' '200 MPH,' 'Anneliese: the Exorcist Tapes,' 'Ballistica,' 'Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus,' and 'Princess and the Pony.'
There is no audio setup tab on the menu, and the tracks are selectable through the extras spot. Doesn't make sense, you say? What does? Also, I want to raise a middle finger right here for the DVD era navigation found on this disc, including DVD era transitions and load times. DVD. Just wanted to say that again, too.
If ever there were a disc that exemplified bipolarity, 'Almighty Thor' would probably be it. The 1080p transfer is a frustrating mixture of fantastic detail and horrible anomalies on top of horrible effects.
On the bright side, there is so much detail on display that I feel massively conflicted scoring the disc so low. The armor of the random Asgardians is so clearly defined, so rich and textured, it's a real eye catcher. Background foliage in Asgard is beautiful, sharp, and free from aliasing. There's nary a blurred ground moment to be found. In fact, the picture is phenomenal in Asgar whenever special effects aren't employed. Skin tones in this segment of the film are natural, and very lifelike.
The bad, sadly, massively outweighs the good. From the opening title sequence, you know you're in for a shit-fest when, in hell, falling lava looks quite literally like something is suffering from some serious intestinal distress, and that's not even an exaggeration. Asgard is littered with horrible special effects, from distance shots of a Valhallan army outside the gates that has no definition, chroma fringes insanely, aliases with pans, and floats over the picture, while the giant beasts employed by Richard Grieco lack clarity and float even worse than the nondescript army. Distant shots flicker and spike with grain and artifacts, hooray! Skin goes from super sharp clarity and definition to smooth, ugly, soft moments often. Edges are slightly enhanced, but nothing too jarring in Asgard. Black levels on Loki's black on black on black armor can be strong and cleanly defined, and other times it's just a black blob.
In Midgard, well, the entire picture looks awful. Blue. So very, very blue. The tint affects everything. Heck, the establishing shot of Los Angelesgard features an entire building that artifacts. That's no joke. The entire building turns black from splotching in square blocky patterns. On top of the light blue tint that affects everything, everyone features a heavy blue outline around them. The moments in this disc that impressed me only made the soon to follow atrocities that much more unforgivable. The Asylum really botched this one. I know, what else is new, right?
The audio options for 'Almighty Thor' aren't as limited as the film is, but still, when your choices are lossy 2.0 or lossy 5.1, that's not really something to get excited about. The disc defaults to 5.1, so that is the track used for this review.
I really enjoyed the separation in channels, as there's plenty of localized effects, though mostly in the front. Rears get some light score elements, but not really much else from the film, as rear ambience is beyond light. Dynamics are off occasionally, with a few hollow and distorted lines here and there, but dialogue is always understandable. Bass levels really surprised me. Sure, they aren't too strong, and their presence was mostly light, but as the film hits Midgard and the Loki vs Thor battle, there is a serious uptick in power, and it gets pretty strong for a Dolby Digital track.
This could have been so much more, but as is, even the lossy 5.1 track is appreciable.
Lionsgate capitalized on the theatrical release of 'Thor' with their release of 'Thor: Tales of Asgard,' which served as a good introduction to the characters in the series. Despite being akin to being a 'Watchmen Babies' film, it wasn't bad, at all. Asylum's attempt to capitalized, though, is pure, unadulterated, concentrated awfulness, the film equivalent of being grounded. Almost no one on screen tries, and it's obvious no one behind the scenes did either. This cinematic hate crime makes me regret giving 'Catwoman' no stars, as apparently films can, indeed, get even worse than it. 'Almighty Thor' scoffs at the thought of being so bad that it's good again, scoffs mightily before attacking giant dog beasts and shooting uzis.
If you're a Thor fan, be it the character in mythology, the Marvel Comics character, or even someone who likes the idea of Thor due to the helmet in 'Adventures in Babysitting,' if you were given forty bucks and your choice of a washed up actor and a wrestler to star in your film, you'd be likely to make a better film in your back yard. Seriously, it should be some kind of game show what kind of washed up actor and wrestler you'd get for your forty bucks. I'm hoping to land Big Van Vader and Zachery Ty Brian from 'Home Improvement,' but if I get stuck with Bronson Pinchot and Norman Smiley, lord help us all.