Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Thor: Tales of Asgard (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
5.5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6.5 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Matthew Wolf as Thor (voice)
Jay Brazeau as Volstagg (voice)
Chris Britton as Odin (voice)
Clancy Brown as Frost Giant (voice)
Grey DeLisle as Sif (voice)
Paul Dobson as Hogun (voice)
Brian Drummond as Fenris (voice)
Rick Gomez as Loki (voice)
Jonathan Holmes as Fandral (voice)

Directed by Gary Hartle

Special Features:
Audio commentary with Supervising Producer Craig Kyle and Screenwriter Greg Johnson
Audio commentary with Supervising Director Gary Hartle, Animation Director Sam Liu and Character Designer Phil Bourassa
"Worthy: The Making of Thor: Tales of Asgard" featurette
The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Bonus Episode from the new hit TV series

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 Sound
Spanish Language
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 77 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Before he ever lifted his mighty hammer... Fantastic journeys beckon from the mysterious nine realms. Places of dark mists and fiery voids. Of winged creatures and giants in the ice. And of the most alluring quest of all the search for the legendary Lost Sword of Surtur. Hungry for adventure, Thor secretly embarks on the journey of a lifetime, joined by his loyal brother Loki, whose budding sorcery equips him with just enough magic to conjure up trouble, along with the Warriors Three a band of boastful travelers reluctant to set sail on any adventure that might actually be dangerous. But what starts out as a harmless treasure hunt quickly turns deadly, and Thor must now prove himself worthy of the destiny he covets by saving Asgard itself."

"Thor: Tales of Asgard" is not rated.

Mini-Review:
Hot on the heels of the Thor live action film comes "Thor: Tales of Asgard." In theory, this animated film is a great idea. Fans of the movie can pick it up and enjoy more of his adventures. This film is also set when Thor is younger, so it serves as a prequel, of sorts, to the movie. Unfortunately, this animated film has a few problems.

First of all, the plot is very similar to that of the film. The young and reckless Thor, ready for action, rushes into the land of the Frost Giants with the Warriors Three and Loki and starts an incident that breaks a long standing truce between Odin and the giants. Thor must learn his lesson, gain humility, and race back to Asgard in order to save his people from the invading Frost Giants. While the details are different, you can see that the core stories are almost identical. This makes it a tad dull when compared to the live action film.

Second, this really doesn't feel like a "Marvel Thor" film. It is entirely set in this fantasy world. There are sword fights, monsters, castles, and sorcery. It feels like it could have come from "The Lord of the Rings" or "Dungeons & Dragons." The fun of the Marvel Thor is seeing this character from Norse mythology suddenly thrust into our world. That's not what this movie is about. And the fact that it's set before Thor gets his hammer makes it seem even less like a Thor movie.

"Thor: Tales of Asgard" has some pacing problems, too. The film was about halfway through before I really even got into it. It kicks into gear once they find the Lost Sword of Sutur, but it never quite won me back after being so un-engaging for so long.

One other nitpick - the Valkyries. In Norse mythology, they were essentially female angels who took dead warriors to the Viking heaven called Valhalla. In this movie they're treated like the Amazonians from Greek mythology. They're a race of all female warriors who hate men. Matters aren't helped by the fact that they ride winged horses like Pegasus from Greek mythology. I would have liked it more if they kept their mythologies straight.

On the positive side, the animation and fight scenes are pretty good. The final battle is quite impressive and if they had done it in the live action movie, it would have been very cool. The movie also has a strong soundtrack by Guy Michelmore. I was also impressed that it was appropriate for kids. Many of the DC animated films are PG-13, so it's a nice change that one of these comic book cartoons are actually appropriate for children.

I'd recommend "Thor: Tales of Asgard" to fans of the Marvel comics and to kids. If you're interested in it simply because of the live-action movie, you're probably going to be disappointed.

The bonus features on this Blu-ray are fairly limited. There are two audio commentaries, but neither of them actually include the voice actors. There is also a 'making of' featurette. They talk about the comic inspirations for the movie including a series that was actually set in Thor's youth. However, they spend an unusually large amount of time discussing the opening credits, too. Also included is an entire episode of the "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" cartoon series.

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