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Thor: Tales of Asgard (Blu-ray Review)

13 May, 2011 By: John Latchem

Street 5/17/11
$19.98 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray
Not rated.

Thor is relatively unique among the pantheon of superheroes in that his comic book persona has a wealth of Norse mythology upon which to draw. Thus, any adaptations of Thor the superhero tend to blend in a bit of the comic book character with the Norse legends, which might make for good storytelling without necessarily being reliable in a scholarly context.

Thor: Tales of Asgard seems to fit into this mold, telling a story of the superhero god’s youth that lays the seeds of well-known story arcs from Marvel Comics continuity. As such, it could serve as an unofficial prequel to the new live-action movie, or at the very least a sufficient backgrounder.

The movie is the eighth and possibly final animated movie collaboration between Marvel and Lionsgate, and probably the best. The script tells an original Thor story the producers say is inspired by a comic miniseries called Thor: Son of Asgard.

Tales of Asgard focuses on a teenage Thor, who has grown restless with life in Asgard as his father, King Odin, won’t let him embark on a true adventure to prove himself. In defiance, Thor enlists his brother, Loki, to sneak off on a quest to find a mythical sword in the land of the Frost Giants. Thor’s actions inadvertently lead to the deaths of a few Frost Giant sentries, which sparks a brief war between them and Asgard. To resolve the conflict, Thor must learn the value of honor, and Odin must learn to trust his sons. As for Loki, well, he goes on to become Thor’s arch-nemesis in the comic, so the first hints of that dark path are given foundation here.

The dialogue is appropriately old-timey, with just the right balance of weighty morality and humor. And the animation is crisp and lively, displaying hints of an anime style while retaining the look and feel of a graphic novel.

Extras consist of two detailed commentary tracks and an informational behind-the-scenes featurette.

About the Author: John Latchem

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