It’s Vikings vs werewolves in a misty forest on a mysterious island. Thor, God of Thunder, is one of a group of explorers who tries to hunt down his hammer amidst a tangle of love triangles and betrayal. Sound exciting? It does doesn’t it. Well, Thor: Hammer Of The Gods contains all of these elements, the trouble is the budget doesn’t seem to allow for quite as much quality and excitement as these ambitions suggest. Instead, it is reminiscent of a really bad Shakespeare production, with cardboard acting and a dull overall appearance.
Let’s start with the obvious. The title of the film leads you to believe that there will be a god-like presence, specifcally Thor, looking for the Hammer of the Gods. You may be expecting a Chris Hemsworth-alike, with his flowing locks and ripped body. But if you think this is anything like the 2011 superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character, then you will be sadly, sadly mistaken.
There is indeed a character called Thor in this film, unfortunately he does not actually know that he is anything to do with the legends, nor does he act it. Conveniently, in the stories of the fight between the God of Thunder and the sons of rival god Loki, everyone seems to have forgotten the name of the god himself – which in itself is a poor attempt at constructing a story.
Thor is played by Zachary Ty Bryan, a veteran of TV movies and series, which should be our first clue that this film is not meant for the big screen. It is indeed a TV movie, which might explain why it was not given a big budget. However there is no excuse for wooden acting performances, including clunkers like “I feel like I’ve been here before”, “Is that because we were here yesterday?”
The small budget would also explain the fact that we don’t actually see much of the action. When the ‘werewolves’ attack humans, all we see is the reaction of others, plus perhaps some fake blood spattering them not-so-convincingly in the face. Although, seeing the action probably wouldn’t be all that convincing either, as the ‘monsters’ are clearly just men wearing black clothes and wolf masks. Plus, some of the ‘Vikings’ look suspiciously as though they are wearing jeans…
Adding to the shoddy workmanship is the fact that the camera seems to have a height deficiency. Countless scenes are shot from near the ground, which if a brave attempt at making the characters look more imposing, is a misguided one. Instead, the camera swings from person to person as they speak their forced dialogue, and we begin to wonder why the cameraman couldn’t have simply stood up and avoided such an unflattering angle.
Aside from the wooden acting, small budget and disappointing lack of gore, there is an interesting plot twist and one (one!) scene that uses special effects impressively: a Viking into werewolf transmogrification. Is that where the budget went?
Perhaps this is a film that asks not to be taken too seriously, and if you do, you may find yourself clutching your head in despair. Koch Media will release this DVD on 16th April so watch it, if you must, with a large pinch of salt or rather a bowlful of the stuff, and perhaps a glass or two of wine, and then there is a chance that you may be able to enjoy the slapstick ridiculousness that attempts to associate itself with the legend of Thor.