Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tom Pic, Thanksgiving Turkeys, and The Mighty Thor

Well... Thanksgiving has come and gone. One thing I've come to look forward to about the day itself is that somehow or another I always end up trading emails with my good buddy (and ace crime writer) Tom Piccirilli. We kick meal plans (and progress) back and forth, and compare notes (re: who ends up on the couch in a turkey-induced coma sooner). Of course, other banter goes on during the course of the day, too.

This year, Tom and I were reminiscing about the glory days of the Lee/Kirby/Ditko Marvel comics -- what a blast those early world-building stories were to read, and how they still resonate with us today. For my part, I'm lucky that Pic keeps up with the changes in the Marvel Universe better than I do. He and Brian Keene are my go-to guys when it comes to explaining the character reboots that have left me in the dust since I stopped collecting comics in the early eighties. Anyway, Tom tried to explain what's happened to Thor since then, because I didn't quite get the origin tossed our way in the movie. Pic told me that Doctor Don Blake (Thor's secret identity in the early comics) never existed, and the good Doctor was just a card Odin played to humble Thor... and that somewhere along the line in the Ultimates reboot Thor became a little crazy and only thought he was a god.

Go figure. And here I was thinking the frat-boy Thor from that old Hulk movie was out there in the creative stratosphere.

So no wonder I was lost when I popped the new movie into the DVD player. I kept waiting for ol' Doctor Blake to show up with his twisted little cane. Instead I got a CGI-y Asgard and Anthony Hopkins looking like he was wearing a '55 Cadillac. (And, note to Hollywood: Does Anthony Hopkins have to be everyone's dad in movies? He's the Wolfman's dad... he's Thor's dad... if I remember right, he was Zorro's dad, too.)

Anyway, I got what they were trying to do -- give us Thor by way of the Lord of the Rings movies -- and while I dug the battle with the Frost Giants, the humor drove this one off the tracks for me pretty quickly. When the goofy scientist family showed up for the second time, and Billy Swan's "I Can Help" cranked up on the soundtrack, that was enough for me. I hit eject.

Hey, comic book movies are one thing, but music's music. I like Billy Swan just fine, but not in a Thor movie. At least in the Hulk/Thor TV-movie, Thor got to party to a Dave Alvin tune. That was probably the only reason I made it through the whole thing -- I kept waiting for the flip side.

One last thing about the new version -- Thor and his hammer? Neither of them belong in New Mexico, guys. The Hulk belongs in New Mexico. That's Ol' Greenskin's turf, and no long-haired guy with a hammer should trespass on it.

'Nuff said.