Thor: Tales of Asgard Blu-ray/DVD Combo | DVD | On Demand
Directed by Sam Liu
Starring Chris Britton, Clancy Brown, Grey DeLisle
Release Date: May 17, 2011
With the big action of the Thor feature film now in theaters of course it makes sense for Marvel to try and put Thor everywhere. They teamed with Lionsgate to bring us the direct-to-DVD and Blu-ray Thor: Tales of Asgard. The animated film tells the story of a teenaged Thor before the Hammer and before he became a hero, at least in the sense that we know him from modern comics or even from the live-action film. In the story, Thor is protected by his father Odin to the point that he is allowed to win exhibition fights with Asgard’s most powerful warriors. When he is called out on his fake wins by Sif, a young woman who is already an amazing warrior, Thor feels the need to prove himself. He decides to hide on a sailing ship with the warriors three to seek out a mystical sword and show Sif and the other inhabitants of Asgard that he truly is a great warrior.
After seeing the Marvel U done right in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes I had high hopes for this sort of Thor prequel. Now obviously if it was to be tied to the film at all the hammer couldn’t even be a thought in Odin’s head let alone a weapon in Thor’s hand. Now Thor at any age minus the hammer is a tough sell. On top of no hammer, this story overall is just way too pedestrian. Also, it’s a bit too whiny. Sure you could say it’s a story about kids for kids but with a little work just such a story can be crafted that fans of all ages can enjoy. That unfortunately just didn’t happen here. Also, why are the warriors three so much older than Thor? That’s just one of many things that muddy the connection between this story and the Thor movie and even the Marvel Universe in general. The voice acting is a mixed bag ranging from passable to horrible and the animation is really low budget. The addition of tons of extra shadows on faces and hair doesn’t make the thing look more sophisticated or polished. From story to animation this film reeks of quickie low budget animated TV. Pass on this and pick up season one of Avengers.
If you do like the movie though there are some good bonus features. There are two feature-length audio commentaries. The first commentary features a producer and the screenwriter and the second features a producer, director, and character designer. They offer up plenty of behind the scenes information about the making of the film. There’s also a surprisingly detailed making of documentary. Finally there’s a Thor-centric episode of Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes which is way better than the main feature. As far as the look of the film on Blu-ray, you’ll see sparse animation and basic character design in HD. Nuff said.