Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Every comic hero deserves a movie and now Thor has his movie. If you were a little blond boy as I was, Thor with his hammer was your hero not Superman Not Batman, THOR. In this version it is the story of a Prince who needs to earn the right to be King. Thor gets thrown out of the heavens and has to learn his lessons the hard way here on earth stripped of his power. The Marvel Comics always had the best heroes.
The real life hero is the director of the film who has a long refined hollywood history. Kenneth Branagh is a talented actor and a respected director who pulls off a great action hero film. Thor is the Norse God of Thunder. The hero hurls his mighty hammer everywhere at you in 3-D with Natalie Portman as his female lead. A new star Chris Hemsworth plays Thor. The real surprise is the director of this 150 million dollar film.
Branagh is better known for Hamlet than being worthy of hurling hammers. It is only one of six Shakespeare films he stared in or directed. Shakespeare earned him 3 of his 4 Oscar nominations. Shakespeare is explored in his plays somewhat in the story of this film. Here, Thor is thrown out of the heavens by his father the King played also by the very Shakespearian Anthony Hopkins.
Kenneth Branagh was born in Belfast in 1960. His working class Protestant parents had to leave Ireland because it was too dangerous to live there with all the fighting between Protestants and Catholics. They moved to England in 1970. His first acting job was to act English. He had to loose his Belfast accent quickly. At age 16 in school plays he felt at home. He became instantly famous after drama school.
When he played Henry the 5th he contacted Prince Charles for inspiration. He married and starred in the 1993 film Much Ado About Nothing with his wife Emma Thompson. The Golden Boy of British theater married its Golden Girl and all loved them both. They also played leading roles in the 1991 film Dead Again that he also directed. After 6 years of marriage , they divorced.
In 1994 he stared and directed a version of Frankenstein with Robert DeNiro as the monster. It was a horrible flop but he has never given up acting. He plays a scruffy, troubled but brilliant Swedish detective in the PBS series Wallander. Critics like this one. He played Harry Potters professor at Hogwarts. Stared in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002.
He is now married again for 8 years to Lindsay Brunnock an art director who worked with him on a TV mini-series. Now he is 50 years old and has lost some of his youthful charm. He has done so much serious work in his lifetime that he considers Thor as simply fun. Who would have imagined that a Shakespearian guy would get involved with a Comic Book. Thor must be serious reading. Tell your 13 year old son that.

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