A Thor thing

It was time to put new life into the char­ac­ter, the film’s star says

Central Queensland News - - SCREEN LIFE - SCREEN LIFE with Suzanne Si­monot

MARVEL’S lat­est and po­ten­tially great­est film in the stand-alone fran­chise about the Norse God of Thun­der, Thor: Rag­narok, is the screen in­dus­try’s equiv­a­lent of the ANZUS Treaty. The block­buster sees some of the finest movie talents in Aus­tralia, New Zealand and the US band to­gether to se­cure the fu­ture of the Thor ti­tles, much the same way the treaty, signed in 1951, united the na­tions in the in­ter­ests of the se­cu­rity of the Pa­cific.

While the role of Thor cat­a­pulted By­ron Bay’s most fa­mous res­i­dent, Chris Hemsworth, to in­ter­na­tional fame, the Aussie ac­tor ad­mits he had grown tired of the role af­ter 2013’s Thor: The Dark World. That all changed when award-win­ning stand-up co­me­dian turned film­maker Taika Waititi signed on to helm his first Marvel su­per­hero film.

“I cer­tainly wanted to do some­thing dif­fer­ent with the char­ac­ter,” Hemsworth says. “I was kind of sick of what I was do­ing and sick of my­self in the role.

“I met with Taika and he felt the same, he said ‘yep, I’m sick of you too, so let’s get rid of every­thing we know and recre­ate it’.”

At­tracted Down Un­der by Hemsworth’s de­sire to make a movie in his back­yard and gen­er­ous state and fed­eral govern­ment in­cen­tives, Thor: Rag­narok em­ployed more than 1000 Queens­land cast and crew and in­jected an es­ti­mated $142 mil­lion into the state’s econ­omy.

Waititi led what was from all re­ports a fun-filled six-month shoot on the Coast, his trade­mark hu­mour and cre­ative vi­sion en­er­gis­ing cast and crew both on screen and on set.

“I knew that Chris was funny, but I don’t think they’d ex­ploited that enough,” Waititi says of his vi­sion for the fran­chise.

“And my idea of a su­per­hero movie prob­a­bly comes from ’80s movie stars like Bruce Wil­lis and (Har­ri­son Ford as) In­di­ana Jones, even Kurt Rus­sell in his prime. I wanted Thor to be­come more like them, great at the ac­tion, but also funny.

“I wanted to make him the most in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ter in the film. There’s no point in call­ing a movie Thor if he’s not the coolest thing in it.”

Thor: Rag­narok finds Thor (Hemsworth) im­pris­oned on the other side of the uni­verse and in a race against time to get back to As­gard to stop Rag­narok, the de­struc­tion of his home­world and the end of As­gar­dian civil­i­sa­tion.

Be­fore Thor can deal with the all-pow­er­ful new threat posed by the fran­chise’s first lead­ing fe­male vil­lain – the ruth­less Hela (Cate Blanchett) – he must sur­vive a deadly glad­i­a­to­rial con­test against his for­mer ally and fel­low Avenger, the In­cred­i­ble Hulk (Mark Ruf­falo).

“I think the best vil­lains are al­ways those that you kind of love and hate what you do, but you sort of un­der­stand them,” Blanchett says of Hela. “There’s some logic to it.”

The film sees Hemsworth, Blanchett and Ruf­falo joined by Tom Hid­dle­ston as Loki, Jeff Gold­blum as Grand­mas­ter, Idris Elba as Heim­dall, Karl Ur­ban as Skurge, Tessa Thomp­son as Valkyrie and Anthony Hop­kins as Odin.

In Marvel’s finest tra­di­tions, the film also fea­tures plenty of cross ref­er­ences and sur­prise cameos, in­clud­ing a guest ap­pear­ance by Sam Neill and a cameo by Waititi as a new rock-shaped CGI Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse char­ac­ter called Korg (in­tro­duced by Marvel in a 1962 comic book).

Waititi, whose in­die films in­clude Boy, What We Do In The Shad­ows and Hunt For The Wilder­peo­ple, was des­tined for big things long be­fore he ac­cepted his Marvel mis­sion to breathe new life into the Thor fran­chise – one it ap­pears he’s ex­e­cuted to per­fec­tion.

The direc­tor and ac­tor says he was blown away by the re­sponse to the film’s world pre­miere in Los An­ge­les.

“I’m re­lieved that peo­ple love it. We had a great pre­miere in LA ... they laughed in the right places, were quiet in the right places, so for two years’ of hard work, we did all right.”

Thor: Rag­narok opens na­tion­ally on Thurs­day.

PHOTO: JASIN BOLAND

◗ Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hid­dle­ston in a scene from Thor: Rag­narok.

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