"Thor" Opens April 29, 2011 (RP)


Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment present the highly anticipated motion picture adaptation of “Thor,” the latest from the Marvel pantheon of legendary super heroes who have inspired generations of readers.

The epic adventure “Thor” spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the mystical realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. As a result, Thor is banished to Earth, where he is forced to live among humans. When the most dangerous villain of his world sends its darkest forces to invade Earth, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero.

“Thor” is the tale of one man’s mythic journey: from a petulant prince born to inherit the throne, to a humble super hero who earns the right to lead.

Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment present A Marvel Studios Production of A Film by Kenneth Branagh: “Thor,” starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings, Clark Gregg, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander, Tadanobu Asano, Joshua Dallas, with Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins as Odin. The film is directed by Kenneth Branagh. The screenplay is by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz and Don Payne, with a story by J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich. It is produced by Kevin Feige.

The executive producers are Alan Fine, Stan Lee, David Maisel, Patricia Whitcher, Louis D’Esposito. The director of photography is Haris Zambarloukos, BSC. The production designer is Bo Welch. The editor is Paul Rubell, A.C.E. The costume designer is Alexandra Byrne. The co-producers are Craig Kyle and Victoria Alonso. The music supervisor is Dave Jordan; the music is by Patrick Doyle.

A FORMIDABLE CRASH OF THUNDER

In 1962, the now-legendary duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced The Mighty Thor to readers of Marvel Comics, unleashing a new era of action-adventure with their take on the hammer-wielding Norse god. Despite the somewhat odd-sounding names, the story was rooted in familiar, universal conflicts that have driven human drama since the beginning of time: a son impatient to prove his worth to his father; a lethally resentful brother; and a woman who helps a man see the world anew. Royal bloodlines, a deadly vendetta, pride that goes before a fall—in any world, these are stories well worth telling.

A founding member of the super hero team known as “The Avengers,” Thor emerged from the same Marvel Comics bullpen that had previously given rise to Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men and Spiderman.

“Thor” motion picture producer and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige remembers, “Stan Lee tells the story that after he and Jack Kirby created these other heroes, they thought, ‘Let’s do a god—and let’s bring a god down!’ And in a brilliant move, he looked at Norse mythology—a lot of people were familiar with the Greek and Roman mythologies, not so much with the Norse. When you read those stories, it’s like the best of the Marvel Comics, because it’s people who are very human, despite their powers—despite their calling down the storm, the thunder and the lightning. They have family issues, in the two brothers fighting, Thor and Loki. It’s a family drama, and they’re just as flawed as any of us, or any of the Marvel heroes. That’s what makes the Marvel characters so relatable.

“On film, we’ve explored a lot of the ground-based Marvel heroes,” Feige continues. “But it’s called the Marvel universe for a reason. It’s a big place, and we’re going to a cosmic level with ‘Thor.’

It was the larger-than-life Thor that also captivated director Kenneth Branagh as a boy growing up in 1960s Belfast. “It rained a lot in Northern Ireland and could sometimes seem grayish,” Branagh recalls. “The color of the Marvel Comics covers would pop out from the book shelves, and The Mighty Thor was the one I was always drawn to.

“I liked its primal qualities—the connection to something ancient, the weaponry, the Stonehenge feel of the lettering, and the character’s sheer physical heft. He’s the first in line to fulfill that cliché of never asking anybody else to do what he wouldn’t do himself. In fact, half the time you’ve got to try and stop him from doing something you might never consider.”

Coincidentally, it is that very determined and headstrong nature that stands between Thor and succeeding his father as the King of Asgard. A celebrated physique and success in battle are not enough to prepare the prince for leading his people—flashes of anger, shortsighted decisions, rash actions, these are things that will prove the ultimate downfall to a king. They are also the traits that can and do make for the self-destruction of a human, even without the weight of a crown hanging in the balance.

“The success of the Marvel connection with Norse mythology is an understanding that the human dimension at the center of epic tales is the glue that holds everything together,” observes Branagh, who knows a thing or two about mythic tales, having made his reputation interpreting (as performer, theatrical director and filmmaker) Shakespeare’s stories of royal family intrigue. “There’s an exhilaration, a visceral kind of enjoyment in seeing those kinds of characters go through the same things we do.”

“Thor” is released and distributed by United International Pictures thru Solar Entertainment Corporation.

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