DVD of the Week: 'Thor'

Thor Perhaps the most surprisingly good superhero movie this summer, Thor managed to pull off what could have easily been a cheeseball fantasy disaster thanks to the sure hand of director Kenneth Branagh; a lead actor (Chris Hemsworth) who capably held his own bringing a careful balance of arrogance, humor and innocence; and a talented supporting cast, namely Tom Hiddleston as Thor's jealous and conniving little brother Loki. 

In short, it's the coming-of-age story of brash Norse royal Thor, exiled to Midgard (Earth) by his father along with his hammer, Mjolnir, which gives him super-strength. Rendered powerless with the loss of Mjolnir in the process, he meets a trio of scientists who help him retrieve it from the hands of the government entity SHIELD and navigate his way back home.

Most people didn't have a lot of hope for Thor, whose main man is a sort of also-ran B-lister in the annals of superhero lore--in the hands of a less able director, it could have completely gone off the rails into silly sword-and-sorcery with terrible FX. But Branagh effortlessly shifts from Asgard to Earth and back, making both realms equally believable, and presents Thor's backstory in an easily relatable way that not just comic fans but anyone can understand.

Extras: Commentary with Branagh (excellent, BTW); four deleted scenes, 3-minute "Road to the Avengers" look at the four-year hype build-up to The Avengers(DVD/BD); the BD adds 11 deleted scenes and seven HD featurettes on the creation of both worlds, the hammer Mjolnir's mythology, the Frost Giants, and a Stan Lee interview. Available also in a special ultimate set with the HD film in 3D.

Also New:
Conan O' Brien Can't Stop, Hesher, Meek's Cutoff

New to BD:
Citizen Kane, Transpotting, Star Wars: The Complete Saga (BD)

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