A crowd hung about outside the Cinestar Cinema, waiting impatiently for the movie to begin. Considering it was a late night Sunday show, the number of people continued to swell. More young boys than anyone else, the market was that of superhero geeks, who were ready to see this new film which would eventually lead up to 2012’s Avengers, a film with about seven superheroes including Iron Man, Green Lantern and others, and now, Thor.
“By now, the audience has really appreciated this movie,” says PRO of Cinestar, Mohsin. “I have been seeing that every day more and more tickets are being sold, and this is a good sign for us.”
‘Thor’, based on the Scandenavian mythological son of Odin (the chief Nordic god), revolves around its central hero, his taste for avenging the dirty playing Frost Giants (an enemy race living in another realm and have stayed quiet for some years according to a truce with Odin, but who have now managed to break into Odin’s land Asgard). Thor’s revenge is not completely unidentifiable. He is furious of this audacity by the Frost Giants (who have an indomitable power to turn everything living into frost), and feels strongly that their break in into Asgard’s palace was an inside job.
Meanwhile, in a parallel thread, Thor’s quieter, brainier brother Loki, the god of Mischief, is seen hovering behind Odin and Thor in almost every scene, visibly disappointed that Odin has chosen Thor over him as King to be. His passive aggressive behavior is revealed as a permanently tense expression on his face, completely the opposite of Thor, who may be a quick tempered, volatile and tempestuous but who is also friendly, loyal, and open. His respect for his father however is compromised when in an independent decision he wages war against the Frost Giants and when reprimanded, insults Odin. In return, a dejected Odin strips his son of the power he has bestowed, including his power replete hammer, and banishes him from Asgard. In the Nordic universe of seven realms, he throws him into the realm of Earth, where Thor lands in a mild car accident with some astronomers, for whom the turbulent developments of the weather were somewhat of a weird phenomenon.
Through this dark hurricane of Odin’s wrath, Thor falls down somewhere in USA and his Hammer falls some kilometers away. Eventually befriending the three astronomers, Thor learns to become more humble, (a criteria set by Odin for Thor to once again become as powerful as he used to be), and is even tempted to stay on Earth.
In Asgard however, Loki is playing up to his tricks and upon discovering that he was actually the son of the Frost Giants’ chief, invites him to come and kill Odin. He assumes authority as acting King, while Odin falls into his annual ‘Sleep’, the end of which no one knows when will come. But four of the main warriors of Asgard, and friends of Thor, are suspicious of Loki and sneak into Earth to locate Thor. They try to convince him of returning to Asgard to which he refuses. Confusions among the characters, because of Loki’s mischief, face-off’s with horrifying looking Frost Giants and the horrible Destroyer, and the slight romance between Thor and his earthling friend Jane are part of the plots, but behind all this is director Kenneth Branagh’s own interpretation of the super hero stories. His experience with theatre has given him the power to understand and express indepth emotions. No character is flat. If the Frost Giants are scary, they are also melancholic. If Loki is the god of Mischief, he has the most human traits of dejection, disillusionment, being the unfavoured one, and the sadness in his eyes does not make him into a villain. He is in fact the anti-hero.
What makes a movie even more interesting (in a cinema), is the audience response. When Thor is captured by an American intelligence agent and is set for questioning, he is asked how he managed to easily knock down so many guards who were protecting the mysterious hammer. “Where did you receive your training from?” he asks a sullen Thor. “Pakistan?”
A good humoured audience had only to hear this part of the sentence when they began laughing loudly and clapping, not to mention that Branagh did his best to prove how bull-headed and linear American questioning could be.
Even the movie’s end had the audience clapping in response to the show, which was unconditionally, good, clean, entertainment, along with being a well directed film. In a country where films are not the running form of entertainment especially in cinema houses, there is hardly a public display of emotion or spontaneous response towards movies. But the crowd was receptive to the film, and of course 3D made it all the more real, even though the 3D itself was not the most brilliant, the film being shot in 2D and converted later.
3D movies have been a fresh turn and a sigh of relief for Lahori film goers and movie lovers. As more and more 3D films are being released and imported to Pakistan, a larger crowd comes to the cinema to watch them. Avatar is still playing, while new movies are also attracting the public.