Thor: Hammer of the Gods (Review)

Thor: Hammer of the Gods

Directed by Todor Chapkanov
Written by Steve Bevilacqua and Rafael Jordan

What could have been a cool concept is instead bogged down into a mediocre entry into the SciFi Channel original movie canon. The premise seems simple: Vikings vs. werewolves, and Thor shows up! The execution is problematic. The main problem is the pacing. There is lots of padding with Viking ceremonies and birthright nonsense. That’s great that the screenwriters are some of those people that know a disturbing amount of Nordic culture, but it doesn’t always make compelling viewing. The Vikings spend a lot of time running back and forth on the island as their comrades get picked off, while the werewolves start out as invincible supermonsters and quickly become incredibly easy to kill. Look, I don’t care if the Vikings are wearing the wrong color clothes, have horns or no horns on their helmets, or even if their sword stances are wrong. I just care if the movie is fun. Because, a movie about Vikings vs. werewolves is supposed to be fun. That’s the whole point!

Thor Hammer of the Gods does have good moments. The battles in the last half are pretty good, and it does pick up the pace some. Everyone speaks with exaggerated Shakespeare accents, which at first I found goofy, but it added to some of the camp value that should have been in the rest of the film. It is obvious the film had a very small budget, and it seemed to do well with what it had, I only wished they had spend more on action and less on the Viking stuff, especially since it seemed to not add much of anything to the characters. We learned little about Thor except he was brave and needed to learn more about leadership. That gave us no real emotional connection.

The actors I found little fault with. The biggest fun was Zachary Ty Brian (who has dropped the Ty) as Thor. When I first head this cast announcement, I laughed. I expected this to be terrible. But Zachary Bryan pulled it off, partially because he wasn’t Thor God of Thunder, but just a guy named Thor. As Zachary Bryan has been spending his post-Home Improvement career playing jerks of various degrees on movies and TV, it was nice seeing him do a different role. He might even have a career doing SciFi Channel films to supplement income from the latest Hollywood movie that needs a jerk. Most of the other cast is unknown, but Daz Crawford was pretty entertaining and makes a good jerk character. George Zlatarev appears near the end of the film and does a good job with what little he was given. He was also in Manticore and Grendel along with dozens of other SciFi Channel films.

Thor (Zachery Ty Bryan) – Thor isn’t the God of Thunder and Son of Odin, he’s just a Viking warrior with a fauxhawk who is the youngest of three brothers (Baldur and Ulfrich are the others.) Thor has much to learn in how to be an effective leader, but gets a quick lesson thanks to some werewolves. Thor is also the reincarnation of Thor, a great warrior who can weld the Hammer of the Gods.
Baldur (Mac Brandt) – The middle brother, but treated as the eldest because he was the first legitimate brother. Leader of the Viking quest to the island, only to be betrayed by his own brother. Sacrifices himself due to too much Indiana Jones. Never reached the gate.
Ulfrich (Daz Crawford) – The bastard older brother of Baldur and Thor, Ulfrich really is a bastard because he goes all werewolf on them over imagined women troubles. That bastard!
Freyja (Melissa Leigh) – Baldur’s wife has “the sight”, which means she has visions and stuff. Her visions don’t help her in combat. Freyja has got to be the most common name for girls in fantasy films. It is the fantasy “Jennifer”!
Sif (Alexis Peters) – Ulfrich’s wife or girlfriend or something. She’s friends with Thor, which makes Ulfrich mad. Besides that, she doesn’t really have much personality, though she is a better fighter than Freyja. Alexis Peters appeared on TarsTarkas.NET before in Grendel.
Evil Werewolf Girl (???) – Evil Werewolf Girl was never given a name, but she does have an accent! She’s evil, and a werewolf, so that’s all you need to know. I don’t know who played her, either.
The Viking Brothers (??? and ???) – I am not sure of their names, but these dudes live to the end where they save the ship from werewolves. One has a bow an arrow, and they seem smarter than your average random guy in a SciFi Channel film.
Werewolves (dudes with CGI heads) – What do you get when you CGI wolves heads on top of some shirtless dudes in loin clothes? Werewolves! Yeah. Teen Wolf, this is not.
Fenrir (CGI) – The evil Wolf God and son of Loki. Talks in that stereotypical demon voice. His CGI is some sort of armored wolf, but it is too dark to get a good view. Not a big fan of MC Hammer.

The opening credits with animated old Viking scroll pictures is actually pretty neat. Too many of these SciFi Channel films have generic credits. I give credit where credit is due, especially with credits. But it will be a while before something else is neat. A narrator tells us some Viking dudes are headed to the end of the Earth, which turns out to be an island. One of the Viking girls says it is Lingfei(or something), land of legend and fable. Like this fable about a fox jumping to get grapes, only he can’t get the grapes, so he burns down the neighbor village, plunders its riches, and rapes its women. Foxes are jerks.

The Vikings spend a lot of time ragging on a bald dude named Ulfrich, but it sounds like they’re saying Old Frick most of the time. As Ulfrich turns out to be a bad guy, maybe you shouldn’t have antagonized him so much? Thor is all deja vu-ing with visions of a warrior flashing in his head.

Thor and Aegir go scouting, but soon a guy in a wolf mask grabs Aegir and runs off with him. Guy in a wolf mask? I meant werewolf. Thor makes it back after two other guys in wolf masks– werewolves run him up a tree, and soon the Vikings rally and go looking to kill some wolf dudes! Instead, they find an abandoned village. Not so abandoned, as inside are some starving, stinky people who have been walled into a house for months eating grubs in the dirt. I see Timon and Pumbaa were here! They explain that they came her like the Vikings and then were attacked and trapped by the werewolves.

Baldur decides to leave some guards at the town and then carry on looking for Aegir. Those guards are totally dead. Thor has a vision of other-Thor fighting a giant frilled lizard sea serpent, which would have been a cool film by itself. Thor saw the Hammer of the Gods, according to Freyja, the resident expert on hammers and gods.

Hey, those villagers manages to construct a pretty complicated wooden stair and bridge system considering they were attacked almost immediately upon arrival! Maybe there are some holes in their story? Back at the village, the guards are attacked and killed by werewolves, as we all knew they would be. So instead, Baldur decides they are going to go get the rest of the crew that was left at the ship and then kill some werewolves as a group. But we know that the guards will be dead before they get there. Thor gets another vision that says the hammer is at the top of the mountain on the island. Thanks, Thor.

The guards by the boat all manage to get killed and the boat is now missing, so the Vikings are trapped. They go back to the village for the night, but the people there are also missing. Probably because they are werewolved, but whatever. The vikings set up the fort (the sequence is almost a montage, but the song used is not montage-ish enough) and then wait for night. The werewolves just run in and soon everyone is fighting. The Vikings make a good stand, they actually kill several of the werewolves to only one Viking loss. The werewolves retreat and drag off their dead, except the head of one werewolf, which is stuck on a pick. Surprise, surprise, the werewolf is soon a human head, and the Vikings figure out what their enemies are.

There is also a bowl that had the inscription “Beware the sons of Loki” who are Jörmungandr the World Serpent, and Fenrir the wolf. To give weight to the Fenrir name, we see the Werewolf Girl revert to human form, and report in to Fenrir. Fenrir is a marvel of goofy CGI and speaks like he’s a Protoss Dragoon or something. He tells Evil Werewolf Girl to get Thor and kill everyone else. So she interrogates some prisoners, and uses a werewolf named Skull to torture them. Hey, I want to learn more about Skull the werewolf! Did he partner with Dr. McCoy from Star Trek and form a secret society?

Back at the village, Ulfrich freaks out over an imagined Thor and Sif affair. He should be more freaked out that his girl is named Sif, which is too close to Sith for my taste. She’s obviously with the Dark Side of the Force, so expel her, quick! Instead, the film decides to waste out time with a duel. Filmmakers: No one cares about petty Viking garbage! I just want to see them kill some werewolves, not argue over birthright or girls. After a minute or two Baldur stops it, then Ulfrich just leaves. Some random Viking is concerned that Ulfrich might be turned into a werewolf. Who is that random Viking? He’s one of the two Viking Brothers from the Roll Call, because his few lines actually make sense and he and his brother live to the end. You rarely see minor characters make it, so props to Thor: Hammer of the Gods for that.

Ulfrich sulks, but seconds later evil werewolf girl comes to see Ulfrich and asks him to join them, and also kisses him. I wonder if she has doggy breath. Maybe a milkbone helped. The Vikings head to the mountain, but run into Ulfrich and some werewolves. After words are exchanged it is Ulfrich vs. Baldur as the rest are told to run. Ulfrich slices Baldur, but Baldur then runs, and he gets on that wooden bridge they were at before. As some werewolves also get on the bridge, Baldur stops in the middle and goes all Temple of Doom on it! The bridge falls and Baldur and the werewolves die.

The Vikings set traps for the werewolves which basically means waiting at bottom of a hill and tossing spears up at them, and tripping werewolves with ropes. This strategy proves deadly for the werewolves, who are all morons. Ulfrich sneers some more and then heads back to the werewolf base.

A new character appears out of nowhere, as the Vikings run across some crazy dude named Vali who tells the same story the villagers did, so they cut off a finger to see if it grows back. It doesn’t, and Vali tells the story of the Hammer of the Gods, and Thor sees his vision again, realizing he is the chosen one to wield the Hammer of the Gods.

At the werewolf base, they see their ship near the hideout, Thor sends the Viking Brothers to secure it for departure, while the rest sneak in the back door. Ulfrich is at the back waiting for them, so Thor and him fight as the girls and Vali sneak inside. Thor stabs Ulfrich in the chest, but Ulfrich just laughs, and partially morphs into a werewolf – except he just ends up looking like the Traveler from Star Trek: The Next Generation in his underwear. Thor gets mad, because the Traveler has picked the wrong kid from an early 90’s tv show to perv on! Thor goes all Air Jordan, grabs his sword, and sliced Ulfrich in two in the same jump. It’s crazy!

Inside, Sif, Freyja, and Vali kills the captured and mortally wounded Viking Aegir, and then now confront the Evil Werewolf Girl. She says Vali is also after the Hammer, but the film does nothing with that so neither will I. Now it is a lady fight! Three ladies with swords, no waiting! Wooo!!! Thor almost ruins it, but they tell him to get out, so he goes and finds the Hammer. Thor also finds the demon-voiced wolf Fenrir. Fenrir says some stuff, but his attack is interrupted because they require more vespine gas. Fenrir also says “To kill a brother-slayer is a rare opportunity, indeed!” Fenrir is not known for useful sayings.

At the chick fight, Freyja gets killed, but then Sif kills the Evil Werewolf Girl. At last, she doesn’t have to worry about full-body waxing anymore! Sif distracts Fenrir, so Thor grabs the Hammer and goes all Tool Time on Fenrir’s head!

Fenrir is dead, then Thor slams the Hammer down, and a shockwave kills a bunch of other werewolves. The Viking Brothers lived, as does Vali, so they sail away.

Then they landed on an island of vampire frankensteins! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooOOOO!! Okay, they didn’t, but they should have!

This was pretty disappointing. It is so by the numbers it is painful. I just want fun. It was so close to being a good film, it just got bogged down, and I almost stopped paying attention by the time it picked up pace. This film needed More Power (Aw aw aw aw!)

Rated 5/10 (Scrolltime, Flameface, CGI head, CGI howl, CGI stab)

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!