The Art of Thor

I really loved Marvel’s Thor when I saw it earlier this year in theaters. My appreciation for the movie grew once I got a copy of the DVD, and could watch it at leisure but I was disappointed that the disc only featured commentary with director Kenneth Branagh. Where were the “Making of” featurettes? The stories about how hard it was to build those gorgeous sets? The explanations about the inspiration behind the costumes? What about the anecdotes about the evolution of the various props?

None of these were present on the DVD that was available in the region, and I don’t own a Blu-ray player (the Blu-ray edition has more features, but I’m still not ready to abandon my DVD collection and start building another in a completely different format). It looked like I was shit out of luck.

Then I found The Art of Thor in our local Powerbooks branch.

This is exactly what I needed.

You can actually get it for several hundred pesos cheaper at Fully Booked. Still, totally worth it.

I tore off the shrink wrap and held it in my hands, laughing maniacally for a while before I opened the book proper. The slipcase for this thing is made of some sturdy board and is detailed with what I’m guessing is some kind of Asgardian rune. The runes are stamped on with some glossy paint that contrasts nicely with the dark brown of the slipcase and the gold leaf of the title. The back of the slipcase has a continuation of the rune design.

The book inside is of a brown that is more reddish than the slip cover. The covers are embossed with more runes and feel nice and textured. This is one of the things I love about real books rather than something I read on the screen: the tactile interaction with something solid. Another thing I love is the smell. There’s nothing like that new book smell.

Come to that, there’s nothing like that old book smell either. Both are great and I wish I could bottle them and get my place to smell like one of those huge, private libraries you’re always seeing on the Net.

The back cover has a round emblem of some kind (I’m assuming Asgardian in concept) smack dab in the center.

The inside of the book is chock full of goodies. It starts off with an explanation of Thor’s life in Marvel Comics and moves into the conceptualization of the movie version. From there there’s talk about costumes, props and sets.

There are numerous sketches, photos, and diagrams that explain Thor, his world, and the people he meets in both Asgard and Midgard. There are pages detailed for the Warriors Three, Sif, Odin, Loki, Frigga, the Asgardian population, the Frost Giants, Sleipnir and the Frost Hound, the contents of the Asgardian weapon vault, Destroyer, the city of Asgard, and tons more.

The high point has got to be the pages that detail the iterations that the production design team went through with Mjölnir, Thor’s hammer. Looking at it, I could visualize other, more Hollywood versions of the movie that would have just sucked balls. The low point is probably the discussion of the earthbound characters. While I imagine it was hard work to set up that small town, it makes for some boring reading.

Objectively, if I wasn’t such a big fan of Thor, I probably would not have dropped nearly Php 3,000.00 for this book. I could have bought several more movie toys like Battle Hammer Thor or a couple of Frost Giants for that amount of scratch. I could have gotten another 6” Thor for that matter.

Come to think of it, I probably could have just bought that aforementioned Blu-ray and had some change left over. Ah, impulse buys.

Still, if you really did enjoy the movie, and you want something to put on your bookshelf other than half-dead plants and cobwebs, this is a great choice.

Now I’ve got to go out and buy some crackers. It’s gonna be a lean Christmas.

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