Thor didn't come with a tiny hammer and I, my friends, am sorely disappointed.
I've been pretty excited for this movie to come out on DVD since I saw it back in May. Despite Captain America: the First Avenger's incredible achievement in crediting Marvel Studios as a real-live movie-making studio rather than a tentative wing of a funnybook publishing arm, I still like Thor better. I love the tone of the film, I love the music and the actors, I love the costumes and the pageantry, and I wanted to take it all home from the moment I walked out of the theater.
A lot of movies I adore come out with special packaging for their big release, and chain and online stores will often stock a limited thingamajig with your DVD sale. Iron Man came in a metal case when you bought it from FYE, and when my friend bought the first "Bayocalypse" Transformers movie, there was a bevy of different boxes, statuettes and editions he could choose from. It's a nice bonus to being a nerd sometimes: we get cool stuff for liking cool stuff.
When I went to FYE this Tuesday to grab myself a copy of Thor, we chatted about this as I bought my very plain edition of the Thor movie. No tiny hammer. No statuette. The box wasn't even shaped like his head. The only extras were a digital copy (that refuse to ever work when I download them), some Avengers hype, an awesome little short on Agent Coulson (see it here!) and some interesting featurettes on how this movie was made. All of them seemed very short but were more than simply accolades for all the people working on the film. I actually feel like I learned something about the production's process, which brings me to the best part of the DVD that isn't the movie, the deleted scenes.
In the featurettes, they mention that the director Kenneth Branaugh would take a lot of "one more" shots, giving the actors new and interesting directions as they went along. Some of these off-the-cuff innovations weighted Thor's more dramatic moments stunningly, but that got me thinking about the choices that didn't make it into the movie. What did they want to do before they shot this scene this way? Going through the deleted scenes, you could almost use them as puzzle pieces, trading one exchange out for another to make a slightly different movie for a different audience.
Join me, won't you, as I take a look at these deleted scenes from Thor and try to figure out what could have been.
Quick note: I don't have all of the deleted scenes, but I did find some of them and added them into the overview. Just use your imagination for the others or go grab yourself a copy of the movie and watch along!
Thor and Loki Before the Coronation
Summary: A behind-the-scenes look at Thor's coronation and a short introduction to two very different brothers.What Movie This Scene Belonged In: Family Drama / Kids' Flick
While Loki and Thor are really charming and their final words at the end of the scene are kind of heartwarming, it just feels a little too slow. Anything this scene did to establish Thor and Loki was done more seamlessly in other moments of the movie.However, this moment does highlight the family aspect of the film and would have fit more in an Asgard-based movie. For kids, it's a simplified version of who the main characters are to catch everyone up to speed. Speaking of which...
Warriors Three and Sif Turn Over Their Weapons
Summary: An introduction to Thor's buddies, one by one, before the coronation.What Movie This Scene Belonged In: Kids' Flick
This was a bit silly. While I'm sure people had no idea that Hogun was indeed grim from the moment his name was announced, I'm sure they knew it by movie's end. Yes, Volstagg likes food. He will like food through the entirety of the picture, so seeing it now won't add anything.However, it's goofy and fun for the whole family, and kids can get a better idea of who these people are. A really nice choice for the DVD.
Thor and Frigga
Summary: The orange stage curtains return! Also: Thor gets a bit of a pep talk from his mom.What Movie This Scene Belonged In: Family Drama
It's short and sweet, and Branaugh does nothing but praise Rene Russo on her performance and just in general as a really great actress, so you know they wanted to do more with her in the movie. But our central theme in Thor is the relationship between father and son, so having a moment with mom just makes you wonder why she didn't intercede on his behalf more often (more on this later).However, there is so much good stuff in Asgard, this just helps cement more of that big family bond, that she is also with her son trough this terrible journey and that she loves him. Were this to be an Asgard-centered family drama, this scene would be essential.
Rah Rah (Extended)
I actually kind of like this more extended version of the "tossin' the table" scene. I think Loki comes out more manipulative but more relatable in a way, like he might not have actually planned for things to have gone this far, but hey! They talk about Heimdall and if there is one thing the movie missed out on was to explain more about how rad Heimdall is. Idrys Elba knocks it out of the park by making him awesome, so I can't say I'm complaining, but someone just mentioning the idea that he can hear and see forever would have been nice. Branaugh says that there was "more reservation, suspicion and fun" in the extended scene and I agree.However if I am keeping to a theme, I would totally use this scene as another way to highlight the bond between the brothers and just how far this whole plan could get away from even Loki's schemes in a lunk-headed moment.
Summary: Foster and crew take Thor to the hospital after he's hit by a car and tazed, Thor then fights off the orderlies. There's a lot of orderlies.What Movie This Scene Belonged In: Not really sure, Kids' Flick?
I'd admit it, this goes on way too long. There are a lot of orderlies in that emergency room and Thor lovingly smashes into each and every one of them. Also, the reception nurse is a bad typist, which kind of doesn't tell us anything about anything.However, I am sticking to my theme and I'll hazard a guess that kids would love to see a longer cut only to have it end with Thor getting a shot in the butt. It's a guess.
Frigga Confronts Odin
Summary: Frigga wants answers as to why Thor was banished and Odin sums up why he took such an extreme action.What Movie This Scene Belonged In: Family Drama / the Actual Movie
I wish they hadn't taken this out; it's so short and yet helps the audience along with the whole 'Thor's purpose' portion of the plot. Yes, this was the act of an angry father, but at the very end (and I'm super sorry I couldn't find a clip of this online), Odin tells Frigga that "His fate is in his own hands, now." Thor's eventual humility and self-sacrifice at the climax is his own actual choice, not a result of being chastised by his father or the machinations of his brother. We make our own fates as mortals, so for Thor to learn this in mortal form and to learn a finer aspect of being human makes his final face down with the Destroyer a little sweeter.However, this certainly takes more time up in Asgard rather than where our main character is posted, though if you're simply following Odin's story, it bridges the gap nicely between banishment and Loki's confrontation in the treasury.
Loki is Made King
Summary: Frigga comforts Loki and tells him a little more about his family when duty calls and Loki finds himself King of Asgard.What Movie This Scene Belonged In: Family DramaI should say upfront that this scene starts with the most awesome shot of the Odin sleep and really showcases that amazing chamber where he's taking his godly snooze. Technically, this is an extended scene, as some of their dialogue is kept for the movie (telling Loki there is always hope for Thor's return), so what you see in the movie is a lot tighter and more direct a version.However, this scene also starts off with Frigga admitting she always knew about Loki's true nature and wanted to tell him. When Asgard needs a king, she is the one to explain how he's the next in line and even tops it all off with a "Do your father proud." And then Loki spends the rest of the movie double crossing everyone to prove to his father he is a worthy son. This scene has the exact moment of where this went from "mischief made" to "villainy enacted." Branaugh says that Tom Hiddleston shows a sort of "naked relish and glee" in Loki's sudden new position and as far as Asgardian family drama goes, this is the centerpiece of that movie.
Selvig Sings with Thor
Summary: Selvig and Thor down some drinks, smash some cups and sing some songs before Selvig drops and Thor carries him home.What Movie This Scene Belonged In: Kids' Flick
Oh man, this is just silly. Interesting to note is that this is an actual Norwegian drinking song, translated and then "adapted" to better fit in with the movie. To me, that means there had to be some ribald lines that might not have fit in with the movie's more family friendly tone.However, guys drink and do a silly dance and then fall down. They were one animal reaction shot away from Kevin James territory.
Warriors Three and Sif Arrive (Extended)
Summary: Thor makes amends and the Warriors Three and Sif roam around town in search of him.What Movie This Scene Belonged In: Kids' Flick
More silly-fun kid's stuff. Enjoyable, but not entirely missed. My one exception is that there is a moment in which Thor takes the time to replace the coffee mug he smashed in the beginning and apologize for his previous behavior. I think this brings us full circle and shows a change in Thor's attitude before disaster strikes; again, it's his choice to be a nice guy, no matter what other forces are at work.
However, a lot of this is geared more towards showing just how fun it is to hang with the Warriors Three. Volstagg helps a little girl get a baseball out from under a car, Sif continues to poke fun at the boys, Fandral: still dashing, Hogun: still grim.
Summary: intrepid sidekick Darcy rescues Baker the dogWhat Movie This Scene Belonged In: Kids' Flick/ The Actual Movie
I don't know why they didn't keep this in, it's adorable plus it's short, gives you the idea of a bigger evacuation and builds some tension. Fun fact: Kat Dennings bonded with the stunt coordinator's dog who appears in this scene as the aforementioned Baker.
Selvig is Saved by Thor
This was really hokey. And apparently, this scene made it into the movie the longest before being cut. Thor uses one of the Warriors Three's healing stones, crushes it over a large shard of glass that caught Selvig in the chest during their escape from the Destroyer. Strangely, by adding in magic, it takes away from the real magic of Thor's return to grace. So I'm glad they removed it.
However, this goes a long way to tell kids that people don't really get hurt in movies.
All in all, Thor is a great film and (with some cutting and splicing) could have been three great films, but I'm rather happy with the one we got.
...And if they do a super-special release complete with mini hammer pendant in six months, I'll buy that one, too.