Thor, The King’s Speech, and Amazing Grace

Well, how about some movie reviews? I don’t watch that many movies these days. I was far too spoilt when I lived in Provo and could watch artsy foreign films for free just down the street from my house. But I do suffer through trans-Atlantic flights from time to time, so I do occasionally watch movies. Even (fairly) new movies.

On the way home from Tunisia, I watched two out of three. Sorry, but if you want a review of Pirates of the Caribbean #17 (or whatever number it was), you’re out of luck.

I did, however, watch Thor. And found it seriously underwhelming. Kenneth Branagh did a pretty fantastic job on the sets for Asgard, which were bold, dramatic, and panoramic. Plot and script, though, were a different story; silly, almost to the point of inanity, even on the lips of Natalie Portman. What really bothered me, though, was the painfully transparent political propaganda. I almost choked on my tomato juice when Thor actually came out and told the Department of Homeland Security officer that he and the U.S. government were engaged in a common fight against evil. In the movie, even an adopted baby from that evil “other” race can’t overcome his inherently demented nature. Since when have we decided that it is once again acceptable to invoke Norse gods in a crusade against an entire race and culture? This movie reminded me a little too much of a post-9/11 version of  Hitler’s annual idealized Nordic art displays.

The King’s Speech, on the other hand, I loved. Prince Albert, Duke of York, is thrust unwillingly into the throne when his brother abdicates. A serious speech impediment makes any form of public address torture for him. As his country moves toward war, he enlists the help of a speech therapist to prepare him for a speech to rally his people. Colin Firth’s performance as the troubled monarch is masterful. Geoffrey Rush dominates the stage as the imperturbable Australian therapist. And Helena Bonham Carter is an absolutely delightful Queen Elizabeth. As in so many cases, I believe my enjoyment of this film would be even greater if I weren’t desensitized by my American upbringing to the glorious monarchism that pervades it. Still, it is a powerful, enjoyable, and stirring film.

I know everyone else watched Amazing Grace four years ago when it came out. I finally saw it, and I just loved it. This film treads the edge of sentimentalism (and yes, occasionally falls off of it), but it is so inspiring I couldn’t mind too much. I always enjoy a good historical drama, but this one was something special. William Wilberforce is my new hero. What an incredible story of courage, perseverance, and dedication. Wilberforce is a perfect example of standing up against an evil that is so entrenched that most people view it as necessary, and suceeding. I found the whole thing riveting. Next time I go to London and visit Westminster Abbey, I will make sure to pay my respects at Wilberforce’s grave.

5 thoughts on “Thor, The King’s Speech, and Amazing Grace

  • October 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm
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    Hah! I thought Thor was actually among the cream of the crop of the recent rash of super hero movies (to mix metaphors slightly). However, I only employed my brain on the superficial level apparently and missed the master-race, pro-government, anti-muslim propaganda (which, if present, would surely be a first from the Hollywood establishment). Besides which, the “Homeland Security” agent was actually a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (of Nick Fury fame) and only writers ignorant or irreverent towards true Marvel history (which those who wrote this script obviously were) would depict him as anything other than a scion of a “U.N.-like entity.” Which, of course, is what S.H.I.E.L.D. actually is (in the alternate Marvel reality). And there’s the real travesty here. A lack of reverence towards the basic fundamental works of literature that have shaped modern civilization and culture. Peter Jackson butchering the characters in Tolkien’s epics. The abominations that were the last three Star Wars movies. And a disturbing tendency for modern movie makers to take frivolous liberties with the canon of the Marvel and DC universes (universi?). I hang my head in shame at the deterioration of society.

    On another note, Amazing Grace was pretty good.

  • October 19, 2011 at 6:54 pm
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    What Hannah said.

  • October 19, 2011 at 12:15 am
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    I also loved Amazing Grace and The King’s Speech. Excellent shows.

  • October 18, 2011 at 11:37 pm
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    I loved Amazing Grace. Maybe because I think Ioan Gruffudd is so cool. Did you know his first language is Welsh? That is enough to make anyone cool in my book.

  • October 18, 2011 at 11:19 pm
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    The Kings Speech was a brilliant movie, loved it! (and by the way, the ‘Pirates’ movies are fantastic ;))

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