Watching bad movies is a horrible pleasure of mine. But I can’t stand to do it alone. Watching it alone feels like the movie is winning. I feel as though I am justifying its existence if it is just me sitting there watching a straight-to-cable, washed-up-actor-ridden, cheese-fest of a film; but if I have company for it, it’s a sport.
Last weekend, my brother and sister-in-law were over for the Ancaster Fall Fair, and we topped off our night by watching what may be one of the most bloody awful movies ever made. Thor: Hammer of the Gods, starring Home Improvement’s Zachary Ty Bryan, proves that there is hope for even the worst writer to see their work produced in a public forum.
But don’t misunderstand me in thinking that it is only the writing that makes this movie awful. It achieved brutal levels of stupidity right across the board. Here are a few highlights:
- The men are wearing seven layers of fur, leather, chainmail, and burlap (what with it being winter and all), but the women all go about bare-armed and unfazed by the snow. Also, the general theme of the outfits seemed to be that Vikings made clothes by randomly attaching small bits of things with buckles and straps and crudely stitched lengths of garden twine without any sense of making garment-like items as an end point.
- The CG looked like something from a made-for-TV movie from 10 years ago, and this was actually produced in 2009. I’ve seen worse, but usually I see it on commercials for local flooring companies. The werewolves (yes, werewolves) were mostly kept in the dark and the camera was shaking everywhere in a blatant attempt to cover up the dodgy animation, so at least the director (Todor Chapkanov, may he never direct again) had the good sense not to linger too long on anything.
- There are werewolves. A whole pack of them. In a Viking movie.
- The dialogue is a brilliant example of how to use “old-timey” language (“Yea!” “Put up your swords!” “Speak not of that, brother!”) sporadically and ham-handedly to really highlight the poor acting quality of your cast. Lines that bad can’t be acted, not even by the best. And this bunch was most certainly not the best.
- The Vikings all have the names of Norse gods, but they aren’t gods, except for Thor (Zachary Ty Bryan) who apparently is a god but doesn’t know it, and his godliness is manifested by occasional bouts of heart pain and small strokes accompanied by poorly rendered visions of a man wielding a giant, papier-mâché hammer.
- They take shelter in a “fort” with walls made of saplings leaned against each other in such a way that there are holes 6 feet across all the way around. It’s more hole than wall! And then they barred the damn gate! What for? Luckily the werewolves were too stupid to find the gaps.
- The fight scenes (Viking vs. werewolf) looked like the choreographer, director, and actors had never, ever, ever seen someone hold a sword, much less swing one at someone else holding a similarly shaped object. It was bad enough watching the men fight; when the women got at it, it was like some kind of trippy, acid-fueled ballet of poorly-animated mannequins. One of the werewolf women, rather than turning into a beast with razor-sharp claws and teeth, opts to fight with a pair of knife… things… I don’t really know what they are, but they appear to have been designed to stab their own user repeatedly in the arms if used offensively.
- But at least none of the girls experienced a single, horribly disorienting moment of wire-fu in the middle of their terrible combat sequences. Too bad for Thor that his pathetic fight scene with his inexplicably werewolf-hybridized former friend (really?) had to end with him leaping up into a tree like the world’s ugliest Tinkerbell in a high school play.
- The ending followed the painful formula of the hero (loosely-used term for wash-up with a magical hammer) walking away laughing with the bare-armed love interest while stepping over the mangled corpses of every single person that they ever knew or loved. No remorse. No shell shock. No horror. It would be disconcerting if there was ever a moment in the movie where you believed that the people on screen were actually humans and not crudely rendered cardboard cutouts. Luckily, that moment never comes.
Zachary Ty Bryan, please never appear on my television again unless it is in the form of a season 1-3 episode of Home Improvement. You are a terrible actor and it isn’t fair of you to keep stinking up already bad productions.
Todor Chapkanov, reading the list of your directorial accomplishments (Boogeyman 3, Lake Placid 2, Boa vs. Python), I feel nothing but sadness for your life. By watching just one of your films (which was like being punched in the brain for two hours) I can safely say that you, sir, have not found your calling. Go to college, re-educate yourself, and please never make anything as bad as Thor: Hammer of the Gods ever again.