BY CLIFF WEISS / EDITOR-IN-CHIEF //
Last week, I saw the blockbuster movie “Thor: The Dark World” with my son Gabriel. We had different opinions about the film.
Gabriel is 11. He likes science fiction, comics, and action. For him, this movie had it all. Gabriel thought it was a great super-hero movie with big fight scenes and awesome special effects. Initially, that seemed to be the totality of his experience with the movie, and he was fine with that.
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For me, the movie was a disappointment. Although I do like science fiction, this film had too much fiction and not enough science. The entire premise is based upon the existence of something the movie calls “Aether.” The no-good Aether is supposedly an ancient and mysterious object of power that is a blood-red liquid goo.
Of course, since the audience does not know anything about Aether, the beginning of the movie consists of a narration about a far away planet, ruled by Dark Elves, who attempt to use the Aether to defeat Thor’s grandfather, Bor, and control/destroy the universe.
The Dark Elves lose, but a few of the leaders escape into some kind of unexplained, suspended animation, and return later in the film.
The general consensus is that the opening was a bad rip-off of Tolkien’s dark forces in “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” Since nobody can understand or even relate to the Dark Elves and the mysterious Aether, it is difficult to get emotionally (or intellectually) involved in the plot.
Of course, for some, the plot does not matter. When Thor took off his shirt, the audience (mostly women) reacted. Likewise, the fight scenes and special effects were entertaining for everyone.
After leaving the movie, I asked Gabriel if he liked the story and what it meant. Gabe’s initial response was that I was overthinking it. It was just a movie. It was fun.
Then, I asked Gabriel if he saw any Jewish themes. Immediately, he said yes, that it was just like last week’s Parashat, Vayetze. Jacob tricked his brother Esau and his father Isaac, in order for Jacob to obtain Isaac’s blessing instead of Esau.
Similarly, Loki uses his own powers of deception to undermine his father and dupe Thor.
This is an interesting thought, because, although the main storyline is pretty lame, the constant struggle between brothers Loki and Thor is both profound and credible. The movie would have been better if it got rid of the stupid elves and Aether and focused on the struggle between the two brothers.
I asked Gabriel if he saw any other Jewish themes. He said that there is always the struggle between good and evil, and that we have to make our own choices and live with them. It is not always easy to make the correct choice.
Gabe added that Thor’s choices remind him of Moses. Thor, like Moses, defies his “father/king” for a greater good. Like Moses, Thor also turns down the throne to focus on what he feels is important; being a good man and helping people as he knows how.
Gabriel reminded me of Thor’s line, “It is better to be a good man than a great king.” Perhaps Gabriel got more out of this movie than he is willing to admit. I am glad that we saw the film together and had this discussion. If you can stand the nonsensical plot, take your children to Thor and see what they glean from it…you may be surprised!