Game of Thrones to Thor: Is Hollywood hoping TV will show them the money?

Deepanjana Pal

Aug 08, 2013 16:32:43 IST

Earlier this week Krrish 3's trailer was released and yesterday, Marvel put out the second look at Thor: The Dark World. Judging from the trailers, both the films are about big, beefy men who bounce around while cities are devastated.

There is a significant difference though. Krrish 3 is clearly hoping to replicate some classic Hollywood superhero flicks — mushroom clouds of urban destruction, as seen in every Hot-Hero-Must-Save-The-Planet film; the hero on his perch, watching over his city, a la Batman; a poor man's Iron Man (you really have to feel sorry for Vivek Oberoi. As if it wasn't bad enough that he's got to be mummified in metal, people will see his character and remember Robert Downey Jr). Thor: The Dark World, on the other hand, has turned away from Hollywood and towards TV to realise its hope of wooing audiences.

The new Thor trailer doesn't tell you much more than the first did. It's full of eye candy, regardless of whether you like your men blonde, brunette, buff or lean. Chris Hemsworth is back as Thor, tossing his hammer and his blonde mane to great advantage (maybe he's born with it, maybe it's Mjölnir). Tom Hiddleston, with his clear diction and ability to fill even a tiny word like 'why' with some serious drama, is back as Loki. This time, the step-brothers are working together, which is why get that rather lovely slow-mo stride of the two Norse gods side by side, at the end of the trailer. We also see London getting the brunt of CGI destruction, glimpses of Asgard and very subtle hints about the fearsome the villain of Thor: The Dark World, Malekith (played by Christopher Eccleston)

However, the real reason to look forward to the new Thor film is its director, Alan Taylor. Taylor doesn't have much experience in films, but his TV credits include directing episodes of Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Rome and Sex and the City. While we're hoping he doesn't take a leaf out of Game of Thrones and behead a couple of lead characters in the first few minutes of Thor: The Dark World, Taylor's past credits make him an exciting pick for a superhero film. He clearly knows how to tell a taut story and probably has an iron constitution when it comes to violence (directing nine episodes of The Sopranos and six episodes of Game of Thrones will do that to you).

Game of Thrones to Thor: Is Hollywood hoping TV will show them the money?

A screengrab from the youtube.

Transitioning from small screen to big screen has been the ambition of many directors, but until recently, the television industry was considered the humbler option. Today, however, it's the golden age of television abroad. Of late, the truly exciting storytelling has been seen on TV rather than in the movies. Shows like Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Breaking Bad on American cable channels and British series like The Hour, Sherlock and Downton Abbey have proven to be far more inventive than most Hollywood releases.

For instance, compare the formulaic routines of the summer blockbuster The Wolverine to the sharply-imagined, futuristic tech-paranoia in BBC's Black Mirror. And let's not forget that Joss Whedon, director of the big daddy of all blockbusters The Avengers, was first a television man. Remember his Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly?

In the past, the West viewed the film industry as the space in which directors could showcase themselves at their imaginative best, now it's television that seems to offer that promise. Acclaimed film directors like Steven Soderbergh and Christopher Guest have turned to television, excited by the medium as a result of shows like the ones Taylor has worked on as both director and producer.

Now the hope is that Taylor will be able to bring some of the storytelling magic that has characterised his TV work to Thor: The Dark World. The expectations from him are higher (instead of lower) because of Taylor's TV credits. Superhero franchises need to become more impressive, more fun and less predictable.

Explosions, fight sequences by roaring, beefy men and destroyed cities are well and good, but it's all been seen many times over. There needs to be a balance between familiar elements and novel twists in the tale. The high-quality TV shows make audiences harder to impress today, which is perhaps why Marvel turned to Taylor. They'll be hoping Taylor will be able to capture the imagination of cinema-goers the way his previous work has with TV audiences. After all, it's going to take some clever storytelling and twists in the tale to break The Avengers's record.

Updated Date: Aug 08, 2013 18:09:14 IST