There are few books that I have enjoyed as much as I enjoyed The Help by Kathryn Stockett. And, to top it off, the movie was amazing.
The setting takes place during the civil rights movement in Jackson, Mississippi. With such a politically charged plot, I felt my emotions surging and swelling throughout the book. To put it in the words of Minnie, one of the black maids, “We living in hell,” just seems to sum it all up. The only thing I didn’t like was the “terrible awful” that Minnie finally explains. I just about gagged in response and still do when I think of it. Even so, clearly a negative emotion is what the author was going for, and I must say she certainly achieved it! Shudder …
From the first sentence, the book transports you to another time and place. One of my favorite segments was when Hilly, the bathroom segregation ring-leader, tells Skeeter, “There are racists living in this town,” completely oblivious to the fact that she is one of them. I love that because I think most people are blind to their faults. I know I have had my eyes opened once or twice.
Another thing I loved is that the book is full of flawed characters that become endearing as you get to know them. I love that! In reality, people are flawed. Presenting the characters in such a way brought so much realism to the story.
It is not very often that I feel my socks have been knocked off, but this was one of them. Thank you Kathryn Stockett for your wonderful work. This is definitely the kind of novel that I would like to aspire to write. Talk about depth. Wow. Definitely 5 out of 5!
… because I loved the idea too much to leave it the way it was.
I was so excited to finally see Thor, and in many respects, the movie came through. The actors were fabulous, most of the lines were good, but every now and then the plot really disappointed me. Wishing I could alter the movie and tease it into shape, I’ve written this outlineof changes. Obviously I’m nobody spectacular. Even so, when I see something with so much potential that doesn’t quite deliver, I just can’t help myself.
Beware, there are spoilers ahead.
Thor — The movie:
The opening on earth was intriguing – loved it. Natalie Portman brought a wonderful element of realism. The opening with Thor is also good, except that it goes on for too long. I would have cut or shortened a few things. But I’m getting ahead of myself. There were some wonderful elements. One of my favorite scenes is when Thor’s father, Odin, realizes that Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is not ready to be king. The acting is very subtle, giving the entire scene a credibility that some of the other scenes lacked. Even so, I think it would have been better if Odin had sorrowfully declined Thor the throne in public before the invasion of the ice giants began. Thor’s humiliation would have created a more legitimate need to to prove himself worthy. It certainly would have made Thor’s attack on the ice giants more reasonable, if not more believable. We all want a hero to grow, the more the better. That is not the issue. The problem in the film was that Thor attacked the ice giants with so little provocation. Portraying Thor in such a way created an unbelievable expectation for change, and yet later in the film, Thor changes practically overnight. One a side note, Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of Odin is really good.
Continuing on, Thor’s banishment to earth is just plain fun. I loved it. The tazer Thor refers to as a puny weapon before he is zapped hit the funny bone of the entire theater. And the way Thor tries to fight his way out of the hospital … good stuff. Bravo, bravo!
When Thor talks to Loki at the hammer, we come to the last really good scene. Sorrowfully, the continuing plot has a few holes, and unfortunately, they are not minor holes. The entire premise of the movie hinges on the idea that Thor begins as a selfish, prideful being, for which he is banished. His destined change is supposed to be the heart and soul of the movie, yet it is so rushed that I am still in awe of the meaningless special effects that took place instead. Don’t get me wrong. I love special effects, but not at the cost of the plot. Thor’s humility and ultimate change occur instantly over the course of a couple days. Bam, he is a new man. It’s so implausible that I’m still scratching my head. And the scene with the robot … ugh. It’s almost embarrassing. The whole thing begs to be rewritten.
Thor — What I would have changed:
Thor’s new life as a mortal could have been juicy territory to explore! His foreign understanding, his loss of powers, his need to change, mingled with his desire to become a better person … Just like the taser scene, the audience could have had such fun. If there was time to spend a half hour on meaningless special effects, there should have been a little time for growth. All the mundane things that Thor can’t understand should have been delivered through Jane. Relationships take more than 24 hours to establish. Thor and Jane needed time to fall in love. In the film, Jane seems to fall from him simply because he’s gorgeous. How flimsy is that?
As for Thor’s warrior friends coming to rescue him, I would have scrubbed the entire idea. Instead, this is what I would have done. While Thor is creating a new life on earth and actually finding happiness in the arms of a mortal woman, unbeknownst to him, the ice giants have invaded his world and conquered it. (Place all those special effects here instead of the dumb robot) Loki tries to follow through with his original plan, only to have it backfire in his face. Instead of killing the ice king, he is imprisoned, and kept alive so that he can witness the fruits of his cowardice, as does Odin, who is fully aware, despite his coma.
When everything seems lost, one of Thor’s friends manages to escape the carnage. Bloody and bruised, barely alive, he secretly spans the bridge and enters the worldly realm of mortals, hoping to find Thor and bring him back to save them all. Mortally wounded, the warrior makes his way through New Mexico only to die in Thor’s arms as he informs him with his last breath of the horrific situation back home. Thor’s fairytale life with Jane is suddenly shattered as he realizes that all is not as Loki had said. His father is yet alive, and the ice giants have taken control of his realm.
Desperate to return home and save his family, friends, and world, Thor goes to Jane’s laboratory and attempts the impossible. He needs to build a bridge across the universe with the help of Jane’s team. Unfortunately, in the process, the government agents interrupt them. Since time is of the essence, and because Thor knows no other way, he fights back creating a mass of confusion. Firepower is exchanged and Jane is superficially wounded. Seeing her in danger, Thor puts himself in harms way, hoping to protect her, and is fatally wounded in the process. Gurgling in blood, they exchange vows of love, and then … Thor is gone. At that moment his father’s words are fulfilled, and the hammer is released, returning Thor to his immortal state. Once Thor puts the agents in their place without actually harming anyone, there is a ceasefire. The agents realize what they’ve been fighting against and relinquish their claim on Jane and her laboratory.
Thor is faced with the decision that he must return to Asgard if he hopes to save the universe from destruction. Even as Jane begs to come with him, he tells her that it is too dangerous. Thor will not risk her life again.
Home at last, Thor sees what has become of his world. He confronts his imprisoned brother and breaks him free, telling him that any redemption he hoped for is contingent upon the eradication of the ice giants. As depicted in the movie, to save his father’s life, Loki kills the ice king as Thor fights with his warriors. In battle the bridge is damaged, and Loki’s true nature is revealed with all his anger and threats intact. Seeing no other way to save the universe, Thor breaks the bridge with his hammer, and the two brothers end up dangling over eternity, just as it is represented in the movie.
From here, I would return to the movie script. Loki chooses to let go, the bridge is destroyed, and Thor is unable to return to Jane — a perfect set up for a sequel.
But I’m just dreaming, enjoying my overactive imagination. Funny how real it all becomes up there in my head.