Thor appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This became a mostly good presentation but not one without concerns.
In general, sharpness appeared strong. A smidgen of softness affected a few wide shots, but those were minor and overall definition looked solid.
Some issues stemmed from the apparent use of noise reduction, as those instances impacted fine detail. While the movie did provide generally solid definition, it could lack the tightness I expect from 4K.
I noticed no issues with shimmering or jagged edges, and edge haloes were absent. Source flaws failed to appear.
Shots on Asgard went golden, while those on Jötunheim favored a chilly blue and Earth opted for an arid feel. All of these tints made sense and looked appropriate, and the disc’s HDR added impact to the tones.
Blacks showed good depth and darkness, while shadows were inconsistent. Low light shots tended to seem awfully tough to discern, as these elements could make it tough to figure out the action.
The HDR brought nice punch to contrast and whites. This was a more than watchable presentation but I would’ve liked it more without the noise reduction and the heavy shadows.
Comic book movies usually provide dynamic soundtracks, and that was the case with the Dolby Atmos audio of Thor. With a variety of action and ambient elements, the audio brought the events to life in fine fashion.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, battle sequences added the greatest punch, but the various bits connected to the plot contributed an involving sense of atmosphere. Of course, given the character’s nature, thunder was an important element, too.
The pieces used all the speakers to good advantage. I especially liked the fight with the Frost Giants, as that sequence fleshed out the channels in an engrossing manner.
Quieter scenes contributed good breadth and smoothness as well. All of this meant the audio filled out the spectrum in a nice manner.
Sound quality satisfied. Speech was natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.
Music demonstrated good range and clarity as well. Effects worked the best of the bunch, as they were consistently dynamic and vivid. All in all, this was an active and engaging soundtrack.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Audio showed a bit more breadth and impact.
Visuals showed the usual 4K UHD improvements, as this image seemed better defined, and it came with superior colors. Though not a great step up, the 4K UHD felt like the nicer presentation, if just by a mild margin.
Plenty of extras appear on the included Blu-ray copy and we open with an audio commentary from director Kenneth Branagh. He delivers a running, screen-specific look at story/character issues and connections with the comics, cast and performances, costumes and makeup, production design, sets and locations, music and editing, cinematography and effects, stunts and action, themes and tone, and the use of 3D.
In other words, Branagh covers pretty much everything connected to the film’s creation. He does so with charm and verve, as he provides an engaging personality throughout the chat. From start to finish, Branagh delivers an excellent discussion of the movie.
A new short film called Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant lasts three minutes, 57 seconds. It shows the background for the end scene from 2008’s Incredible Hulk. It offers a fun diversion.
Under Featurettes, we find seven programs. These include “From Asgard to Earth” (19:57), “Our Fearless Leader” (3:18), “Assembling the Troupe” (4:44), “Hammer Time” (6:14), “Creating Laufey” (5:33), “Music of the Gods” (2:05) and “A Conversation” (2:23).
Across these, we hear from Branagh, producers Kevin Feige and Craig Kyle, production designer Bo Welch, costume designer Alexandra Byrne, film character designer Ryan Meinerding, Thor/Loki character designer Charlie Wen, co-producer Victoria Alonso, art director Kasra Farahani, screenwriter Don Payne, property master Russell Bobbitt, comic co-creator Stan Lee, suit construction supervisor Shane P. Mahan, composer Patrick Doyle, comic book writer J. Michael Straczynski, and actors Anthony Hopkins, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Jaimie Alexander, Ray Stevenson, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgård, and Colm Feore.
The featurettes cover set and production design, story/character areas, cast and performances, costumes and props, locations, Branagh’s work on the set, makeup and creature creation, music, and general thoughts. The pieces vary in quality, but as a whole, they bring us a fair amount of worthwhile info.
Another piece called Road to the Avengers lasts two minutes, 57 seconds. It gives us some clips from the various Marvel films and some hints at Avengers. It’s basic promo stuff.
11 Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 24 minutes, 34 seconds. As often is the case, these tend to focus on supporting characters and/or extensions to existing sequences.
We get a fair amount more in Asgard, and that helps expand Rene Russo’s “blink and you’ll miss her” turn as Frigga. We also see more of the Asgardian warriors on Earth and a few other minor elements. None of these would’ve been particularly useful in the final film, but they offer some entertaining moments.
We can watch the deleted scenes with or without commentary from Branagh. He gives us some background about the clips and occasionally discusses why they failed to make the final cut.
After his commentary for the film, I hoped Branagh would continue to provide great info here, but that doesn’t happen; he throws out brief notes for each scene but doesn’t flesh them out as well as expected.
The disc finishes with three trailers. We find both the teaser and theatrical promos for Thor plus a clip for an animated Avengers program.
As someone who never was wild about the comic series, I didn’t expect much from Thor. While I can’t say the film dazzles, it does entertain and it brings the characters/situations to life in a fairly satisfying manner. The 4K UHD presents excellent audio and a nice set of bonus materials highlighted by a terrific commentary, but visuals don’t quite live up to expectations. Thor doesn’t make me a serious fan of the franchise, but I like it.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of THOR