Open Movie Thread: Thor Scorecard, Conan & Colombiana Trailers, Tarantino vs. Slavery?

By Arturo R. García

And after the big to-do over Idris Elba getting cast in Thor, it turns out … you know what? He wasn’t bad at all. Some spoilers under the cut.

As Heimdall, the gatekeeper for Thor’s home of Asgard, Elba was confined to scenes where somebody needed his lift hitching a ride between Asgard and other realms – mostly Earth, of course. That said, for a solemn intergalactic doorman, at least the rest of the characters approached Heimdall with a healthy sense of respect – even the villain, Loki, doesn’t really step to him until after his plans are in motion, and even then, you can tell Loki knows he’s pushing his luck. And though he’s not part of the climactic battles – that’s when it’s Hammer time for Thor, after all – Heimdall does get a winning moment of his own, which helps turn the tide.

Meanwhile, lurking in the background was Tadanobu Asano as Hogun The Grim, a member of the Warriors Three. The Three, along with Sif, don’t get to do much other than worry about what Thor’s up to while he’s stuck in Mundane-uh, I mean Midgard, aside from a fight scene with the evil Frost Giants early on in the film. But, again, Hogun doesn’t get overtly dissed by the rest of the characters. And as for any objections over actors of color getting cast as Asgardians, apparently it’s all good near their (ancient) ‘hood: Bleeding Cool reported yesterday that the Pagan High Priest of Iceland had no problem with the new flick. Yay small victories?

Speaking of Bleeding Cool, it posted the trailer for Zoe Saldana’s upcoming flick, Colombiana, describing it as “the sequel to Leon, The Professional, that we never got.” The description might actually hold up; not only does the trailer allude to Saldana’s character, Catalina, learning how to become an assassin following her parents’ murder, but the film was produced and co-written by Luc Besson, the man behind La Femme Nikita and Leon, so there should be a) plenty of gunplay and b) no compunction about a woman behind most of it. The trailer has some sexual situations, but most of it is heavy on the boom-boom.

Speaking of trailers, the one for the Conan The Barbarian remake looks like a (slightly NSFW – more sexual situations) mess, between the quick-cutting and the nu-metal score. But I still can’t decide what’s weirder: seeing Jason Momoa without his trademark facial hair, or hearing somebody pronounce the name “Conan” the same way you would “Conan O’Brien.” Kind of hurts the mystique.

And shifting from fantasy/sci-fi to historical fiction (of a sort), various outlets have been reporting that Will Smith and Samuel L. Jackson are reportedly being considered for key roles in a new Quentin Tarantino film, Django Unchained. This time around, allegedly, Tarantino wants to tell the story of Django, a freed slave (possibly played by Smith) who teams up with a German bounty hunter to free his wife from a plantation owner. Jackson is allegedly being considered for the role of the owner’s head servant, who would work to stop Django from completing his mission.

And since this is Tarantino, don’t expect the setting – the post-Civil War Southern U.S. – or the subject of slavery to be glossed over, according to Matt Holmes from Obsessed With Film:

“Django Unchained,” because of it’s genre, because of it’s use of racial bluntness (‘n—-r’, ‘pony’, and more appear frequently) and suggested violence, is probably the most noncommercial screenplay Tarantino has wrote since Jackie Brown. There is nothing for Joe Popcorn to cling on to here, this isn’t a movie that young teenangers/adults, unless they are huge fans of Tarantino, will get off their ass to see in their droves. Tarantino is playing for a niche market here – nobody has really made a movie about race like this for years, and when they did it was never for a mass audience. Probably not since Richard Fleischer’s “Mandingo” (1975), perhaps the film that’s the biggest influence on this script.

But what say you, dear readers? Did Thor need more Elba and Asano? Do you trust Will Smith to sing the theme song for another western? Would you go see Zoe Saldana shoot ‘em up?

  • Rachel

    Oh…great. Another movie that portrays Colombia and Colombians as senselessly violent.

    Although, it’s nice to see Afro-Colombians on the big screen..?

    /low expectations

  • Anonymous

    I saw Thor and was surprised to see Asano. Such a big deal was made over Elba yet I never heard anyone mention that there was an Asian actor playing one of the Asgardians. I thought Elba was great though, quite regal if I do say so myself :)

    I was stoked to see Saldana in the lead role for Columbiana! A black female lead who kicks butt and looks good, I can dig it. I’m not surprised about the sexiness though, it seems like any woman in a role like that ends up being oversexed.

    Conan…Jason Momoa…yessssssssssir

    Tarantino got my attention with that one…

    looks like I have some movies to look forward to seeing! I wonder who will play the wife? I’m really hoping that Tarantino casts a darker-skinned black woman as the love interest in this one, more Tika Sumpter, less Halle Berry. I get tired of the same “light-skinned = love interest/desireable one, dark-skinned = maid/nanny/friend”. It would send a message that a darker complexioned black woman is worth risking life and limb to save just like any other damsel in distress. The damsel is frequently white, latino, mixed, etc, I’d be nice to see a change from that old trope!

    • Anonymous

      I love me some Jason Momoa. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s partnered with Lisa Bonet. :) Beautiful couple.  

  • Anonymous

    I saw Thor and was surprised to see Asano. Such a big deal was made over Elba yet I never heard anyone mention that there was an Asian actor playing one of the Asgardians. I thought Elba was great though, quite regal if I do say so myself :)

    I was stoked to see Saldana in the lead role for Columbiana! A black female lead who kicks butt and looks good, I can dig it. I’m not surprised about the sexiness though, it seems like any woman in a role like that ends up being oversexed.

    Conan…Jason Momoa…yessssssssssir

    Tarantino got my attention with that one…

    looks like I have some movies to look forward to seeing! I wonder who will play the wife? I’m really hoping that Tarantino casts a darker-skinned black woman as the love interest in this one, more Tika Sumpter, less Halle Berry. I get tired of the same “light-skinned = love interest/desireable one, dark-skinned = maid/nanny/friend”. It would send a message that a darker complexioned black woman is worth risking life and limb to save just like any other damsel in distress. The damsel is frequently white, latino, mixed, etc, I’d be nice to see a change from that old trope!

  • Lila

    I really enjoyed Thor. Good film.

  • miga

    I’m vaguely familiar with the Django westerns (specifically the “ramen(?)” western Sukiyaki Western Django). Is this a reworking of that same character, only Django is a black man? That’s extra cool, considering the pre-existing cannon.

  • Anonymous

    Zoe Saldana and Jamie Chung were in a movie released earlier this year that even dealt with whites adopting black children. It’s called Burning Palms. It looked funny and crazy. I totally want to see that.

    And I look forward to Zoe’s shoot em up movie. Right after I get me some Citizen Jane. ;)

    And Django could work. I didn’t see Thor. A lot of people say it was lacking in story.

  • Yo

    Thor was boring as fuck which is just unforgivable for a summer blockbuster, here’s hoping Conan is better. And I’d watch Zoe Saldana in anything, so I am definitely not going to be disappointed by Colombiana

  • http://twitter.com/MsGo MsGo

    I am excited for Django. Tarantino is known for casting unexpected actors and those needing a comeback.

    None he’s cast have failed yet. If he’s a fan, that person is getting cast, forget the haters.

    I do think it’s something to mull over that Tarantino did this before a black director with stature could or perhaps even *would*.

    I’m also happy to see mainstream leading black male character out to rescue a black female character, his wife, no less.

    I disagree that this is niche film, off the bat. I think it depends on how it’s marketed and how good the story appears to be to people.

    …And given that’s Tarantino?

    People are put off race movies, because of the cliches that tend to be a part of that genre.

    Nobody would call a western about a man rescuing his wife from the bad guys “niche”.

    So, why is this, when it’s the same thing?

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t seen Thor yet. I love Idris Elba, so I’m sure I’ll see it eventually. I just think I’m not quite into major blockbuster movie mode yet.

    I am really amped, however, about Colombiana. Even though there are some blatantly oversexualized elements I could do without (lolipop sucking really?!), I’m excited to see a woman of color on screen kicking ass. This definitely goes back to the “If Hanna were Asian American” post, which I would still like to see.

    Side Note: I mentioned this on another blog, but when did Michael Vartan become the go to interracial love interest?!

    Conan looks a little “meh”. I agree with you Arturo that hearing Conan pronounced like the comedian definitely hurts the mystique. Strangely I couldn’t get a grasp on Jason Momoa’s performance because the trailer was too quick and distracting.

    Re Djando: I really don’t want to see Will Smith in this. I get that he’s a big box office draw, but his action performances are campy in the wrong ways for a Tarantino flick.