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?