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Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers DVD Review (1 Viewer)

Citizen87645

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Cameron Yee
If Kenneth Branagh's live action "Thor" didn't do it for you, consider the motion comic adaptation of "Loki," which proposes that the God of Mischief may just be tragically misunderstood.

553144b8_ThorandLokiBloodBrothers.jpeg


Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers
Release Date: Available now
Studio: Shout! Factory
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Digipack
Year: 2011
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1:12:40
MSRP: $14.97







THE FEATURE

SPECIAL FEATURES



Video

Standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic

Various



Audio

Dolby Digital: English 5.1

Dolby Digital: English Stereo and 5.1



Subtitles

None

None






The Feature: 4.5/5
"Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers" - adapted from Marvel's four-issue comic book series "Loki," written by Robert Rodi and illustrated by Esad Ribic - looks behind the veil of the two gods' eternally contentious relationship and dares to ask the question, "does it really have to be this way?" For those who believe in destiny and a "natural order" where good and evil cannot exist without each other, then yes, the God of Thunder and the God of Mischief must be forever at odds. But for those willing to look a little closer, they'll see that even among the gods of Asgard things are not so simple. While Loki has certainly done himself no favors by usurping Odin's throne, imprisoning Thor, and making plans to behead him at dawn, a look at Loki's past also reveals a measure of justification for his all-consuming bitterness and enmity toward his adopted family. For despite being called "son" and "brother," it was rare for Loki to feel truly accepted by a race and culture so clearly not his own. None of that excuses what he has done and threatens to do, but that something made him the way he is - rather than it being who he is - means he also has the ability to change, and even end the cycle of animosity that has defined his and Thor's relationship for millenia. The question is if Thor will be willing to make the change as well.

Written and told in practically Shakespearean terms, one can see how "Loki" probably influenced the recent live action film "Thor," at least in intention if not execution. Though the latter only gave us a glimpse at the tragically misunderstood Loki character, the former puts the Norse god front and center, presenting the kingdom of Asgard - and the circumstances under which he was raised - from his perspective for once. The story doesn't go so far as to turn the tables and make Thor and Odin the bad guys, but it shows there are multiple sides to a story, and no one side is absolutely right.

In motion comic form, "Loki's" story and moral aren't necessarily made any more powerful, but the retroactive animation process and the outstanding voice acting make for an effective treatment, if at times a rather anachronistic one given the nature of Ribic's classic, painted artwork. Though the motion comic adaptation might not sit well with everyone - and probably less so fans of the source material - it's clear the animation is getting better and better, the stiffness or "puppet on a string" quality being a problem of the past. While personally I prefer a more stylized approach that doesn't animate mouths and eyes (as was done for the "Spider-Woman" title), there's no denying "Thor and Loki" is one of Marvel Knights's strongest motion comic projects to date.

"Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers" is made up of four episodes, which line up with the original comic book issues:

  • Episode One (16:34)

  • Episode Two (20:32)

  • Episode Three (17:46)

  • Episode Four (16:23)



Video Quality: 4/5
Artwork in 1.78:1 anamorphic, standard definition presentation is clean and free of any obvious aliasing. Backgrounds and some gradients still show a hint of color banding, but only under closer scrutiny. Overall detail is decent, though Ribic's water color painting also doesn't carry a lot of inherent detail. The muted color palette stays true to the original artwork, but there's a pleasing sense of depth throughout. Black levels and contrast are likewise strong and well rendered.

Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Dialogue in the Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation is clear, detailed and intelligible. Support for the score and sound effects are placed well, establishing a balanced and enveloping sound field. Bass activity is clean and robust, but LFE is pretty much non-existent.

Special Features: 3.5/5
The set of extras provides a solid background on the motion comic project and its comic book source material.

Sons of Asgard: Looking Back at "Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers" (14:33): Writer Robert Rodi and artist Esad Ribic talk about how they got involved with the four-issue "Loki" title and their approach to the material. The pair also share their impressions of the motion comic treatment.

Behind the Scenes: Interviews Mike Halsey, president of animation studio Magnetic Dreams, and directors Matthew Cowart and Joel Gibbs about the animation process and things they tried to improve upon after doing "Iron Man: Extremis."

  • Part 1 (6:43): Using video reference shots with live actors to enhance the animation.

  • Part 2 (7:06): Adapting 2D panels for a 3D animation environment.

  • Part 3 (7:25): A more formal, step-by-step look at the full animation process.



Original Trailer (1:35)

Trailers of other Marvel Knights motion comic productions include:

  • Astonishing X-Men: Gifted (1:37)

  • Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. (1:01)

  • Black Panther (2:18)

  • Iron Man: Extremis (:57)



Recap
The Feature: 4.5/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4/5

Shout! Factory turns in a solid presentation for one of Marvel Knights's strongest motion comic projects to date, though those who have yet to warm to the treatment in general likely won't be persuaded. The special features offer an interesting look behind the scenes of the adaptation and animation processes, making for a strong DVD release across the board.
 

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