Alan Taylor

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

By the end of the year, we will be ten films deep in Marvel Studios mythology, which is quite a feat by any standard. While not every film can be the billion-dollar blockbuster like The Avengers or Iron Man 3, the smaller ones still make plenty of money worldwide and provide a substantial amount of connective tissue in the overall universe. In November 2013, Thor: The Dark World came out, performing about as well as its predecessor (which is to say good, but not great). The film wraps up a lot of Loki’s storyline from Thor and The Avengers, but more importantly, the mid-credits sequence leads into The Guardians of the Galaxy, due out in August 2014. For the DVD and Blu-ray release, director Alan Taylor sits down with Marvel guru Kevin Feige, villainous heartthrob Tom Hiddleston, and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau to talk about the film and reveal the behind-the-scenes process of not just making a superhero film, but making an installment in a much larger franchise.

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dark crystal room

While watching Thor: The Dark World, my desire was to switch this week’s list of movies to watch to a list of TV series to watch. The whole movie is like Game of Thrones meets Doctor Who, the former an understandable influence since director Alan Taylor has helmed six episodes of that show (the fact that Christopher Eccleston is in the movie has nothing to do with the latter). He’s also won an Emmy for his work directing The Sopranos and a DGA Award for his work on Mad Men. Other series I was reminded of while watching include The Wire, because of Idris Elba, Lost, because of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and The IT Crowd, because of Chris O’Dowd. But most of these are already so well known, and they really don’t have a lot to do with Thor 2 other than talent connections. I also wasn’t interested in checking out 2 Broke Girls just to make a well-rounded yet thin point. So, here’s your usual list of movies I thought to recommend after the Thor sequel. Not surprisingly, there are no appropriate documentaries included this time. You’re welcome. Minor SPOILERS if you haven’t seen Thor: The Dark World. 

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taylor

Thor: The Dark World may be director Alan Taylor‘s first feature film, but this isn’t his first rodeo behind the camera. Far from it, actually. Taylor has directed episodes for some of your favorite television shows: Mad Men, Deadwood, Rome, Bored to Death, and The Sopranos. Taylor brought those series to real highs. For The Sopranos, he helmed the episode where Tony killed his nephew Christopher — one of the most dramatic moments of that series. But it was Taylor’s time on Game of Thrones that landed him Thor: The Dark World. The first Thor often felt like more of a cartoon than a movie, and Marvel wanted to ground those rainbow bridges for the sequel. That doesn’t mean Thor: The Dark World is a gritty, humorless experience, but has a “dirt” to it, which is how Alan Taylor describes the style of the film. Speaking with Taylor from the London junket, he went into the differences between television and film, directing his first feature, and Marvel’s Kevin Feige.

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taylor

From a visual standpoint, Thor: The Dark World is an interesting sequel. It’s a serious departure from the world Kenneth Branagh set up with the first film, which was light and cartoony (in a pleasant way), but all those dutch angles and color-y rainbow bridges sure did make some snicker. For the sequel, there’s a grime to Asgard, and there’s a tangibility that director Alan Taylor was clearly hired to put on screen. The folks behind Terminator 5 are probably hoping he can bring that exact grit to the upcoming reboot. Now, Alan Taylor says his attachment to the semi-reboot remains a “rumor,” but while speaking with him this morning in support of his feature debut, he stated that in such a way that makes it seem far more than just another meritless rumor. When asked if Terminator 5 would keep more in touch with James Cameron’s films than the series overhaul we see in Thor: The Dark World, Taylor described his take on this “rumor”:

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news terminator thumbs up

The Terminator franchise is about as indestructible as an Austrian bodybuilder with a cyborg endoskeleton. No matter how many times you shoot it, run it over, blow it up or put McG in the director’s chair), it’ll pick itself up and continue marching ominously in your direction. At least the new Terminator reboot will likely have an authentic Arnold Schwarzenegger and an authentically non-McG director in Alan Taylor. Taylor, who Variety reports to be in talks for the project, has directed episodes of nearly every great TV series in the last 20 years. Oz, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The West Wing, Deadwood, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones- all have, at some point in their lifespans, courted Taylor to do an episode or two. Now he’s got Thor: The Dark World coming out this fall, and it seems those in charge of the Terminator franchise feel Taylor could do for time-traveling cyborgs what he’s about to do for Norse gods and dark elves.

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Thor and Loki

Another glimpse at the upcoming Thor: The Dark World is here, thanks to a brand new trailer. It’s got all the hammer-smashing, Norse fantasy and hordes of women swooning over Chris Hemsworth (that part might be implied). Marvel clearly knows what audiences want to see in a Thor film: lots and lots of Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston (as the nefarious Loki). This trailer sets its sights on the two of them and rarely (if ever) hesitates to show something about the story or any other non-Thor-or-Loki characters. All we can really gleam from this new footage is this: Thor has a problem. Loki has some knowledge of how to fix that problem. The two team up. After that, it’s all Thor swaggering, Loki sneering, and the two doing a whole bunch of fantasy-themed ass-kicking. Check it out after the jump.

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teaser thor the dark world

I really expected to hate Kenneth Branagh’s Thor. He’s a fine director, and Marvel had shown even by that point that they knew what they were doing, but the idea of a movie based on a Norse god as superhero just sounded terrible. Happily though I was wrong, and the film ended up being an entertaining entry that managed to make both its hero and villain extremely likeable. Now that we’ve entered Marvel’s Phase Two, their post-Avengers plan is ready to roll out with sequels and new content. Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 is first out of the gate this summer, but hot on its heels will be Thor: The Dark World. Branagh has been replaced with TV veteran Alan Taylor. While it may seem like a risk tasking a television guy with crafting an epic, big screen adventure take comfort in the fact that some of the series on his resume are equally ambitious and well respected including Oz, Homicide, The West Wing, Deadwood, The Sopranos, Mad Men and, wait for it… the somewhat apropos Game of Thrones. If that doesn’t do it for you though you can just check out the teaser for Thor: The Dark World below.

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Thor and Iron Man

The first two films to be released in Marvel Studios’ post-Avengers, second wave of interconnected films are Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 and Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World. Through various rumor mills and casting reports we’ve already gleamed a lot about what these two sequels are going to be about, but today Marvel finally released official synopses of the two films, and have effectively removed any lingering doubts. First up is Black’s film, which the studio describes by saying, “Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?” While all that stuff about Iron Man having to go on a quest that tests his mettle is pretty vague, that last line of the synopsis about the man making the suit or the suit making the man clearly supports the rumors that have surfaced (due to various casting reports) that Iron Man 3 would largely be taking its inspiration from Warren Ellis’ […]

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While Monster director Patty Jenkins would have been a fascinating choice to direct the upcoming Thor 2, she dropped out after some creative disagreements with Marvel. C’est la vie. Now, after a brief search, the job falls to Alan Taylor. According to Deadline Marienville, the Game of Thrones director will be telling Chris Hemsworth where to point his hammer. What else is there to be said here? The first film had a classically trained Irish talent better known for his Shakespearean work (and for his ridiculous mustache-beard combination in Wild Wild West). The sequel now has an extensive television resume in the driver’s seat – work that spans from the action drama of Game of Thrones to the sassy whatever of Sex and the City to the dry wit of Bored to Death. If Taylor’s previous work is any indication, the second film might become something of a true adult drama. Of course, his feature film work to date includes the historical comedy (that was actually pretty damned funny) The Emperor’s New Clothes. Otherwise, it’s mostly dramatic work at play here. The film is scheduled for release in November of 2013, so they’ve got some breathing room. Plus, Thor will be seen next in The Avengers next summer, meaning we can’t go a year without seeing that cape. We just can’t get away from it. It’s also funny how much the feel of this article would change if the headline had been “‘Sex and the City’ Director tapped for ‘Thor […]

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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