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Wise, Ryan (Director)
I Am Thor (DVD)
Released: 2016, Dark Sky Films
In the interest of stating my bias up front I have a long sort of (non- history with this documentary. Back in the summer of 2015 I had the very great pleasure of working for the Mighty Thor as he did some promotional appearances (Comic-con, Film fest etc) in Canada to support his documentary film, I AM THOR. Oddly enough, because I was busy working, I never got to actually sit and see the movie in the theater! Fast forward to February 2016 and the Blu-Ray / DVD has been released and I finally got to see it at my leisure.
As a DVD it is pretty stripped down, there is no booklet and virtually no bonus features other than the trailer for the film. The camera crew followed him for a couple of years, I’m sure there could have been some extended interviews or bonus footage added for the home video release.
I AM THOR starts at the beginning with an overview of the career of THOR and there is some cross-over footage that has been seen before on his DVD ANTHOROLOGY but not too much. The story of the early days and the rise of the mighty THOR has been told many times but the film switches gears and covers his retirement from the music business and his eventually return.
It was cool to see some home movie footage of Thor at home, casual, married working in the yard, 1000 miles from show business. However, we know the bright lights of fame are an evil drug and the siren call of show-biz lured him back causing him his marriage and embarking on a long campaign of metal. There were some dark moments when he discusses his depression and suicide attempt, a stroke and failed marriage and some pretty tough times. A good chunk of the film follows him as he tours across the world, some big shows, some not so big but universally loved by the fans where ever he goes. It does show how hard he works running virtually everything himself, partly due to a need to manage his own career spawned by a couple of really bad situations when he was at the height of his fame in the mid-80’s and unscrupulous people came knocking with gun in hand. That double-edged sword and high standards made it hard for many of the people who work with and for him as well and we see some uncensored comments with unhappy former band mates. It was brave to include those in the film.
There is one really poignant moment in the film when Thor talking about his decade ‘comeback’ he says, (roughly paraphrased), "At some point you have to stop calling it a comeback and say I’m here!”, which struck me as very appropriate because Thor has been extremely hard working since his return and has put out at least 13 albums since his ‘comeback’ in the late 90’s. Think about that… that is more albums than pretty much any Canadian Metal band…SINCE his comeback! I would have maybe liked to see a bit more footage of him in the studio making albums, much of the directories focus was on THOR as a touring artist, which is admirable but it largely ignores his massive recording career as well.
The soundtrack is really good, I’m no expert but the cinematography was decent and the whole movie focused more on the second (long) phase of his career. By the end of the film, Thor looks tired as a 40-year career has taken it’s toll, mentally physically and emotionally. However, it does end on a high note with some epic appearances at European Metal fests and a happy marriage. I AM THOR is an epic adventure (literally) about Canada’s first and longest running, most prolific Heavy Metal artist.
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