Saturday, February 07, 2009

Thor, Wolverine and...

Hulk vs. is an exception among recent DVD animated comic book projects in that it really makes no effort to bring the non-fan up to speed. I'm not sure either are complicated enough that they wouldn't make perfectly adequate sense to a non-fan, but I doubt they'd resonate to strongly either. But then to anyone who can go, "Hey, that shot is right out of The Incredble Hulk #181 or Weapon X!", there are some nice moments.

But frankly, I'm not here to review. Both of the short movies are entertaining and worthwhile for fans, probably more than most of the Marvel/Lion's Gate animated projects, which have been spotty in quality overall, although I liked Doctor Strange and probably would have enjoyed Ultimate Avengers 2 if they'd just called it "Black Panther featuring The Ultimates", which certainly would have been, if nothing else, more accurate.

But I have Thor issues. And they are nitpicky, but I can't help them. I grew up with people from the Old Country and these things just get to me.

Now, the fact that Americans, including me, pronounce the name of the Norse thunder god with the English soft "th" sound, doesn't make it make sense that all the inhabitants of Asgard would.

Ok, I can hear you saying that you looked it up somewhere and the soft "th" sound is correct. I can tell you that I've never heard anyone from the Old Country who could pronounce the English soft "th" sound to save their life.

But, who knows? Apparently it was a world of British Norseman, so who knows how they'd talk?

Yes, I understand that it's what people hear when they read the Lee/Kirby/Lieber style dialogue that one associates with the book, all high fallutin' and such, but I can't say it feels entirely right to me, even specifically as an interpretation of the comic Thor.

And while I'm on pronunciation, on the commentary, someone, I think Craig Kyle, makes a comment about the various ways auditioning actors would pronounce the name of Thor's Hammer, with some amusement. In his follow-up comment, the other commentator, I think Christopher Yost, then pronounces it "myol-NEAR", seeming to intend that as correct.

Ok, try this with me. Listen to the rhythm of Nordic languages in your head. It'll work even if the best you can do is hear Jamie Lee Curtis from Trading Places, "Ja, fur sure, from Sveden." Now, in that rhythm, see if it is at all humanly possible to speak a sentence which includes the word "myol-NEAR" in that rhythm.

Not, mind you, that it's entirely clear how one should pronounce it in English. The Wikipedia article Mjöllnir, on the original mythic hammer, gives "MYAWL-ner", and the article Mjolnir, on the comic book version, goes with "MYOL-ner", as does actor Graham McTavish.

Obviously, it's kind of impossible to make a perfect comparison in English, as it should be pronounced with the umlaut, which isn't quite like any English sound. "MYOL-ner" certainly sounds closest to correct to my ear, and is what I say.

And, no, I won't even touch how much Hel was designed to resemble Hell and how wrong that is... Oddly they even comment on the difference in the commentary, but make no note of their own Dante inspired imagery.

But I've gone far enough, because really... I actually really did enjoy it. I dug the obviously Walt Simonson inspired look. I thought it was a nicely told story and it was just cool all around to see Asgard with Balder, Sif, Hela, Enchantress and all of those things... Seriously, serious geeky goodness!

And that's not even starting on the stuff in "Hulk vs. Wolverine", which I already hinted at...


r_sail said...

YES!!! None of my Norwegian family (all of whom live in Norway) can say a soft TH. It's a Tousand Dollars... or whatever other example.

But then, even though I know, I still say Thor with a soft "Th" sound. I suppose it's because I grew up here speaking English. I don't know. But I do. So... yeah. I'm glad someone else is at least aware of this fact though.

Neil Sarver said...


And I have no issue if you or the dude down the street. As I said, I say it myself.

In fact, I'd have no problem with Bruce Banner saying Thor, nor would I if Captain America or Nick Fury did, but it sounds weird to me when Sif and Loki say it that way.

r_sail said...

Oh yeah, it's ridiculous if any of the Gods are saying it.

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