Snapshots - #42: Thor: Ragnarok, Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, LBJ

Thor: Ragnarok (2017), (♦♦♦♦½): Thor has saved earth twice by now and has, for the last two years, wandered the universe searching for infinity stones. He hasn't found any. He has, however, become prisoner of an enemy of Asgard, Surtur, who tells Thor that his visions of Asgard engulfed in flames is a premonition of Ragnarok—the destruction of Asgard, which is already in motion. Thor frees himself and arrives at home to find Loki sitting on the throne, passing as Odin, and neglecting his duties to protect the Nine Realms. With Odin's exile, Asgard's enemies have been reassembling, but Odin's death may just free Hela, a goddess against whom neither Thor nor Loki are enough.
It was in Thor: The Dark World where Loki, an antagonist, first threatened to steal the show. He became the villain that Marvel fandom loves to hate. While Loki is at his most charming in this film, the director, with the help of a sparkling screenplay, has very much exploited the great chemistry of t…

Soul Surfer (♦♦♦)

Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb, Bridge to Terabithia), the daughter of two professional surfers (Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt), was born to surf. Her family even called her a mermaid. Her chances of winning a regional surfing competition were truncated by if-you-blink-you-miss-it shark attack in which she lost her left arm. Devastated by this tragedy, but still willing to compete in the regional, she trained hard, but it wasn’t enough for the massive waves pounded her. Discouraged by this upset, she gave up surfing until a trip to Thailand after the tsunami disaster made her realize how much she still had by being alive and having a family who loved her. Upon her return from Thailand, Bethany received hundreds of letters of people inspired by her strong willingness to overcome obstacles and she was inspired herself to take up surfing again with the support of her family.

This is a remarkable topic frequently seen in movies but that never stops amazing me. Hamilton’s life was saved by a resourceful friend, but her strong faith in God made her whole again. The cinematography is spectacular; particularly noteworthy are the breathtaking shots of the world-famous Hawaiian’s waves inside and out. The acting wasn’t particularly impressive, but the story and the setting more than make up for it.

Surfing never seemed so cool!