Thor: Tales of Asgard Home Video Release
Studio: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Release Date: May 17th, 2011

Program Description:
He’s waged battles in Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2, Next Avengers and Hulk Vs., and now one of the most beloved characters in the Marvel Universe is ready to strike out on his own this May. See the young “God of Thunder” as Marvel Animation and Lionsgate Home Entertainment team up to release Thor: Tales of Asgard! Hitting Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, Digital Download and On Demand on May 17, 2011, the newest Marvel Animated Feature is the perfect companion to the May 6th release of the live-action theatrical film Thor. The title builds on the strength of more than 40 years and 10 million copies of Thor comics, and the timelessness of The Mighty Thor to create a truly epic adventure that both lifelong fans and those new to the story will love. Packed with special features such as audio commentaries with the film creators, a “making-of” featurette plus a bonus TV episode of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Thor: Tales of Asgard will come to Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD for $29.99 and $19.98, respectively.

Synopsis:
Before he ever lifted his mighty hammer, there was the sword. Fantastic journeys beckon from the mysterious nine realms. Places of dark mists and fiery voids. Of winged creatures and giants in the ice. And the most alluring quest of all – the search for the legendary Lost Sword of Surtur. Hungry for adventure, Thor secretly embarks on the journey of a lifetime, joined by his loyal brother Loki, whose budding sorcery equips him with just enough magic to conjure up trouble, along with the Warriors Three – a band of boastful travelers reluctant to set sail on any adventure that might actually be dangerous. But what starts out as a harmless treasure hunt quickly turns deadly, and Thor must now prove himself worthy of the destiny he covets by saving Asgard itself.

Blu-Ray Combo Pack & DVD Special Feature:
-Audio commentary with Supervising Producer Craig Kyle and Screenwriter Greg Johnson
-Audio commentary with Supervising Director Gary Hartle, Animation Director Sam Liu and Character Designer Phil Bourassa
-“Worthy: The Making of Thor: Tales of Asgard” featurette
-The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes "The Mighty Thor" Bonus Episode from the new hit TV series




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Thor: Tales of Asgard Blu-ray Review
by James Harvey

Lionsgate Home Entertainment brings Thor: Tales of Asgard to the home video market with this great Blu-ray Combo Release. Featuring the film in both high and standard definition, Lionsgate has put together a release worthy of the mighty Mjolnir itself!

Starting off with the video and audio for the Blu-ray release, Thor: Tales of Asgard looks really sharp thanks to excellent video quality. The animation is crisp and clear, with lush backgrounds coming out as clear as day. Colors are full and vibrant, and blacks are deep and pure. Whether it's the Sword of Surtur unleashing it's vibrant fiery, or Thor trying to attack an opponent in pitch black, there's nary a flaw to be found. Every inch of the film's widescreen frame looks stunning. Moving on to the audio, Lionsgate provides a hefty 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix, allowing for a full-bodied experience. From the opening credits to the final scene, Thor: Tales of Asgard sounds clear and crisp. The quiet character moments are easily on par with the action-oriented sequences, the film definitely sounds as good as it looks. Lionsgate usually does an excellent job with these Marvel Animated Features titles, and this one is no exception.

Moving on to the extras, fans get a nice helping of commentaries, a featurette, a bonus The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode, and the usual helping of trailers. While the extras aren't as boisterous as the last couple Marvel Animated Features releases, there's nothing to scoff at here.

Up first are two audio commentaries that fans will definitely enjoy. The first features supervising producer Craig Kyle and screenwriter Greg Johnson, both providing great insight and behind-the-scenes factoids. Kyle and Johnson thankfully spend very little time actually narrating the movie, but just exuberantly sharing great stories on the creation of this film. Thor fans will heartily enjoy this. The second commentary includes character designer Phil Bourassa, supervising director/producer Gary Hartle, and director Sam Liu, and is also worth a spin. While not as electric as the Kyle/Johnson track, there's still plenty of interesting notes and facts to be found. The track slightly suffers from the odd dead pause, but the technical details and tales told are genuinely interesting.

Up next is the Worthy: The Making of 'Thor: Tales of Asgard' featurette, a 22-minute look that provides a quick overview of the main feature. The featurette covers the comics which served as inspiration, the animation process, character designs, the music and a few other odds and ends about the film's production. The creative team behind the film gets plenty of face-time, naturally, and they cover all the bases pretty well. I was jazzed to see some time given to Guy Michelmore, acknowledging his incredible work on these animated titles. A solid featurette.

It's also worth noting in that Thor: Tales of Asgard Executive Producer Eric Rollman briefly mentions the Thor animated series during the featurette. The animated series, which was announced in late 2008 for a Fall 2010 debut, has nary been mentioned in recent months, and any questions concerning it have been met with silence.

The Blu-ray disc is finished off the The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "Thor the Mighty," in glorious high-definition, and a trailer gallery. This episode actually serves as a nice follow-up to the main feature, I have to say, and those who enjoy the main feature will undoubtedly enjoy this great little extra, too. And, I gotta add, the show looks just excellent in high-definition! Here's hoping The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes gets a Blu-ray release sooner than later! The trailer gallery includes brief plugs for Hulk Versus, Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow and Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther.

The second disc in this Blu-ray Combo Pack is, naturally, the DVD. The DVD features all the same content as the Blu-ray, just in standard definition. I have to give props to Lionsgate for including both a fully stocked Blu-ray and DVD in this Combo release, as other studios have been taking to the habit of releasing a stuffed Blu-ray, but nearly vacant DVD. Fans are definitely getting the best bang for their buck with this release, and Lionsgate deserves a tip of the hat for it.

Thor: Tales of Asgard is an excellent Blu-ray release from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, there's no question about it. The movie itself looks just great from start to finish, especially in stunning high-definition, and features a great helping of bonus content to compliment. While some of the earlier home video releases for the Marvel Animated Features line were noticeably bare, Lionsgate Home Entertainment really stepped up to the plate over the past few releases, and that continues here. We get commentaries, a solid featurette, and some extra goodies that fans will dig. Whether it's Blu-ray or DVD, you get it all! It's just a great package that other studios should take a hint from when releasing their own comic book-based animated features, especially when it comes to that second disc in the Blu-ray Combo Pack. Thor: Tales of Asgard is definitely worth your time, and the Blu-ray Combo Pack is the best way to experience it.

Please note Thor: Tales of Asgard is released by Maple Pictures Home Entertainment in Canada, and features identical content to the Lionsgate Home Entertainment title.

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