There were already plenty of reasons to be excited for the next Thor movie. The first being the repurposing of the Ragnarök story for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The second being the fact that the Hulk and Thor were teaming up. Third was simply the fact that What We Do in the Shadows writer/director Taika Waititi was behind the camera. It’s getting better.
While talking with Collider about his coming film Hunt for the Wild People, Waititi gave some thoughts on the creative process for Thor: Ragnarok. Based on his comments there are now two more reasons to make the third film in the series one of the most anticipated films of 2017.
Waititi is Excited to Work for Marvel Studios
It is one thing for the filmmaker behind a comic property to be passionate about the character. It is quite another for the filmmaker to be excited by the comic company’s creative process. Edgar Wright was passionate about Ant-Man but in the end couldn’t get behind how Marvel put their movies together. In Marvel’s Phase Two the two most successful films (Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy) were overseen by directors who loved both the characters and the experience of working with Marvel. The Marvel way isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, Waititi isn’t just excited to make a Thor movie, he is excited to work for Marvel:
“They are constantly looking for the best story, they’ll tear everything down to rebuild it to make sure they have the best story. That’s why Marvel is good, they keep pushing and pushing and trying to get the best thing possible.”
If the creative process remains as exciting for Waititi as it is now he could join the Anthony & Joe Russo and James Gunn in providing vision for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course the world needs more movies like What We Do in the Shadows (including its hopeful sequel We’re Wolves), so these larger movies shouldn’t get in the way of those smaller (budget wise) ones. But the more passionate visionaries involved in these films the better.
Waititi Understands the Inherent Flaw in Big Budget Films
The best films are often birthed from constraints. For example, Jaws is a classic because Spielberg was forced to be creative in the face of technological difficulties. He could not indulge ever creative whim. The mechanical sharks and second unit production photography were notoriously uncooperative. The film Spielberg envisioned was impossible to make. Working within these constraints Spielberg created a terrifying classic. Big budget films today have no real constraints. If it can be imagined it can be created. Just look at the Star Wars Prequels and The Hobbit films for examples of visionaries indulging their every creative whim. Working without constraints has become the new normal in Hollywood. The result has been movie after movie that is as easy to forget as it is to watch. In this world where anything is possible, how does a filmmaker protect his/her film from becoming more about spectacle than story? Waititi seems to intuitively understand the problem and offers self-restraint as the best solution:
“Because also with that money comes the idea, ‘Let your imagination run wild.’ Which I think is a very dangerous thing. I think it’s dangerous because you can get into pretty wacky territory. There are things that are too crazy… I’m used to working with restrictions and that’s when you come up with the more creative stuff. So I’m really not trying to do everything that comes to mind because that’s when it can be dangerous. For instance, I believe as much as possible, how your camera moves and flies around should be limited to the physics of how you could do it in real life. If you’re tracking with a character that’s running off a thing and diving off, I would leave the camera there and not follow them down, because cameras don’t do that. The audience understands that. I’ll definitely bring that understanding of keeping things a bit more grounded.”
Marvel wants Thor: Ragnarok to have a pivotal role in Phase Three of their cinematic universe. It would appear they finally have all the pieces in place make that happen. Thanks to Taika Waititi, November 3, 2017 can’t come soon enough.