I am not a huge Thor follower. I was always turned off a bit by those big, shiny dinner plates on his chest. When I think of Norse mythology, I somehow always think of something grander, something more captivating than, well, a guy with a hammer. I know I'm committing some kind of comic book blasphemy here, but that's just the truth. Here in Thor, however, there's a decent story. There are little nods here and there to Norse myth, but it's best to just keep your mythology knowledge in the back of your head for this. You'll enjoy it much more if you don't try to look at it as that.
I would probably enjoy this a lot less if I'd known the lore of Thor from the comic books. In this movie, Thor seems like a fiercely loyal brother, but also a rather arrogant young man. By the tears and comforting Thor and his brother Loki go through at the end of the movie, you'd think this was the closest knit family of gods you'd ever seen. Odin is also a bit like a wise, battle-hardened Santa, not wanting to get involved in a confrontation if it weren't necessary. I know enough about Thor's later years to know that things change pretty dramatically. Still, I can't help wondering if this is all "canon" for the series. There are a few really dramatic, really cool scenes in this movie. A dark elf snuffs out all the lights in the room and moves in for the kill under the cover of darkness? Very cool.
Thor sports average animation quality. It's a little reminiscent of cartoons that played on Saturday mornings a couple decades ago. Thor and his friends might have a nice pose or two, but when the action starts, you see a lot of shortcuts being used to cut down on the amount of drawing the animators had to do. Still characters are sometimes dragged around the screen for a while before they actually start moving. Though this might be a bit unfair because I tend to notice horses, the horses in this cartoon were just afterthoughts in the stylized character design world of Thor. I mean, these poor ponies had muscles in places that weren't natural, and a frame that seemed to be build on a paper mache model. Yes, that's even taking into account that wings on horses aren't natural. Even with the animation quality, Thor is not completely painful to watch. Overall, there's a sense of direction, of professional quality, and everything does come together cohesively in the end. You can bet that when a character has a dramatic scene, and is facing down his own doom, the lighting is right, the gleams are in the eyes, and it's just done well.
I can't say that there's a huge difference between the Blu-ray and the DVD that are packed into this combo. Cel-drawn animation, for me, doesn't really have much hidden detail to bring out in a higher definition. The colors do seem a bit more vivid, but that's about it. The special features are the same on both discs, so there's no need to worry about playing the "wrong" disc. The making of special feature, along with the audio commentary by the makers of the film really fill out this disc set.
Thor: Tales of Asgard is more like one tale than "tales." Still, it's a good little action-packed story. I don't know if I can recommend this as a serious adult Thor movie, but it's good enough popcorn fare. It might take itself seriously, but it does have its light moments as well. I can safely suggest that fans at least give this a rental, if anything.