One of Thor: Ragnarok‘s Wittiest Stunts Was Done With Practical Effects
Even if you haven’t seen Thor: Ragnarok yet, it’s no spoiler to tell you that one of the best cameos in the film is from Doctor Strange (you’ve seen him in the trailers so you knew he was in it). If you haven’t seen the film itself, you can stop reading now, because we’re about to get into the wittiest effect in the film, which came courtesy of the good Doctor.
Still here? Great. When Thor and Loki pop down to New York to find their dear old dad Odin, Loki is quickly disappeared by a familiar looking glowing ring. Yup, Doctor Strange at your service, doing his mystical duty keeping Earth safe from potentially harmful beings, Loki, thanks to his actions in the first Avengers, a prime suspect on that list. Strange leaves Thor his address, which the God of Thunder arrives in no time, and what follows is one of the most delightful scenes in the film. In the midst of a discussion about how Strange has intuited a major shift in Thor’s future, a rather important bit of exposition, the sorcerer shows off his increasing power by repeatedly teleporting himself and Thor around the Sanctum Sanctorum in an endless series of beer-spilling near pratfalls.
As he carries on his conversation with Thor, Strange whisks them from room to room, leaving Thor to arrive in a new location, a little stunned, off balance, and desperately trying to keep the large stein of beer Strange gave him from spilling over. The visuals are sharp, crisp and very funny, with Strange utterly unperturbed by his time-and-space melting abilities while Thor looks to becoming increasingly nauseous.
Thanks to an interview director Taika Waititi did with Empire’s podcast (h/t i09), we now find know that the teleportation scene was pulled off using mostly in-camera effects with jump cuts. While the film utilized CGI in wonderful ways (everything from the Thor v. Hulk gladiator scene to the giant wolf that Hulk is tasked with beating up), Waititi is director who loves a good, practical effect:
“It’s classic old jump-cuts and cutting to Chris [Hemsworth] doing a little wobble as if he’s just arrived and just a little bit of a sound effect. For me, it was great because it’s like ‘Oh, we didn’t need to do some sort of sparkly kind of illusion VFX sort of stuff.’ That stuff is very satisfying as a filmmaker.”
There’s a reason why Ragnarok is the funniest, most clever Marvel film of all time (and that’s a crowded field), and the Strange/Thor teleportation scene is emblematic of the care that went into the entire production. Just remember, if you ever find yourself at 177A Bleecker Street, hold old onto your beer.
Featured image: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) in Thor: Ragnarok. Courtesy Marvel/Walt Disney Studios.