I didn’t realize how much I missed Jeff Goldblum’s quirky mannerisms until I watched Thor: Ragnarok. He hasn’t been in many high-profile films in the last decade or two. I know he was in the Independence Day sequel, but I didn’t have any interest in seeing it, so I missed his performance. Maybe it was great.
His performance as the Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok was a breath of fresh air to a film that was already a lot of fun. He’s certainly a lot funnier and more memorable than the Collector or the other intergalactic villains from the Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy films.
I’d like to talk a little about how I’ve enjoyed his performances over the years, and why it was so wonderful to see him in Thor: Ragnarok.
Getting Off on the Right Foot
The first time I ever saw Jeff Goldblum was on a 1986 episode of The Ray Bradbury Theater entitled “The Town Where No One Ever Got Off.” It’s a brilliant reversal of classic Twilight Zone episodes in which a man from the city yearns for the quiet life in a rural town. In most cases, the man finds some kind of peace that he’s been seeking, but in this episode, he finds nothing but hostility and a terrible surprise waiting for him. I absolutely love the way he responds to a life-or-death situation. Check out the episode for yourself. It’s worth a watch.
Isn’t he amazing? He comes across as normal while everyone else has a sinister edge to them. He even manages to keep his cool and come up with a brilliant solution to a problem that no one else could have believably figured out in time.
Jeff Finds a Way
Of course, Goldblum’s signature role is that of Ian Malcolm in 1993’s Jurassic Park. Even though he’s rendered an invalid for the second half of Jurassic Park, he still finds a way to steal all of the scenes he’s in. I especially love this one:
He completely sells that scene and turns it into something special. I love it from beginning to end. Oh, and who can forget when he came back three years later to repeat his “Must go faster” line in Independence Day?
After 1997’s disappointing The Lost World and 1998’s okay The Prince of Egypt, I didn’t see or hear much from Goldblum until now. As I said at the start, I was already thoroughly enjoying Thor: Ragnarok, but I was delighted when Thor suddenly came face to face with a jovial Jeff Goldblum. He comes across as menacing, gloating, and self-effacing all at the same time. Some of the moments that really stuck with me include:
- The way he reacts to the Valkyrie touching his face. He acts surprised and smiles as he basks in the wave of feelings he’s experiencing.
- The melty stick is a fun touch that immediately demonstrates he’s not all fun and games. I was actually a little worried about Loki and the Valkyrie when the melty stick showed up in a later scene, but Goldblum deftly defuses that situation.
- I love the line, “Why are you whispering?” It perfectly demonstrates Goldblum’s ability to just insert himself into any scene and promptly steal it right out from under the other actors’ noses.
- It’s hilarious that he doesn’t like using the word “slave,” even though his entire empire is built on slavery.
- And I can’t forget his larger-than-life hologram acting so pleased to see so many people show up for his arena battle and later barking orders to his minions taking to the skies in pursuit of Thor. Plus, his “It’s my birthday” song was absolutely hilarious.
A little Goldblum goes a long way. He was in Thor: Ragnarok for just enough time to add a little seasoning to the delicious stew the film was brewing. When he’s serious, he makes for a great lead actor, like in 1986’s The Fly, but when he’s in full Jeff Goldblum mode, he makes an excellent supporting character.
I’ve missed him, and I’m glad he’s back. I can only hope that he will continue to show up in other Marvel movies in the future.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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