Friday, December 4, 2009

Oh boy, sleep! That's where I'm a Viking!

Thus spake the immortal Ralph Wiggum. He's a Viking in his "head movies," as Simple Jack would say. But what real movies with Vikings are there to entertain us, not make our eyes rain? I've got a bunch on deck and I'm going to watch them all. Did I miss any?

Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America
Made by a crew of 8 people and scored with Black metal like Dimmu Borgir, this minimalist tale of the Vinland saga tells the tale of two Vikings left behind in an ill-fated raid on the New World. Essentially it is shaky scenes of Vikings pooping in the woods and wiping with leaves, killing chickens and salmon, burning huts and watching newts to Dethklok. I'm watching this with Milky right now, which inspired this project.

The 13th Warrior
Based on Michael Crichton's Beowulf-reimagining The Eaters of the Dead, this one may play with history by having a Saracen visit the north, but it's a lot of fun and pretty realistic. The guys who play the Vikings are all Nordic fellows and the "Grendel" they find is plausible, scary and a good fight. Antonio Banderas plays the Arab traveler with good humor, this is a top of the line B movie.

The Vikings
Obvious. Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis! A good old Hollywood epic. I imagine this one's as historically accurate as my dream movie of "The Jeffersons" meeting Thomas Jefferson, but Douglas is always good. Plus Ernest Borgnine as "Ragnar" makes for a must watch.

The Long Ships
There is a legend about a great bell, called "The Mother of Voices," made of pure gold, three times the size of a man, made by monks many years ago... with Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier. Those guys elevate most material, so I'll give it a shot.

Beowulf
I actually liked this all-CG fantasy by Robert Zemeckis quite a bit. It gets silly at times- Beowulf fights Grendel naked in an Austin Powers-inspired mead hall battle, but it's good adventure fare. I think making it all CG was a mistake, but Grendel and the Dragon both looked great. I have it on HD-DVD and I'll rewatch it for this project. There's also a Christopher Lambert movie called Beowulf, set in the future, and I may suffer through it for the hell of it.

Beowulf & Grendel
This tried to tell things from Grendel's perspective, making him one of the last Neanderthals whose father was killed by Vikings. It's not all action, but I enjoyed it quite a bit, and the Icelandic locations are stunning. The effects are good, and I'd love to watch this again.

Pathfinder
On the other hand, I'll never watch this turd again. I really wanted to see Indian braves battle Vikings, but they ruin the premise by making Karl Urban be a Viking child left behind, raised by Indians, and have to fight more Vikings who come later. Vikings who don't know what ice is. WTF? According to Led Zeppelin, they come from the land of the ice and snow. This movie is fatally stupid and best avoided, but I'll eviscerate it again for your pleasure. Original review here.

When the Raven Flies
I came upon this '80s Icelandic revenge flick about a young boy who is spared by Viking invaders and avenges his family 20 years later, and I have to give it a chance. I imagine Icelanders would make a good Viking movie!

Erik the Viking
This was a silly movie by Terry Jones, but he's a noted historian and a funny Python alumn. I haven't seen it in years, and want to watch it again. There's also an Italian '60s production of the same name I think I can get my hands on.

Valhalla
This one is a kid's fantasy where Thor and Loki take two disobedient children to Asgard, and they get a tour of Viking mythology. Should be fun to see.

Embla: The White Viking
Another Scandinavian movie, this one involves the Viking clash with Christianity. But this quote sold me: "By the legacy of almighty Thor, we shall see the enemy in Valhalla!"

Outlander
I loved this recent B-movie of Alien vs. Vikings. It just came out on DVD, and is definitely worth watching again. Full review here.

Grendel Grendel Grendel
An animated film from the '80s, from Grendel's point of view. As voiced by Peter Ustinov. Nostalgia ahoy!

The Last of the Vikings
Oh, cheesy Italian movies from the '60s how I love you. I think this will be a lot like a Hercules movie with different costumes.

The Viking Queen
A Hammer film that seems to be about Druids vs. Romans; a VINO, Viking in name only. I think I have a line on it, and it's loosely based on Boudicca, so I'll give it a shot.

The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent
Two words: Roger Corman. Then again, how can I avoid a movie with such a great title?

The Viking Sagas
Starring Ralf Moeller, this one is almost universally panned, but it's on NetFlix streaming, so why not?

Tarkan vs. the Vikings
I have shamefully ignored cheapo Turkish films and this seems like a good place to start.

So, are there other Viking movies worthy of the name that should be considered? Besides of course, this epic kitten film where they come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow: Viking Kittens

8 comments:

Peter said...

Erik the Viking isn't that great, and it drags a bit at times...but man, it's got the best depiction of the gods you'll find in a movie.

I think I'll watch The 13th Warrior again. Like you said, top of the line B movie.
"Have we anything resembling a plan?"
"Ride till we find them, then kill them all."

Beantown Brews said...

This post contains three of my favorite things (in no particular order) -

Kittens
Vikings
Simpson Quotes

Beantown Brews said...

"Erik the viking isn't that great..."

Blasphemy!

Keith said...

I love the Vikings. I've actually only seen a few of these, such as The Vikings and The 13th Warrior. Just added Outlander to my Netflix queue.

Keith said...

Hey there. How are you today? I hope you've been enjoying the weekend. Take care. Have a great week ahead. Cheers!

Keith said...

Thanks for entering the giveaway on my Sugar & Spice blog. I was going to let you know that if you leave a comment on my Penelope Cruz post I've done that you'll gain a second entry. I thought you might like to know that. Thanks.

Jay Amabile said...

I enjoyed Beowulf as well, but I dug the CGI aspect of it. I think it works wonders for literary fare like Beowulf and A Christmas Carol because those will be the dvds and blu rays shown to classrooms in 100 years. Kids probably won't be reading the actual books. In a way, Zemeckis has infused new life for the video game age into the classic tales.

Tommy Salami said...

It's sad, but you're right. I doubt anyone outside of Honors English Lit reads Beowulf anymore.

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