Here I Set Up A Shame-Pole
April 14, 2012 11:19 AM   Subscribe

The Vikings Of Bjornstad a "a living history and educational group, concentrating on the Viking age " reviews every viking movie ever made for its authenticity in depicting Vikings and Viking Culture. Every. single. one.

Bonus: The Best Of Categories.
posted by The Whelk (33 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Costume authenticity for the Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent? DO NOT WANT.
posted by jonp72 at 11:31 AM on April 14, 2012


It's good to know that someone other than me has seen the oddly hallucinatory Beowulf And Grendel (2005).

I watched that movie late at night after too much alcohol and wasn't quite sure when the real world ended and a bleak, difficult, somewhat interesting but kind of also awful epic viking dream began.
posted by hippybear at 11:33 AM on April 14, 2012


Interesting! For some reason I assumed there might be a good deal more viking movies, particularly old ones.
posted by Iosephus at 11:35 AM on April 14, 2012


Hollywood being Hollywood, they prefer to put young vikings in their movies, not old ones.
posted by hippybear at 11:38 AM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know an eight year old girl who chants the name of Bjarni Herjólfsson for courage who will be interested in these movies.
posted by shothotbot at 11:39 AM on April 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Valhalla Rising was called "barely watchable" though I quite enjoyed it. They didn't expand on any historical inaccuracies present in the film, unfortunately.
posted by ODiV at 11:46 AM on April 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dreaming Ralph Wiggum approves!

I wonder where Sega's "Mister Viking" arcade game rates? My guess is, not very high.
posted by JHarris at 12:05 PM on April 14, 2012


ODiV: "Valhalla Rising was called "barely watchable" though I quite enjoyed it. They didn't expand on any historical inaccuracies present in the film, unfortunately"

The color correction in that movie was barely watchable. The rest, pretty cool.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:09 PM on April 14, 2012


Aww, he doesn't like Erik the Viking? Boo. At least he provided copious screen shots, though.
posted by XMLicious at 12:17 PM on April 14, 2012


Viking Chief: show me the hand that defies me!

Tony Curtis: Um, are youse sure youse wants to go tru wid dis?

Never mind. The Vikings was a very cool movie. I was a budding teenager when I first saw it. Climbing the axes to breach the walls....it doesn't get a lot better than that.

I liked the 13th Warrior: A version of the Grendle legend that blends myth with rational notions about its origin. The movie can't be blamed for the guys who gobble up lines to use as signatures in the spec ops forums: "Lo, I see my brothers..."

However, for anybody wanting a neat rendering of the Grendle legend, see John Gardner's book of the same name.

For outright Thud and Blunder, Troy wins, hands down, Viking or no. Go gettim, Brad.
posted by mule98J at 12:23 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Every so often in the SCA I encounter people who wear a LOT less armor that I do and I feel humbled by their pain tolerance.

I'm having that same sort of gut response when I look at this page.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:32 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I too enjoyed Valhalla Rising, the trailer made it look like a beat'em up but it's pleasantly spaced out. The world definitely needs more films where Mads Mikkelsen plays terrifying silent nut jobs.
posted by Damienmce at 12:34 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Worth watching for the Icelandic horses.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:54 PM on April 14, 2012


I really enjoyed Beowolf and Grendel (2005) - the summary in the link is pretty accurate. Haven't seen a lot of the rest of these, but will definitely have to check out "the vikings", "13th warrior", and "Troy". Thanks for the post!
posted by ianhattwick at 12:59 PM on April 14, 2012


Middle Ages in film has a list of most authentic films (not limited to Vikings) and the book The Reel Middle Ages is pretty good for a complete list (as of 2006).
posted by stbalbach at 1:00 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here's an academic treatment, The Vikings on Film: Essays on Depictions of the Nordic Middle Ages. Analyzed in detail are such films as The Vikings (1958), The Long Ships (1964), Alfred the Great (1969), Erik the Viking (1989) and Outlander (2008), as well as two comic-strip adaptations, the 1954 and 1989 films of Prince Valiant and the animated Asterix and the Vikings (2006). So I guess in the world of Viking filmology, these are the canon.
posted by stbalbach at 1:08 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Needs more Valhalla.
posted by kariebookish at 1:11 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but what about the Capitol One commercials?
posted by Etrigan at 1:19 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is some really enjoyable writing here; thanks for sharing this!

Beowulf arrived at the Danes' homeland in a two-masted stern-castled ship that originally was part of a set, the other two being the Santa Maria and the Pinta.

Best line of the movie: Prince Unferth had just been impaled by Hag and spit a quart of blood roughly six feet. Princess Ingrid cradled him gently and said, "You're going to be okay, my prince." So much for that job at the triage clinic.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 1:28 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


For outright Thud and Blunder, Troy wins, hands down, Viking or no. Go gettim, Brad.

They call out the single combat between Achilles and Hector, but for my money the best combat in the movie (and maybe of all time) is right after they hit the beach, showing Achilles just murdering guys one after the other. It's so fluid and visceral at the same time. Amazing. His speech beforehand is pretty stirring, too. TAKE it; it's YOURS!
posted by adamdschneider at 1:28 PM on April 14, 2012


I liked Valhalla Rising. Most (maybe all) of the others I haven't seen.

Monomaniacal exercises like this are what I love about the internet -- other people fixate, so that I can dabble.
posted by Forktine at 1:30 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


For those who haven't seen it (or want to see it again), here is the scene of which I speak (complete with speech!).
posted by adamdschneider at 1:33 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Related Previously: Ask The Viking Lady
posted by The Whelk at 1:39 PM on April 14, 2012


No mention of this classic scene of viking seafaring?

Also worth avoiding: Erik the Viking (1989) Quelle horreur!
posted by smirkette at 1:48 PM on April 14, 2012


Oliver: So Eric tells me you like Viking films. Viking movies.
Zed: Yeah... I guess.
Oliver: I love that stuff. Those helmets with the fucking horns on!
posted by porpoise at 2:44 PM on April 14, 2012


I'm pleased to see they give props to the Hector/Achilles fight in Troy. (Poor Hector!) More pretty men with swords and sandals beating the crap out of each other in a historically authentic way, please!

But on How to Train Your Dragon, I completely disagree with their REALLY SPOILERY opinion about one particular scene's "unfortunate decision to inject some 'substance' into a mild entertainment." That scene took an already great movie to another level of wonderful.

Besides, the HTTYD Vikings are CLEARLY the historical forebears to the Napoleonic dragon-riders in Temeraire. So they're all completely historically accurate in an alternate universe!
posted by nicebookrack at 2:57 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am AGHAST that they missed the greatest animated Viking musical of all time, Lyle the Kindly Viking. If we cannot rely on sentient Christian vegetables performing Gilbert & Sullivan pastiche for historical accuracy, who else can we trust?
posted by nicebookrack at 3:07 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damienmce, I'm with you! I've been on a weird Mads Mikkelson kick this past year, trying to get my hands on everything he's in. I like him best when he's silent and deadly -- fortunately, he's this way a LOT.
posted by emcat8 at 3:27 PM on April 14, 2012


The actual best Viking movie.

(I'm no historian, but I'd be surprised if it weren't also the most historically accurate).
posted by Flunkie at 4:59 PM on April 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


They made a movie out of The Long Ships by Frans Bengtsson? NO FREAKIN' WAY! I LOVE THAT BOOK!

In addition to being a great series of adventures and well written, it has grace notes throughout. For example: Bengtsson hated Nazis (as one does) and, since he wrote this book during the early days of the Second World War, he threw in a muscular, heroic Spanish Jew as a major character. A certain amount of "suck it, fascists" was hard to miss. The book is seasoned with a dry, morbid, hilarious Swedish wit. Nobody does dry morbid hilarity like the Scandinavians.

...ooookay, I just looked up a synopsis of the movie and some reviews...and I will be skipping it. Ah, well. Not a shock. That said: READ THE BOOK! A GREAT TOME!
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 5:25 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure this counts as a review:
Pathfinder (2007)
Couldn't sit through it. Very dark and the "Vikings" would look right at home on Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.


But I agree with it.
posted by Chekhovian at 6:29 PM on April 14, 2012


I have an undying love for the 13th Warrior. It's got good, solid, Conan-esque sword play. It has, as the site says, memorable characters. It's even got the whole "here's what things might actually have been like, and how legends get born" thing going. And the "Lo there do I see..." thing (prayer?) is pretty awesome. Antonio Banderas is pretty decent in the film, but the rest of the cast is amazing. Good stuff.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:47 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anecdote: On a July day in Guatemala City, 1965, my parents left me, age 11, to take care of my younger brother, age 10 and younger sister, age 6 while they went shopping in the old market. We were parked at the movies. It was a double feature, The Vikings (the whole movie, watchable on YouTube and considered by the site of the original post to be the best movie about the Vikings) and Lord Jim.

The music of The Vikings film haunted me for years. Although profoundly different in feeling, both stories focus on themes of the sea, sailing, honor/shame, triumph/defeat, blond men living wildly and redemption.

It was one of those indelible childhood afternoons that remained vividly in my memory. I came out squinting into the hot Guatemalan sunshine after the movies were over, feeling changed by the intensity of each of those visions of the world. The Lord Jim film made me want to live in Asia, which I ended up doing for some years and The Vikings movie made me realize how significant something simple-seeming as a compass with which to navigate the fog, can be in life.
posted by nickyskye at 3:03 AM on April 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


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