"I could do with a holiday, I can tell you. All this financial work, you know. The stress really gets to you... ummm... flay him alive, garrote him and then behead him."
Ghost here, thanks for joining me today. I welcome you to another
The type of childhood you have (the things you were taught, the home situation, and the things your parents liked) all have a fairly profound influence on how you life the rest of your life and what you seem to be interested in. Growing up, my parents and I bred Norwegian Elkhounds and performed in dog shows with them. As they were our breed of choice we became interested in their background which lead us to the vikings and Norse Mythology. There is a reason that Thor is my father's favorite Marvel character. Also at a very young age I used to sit in the living room with my parents and watch British Television that would come on PBS Saturday Nights and on BBC America. I found myself loving shows such as Keeping Up Appearances, Faulty Towers, Absolutely Fabulous, Are You Being Served, Poirot, and Monty Python's Flying Circus.
I say that because when I saw that there was a movie about a Viking going to awaken the Norse gods which was written and directed by Terry Jones (of Monty Python fame) and also stars Jones and John Cleese (also of Monty Python fame) I was guaranteed to enjoy it in some part. But the question is... will anyone else enjoy it? This is one where critics and movie-goers are split straight down the middle. It's a 50/50 approval rating. Why is that? Well let's take a look at this film and see if it seems like something that might interest you.
Erik runs to the mountains to visit an old Seer woman living in a cave by the name of Freya. Freya explains that they are in the Age of Ragnarok, an age where men fight and die by the axe and sword; an age where the sun would not shine until the gods were awakening in Asgard to end this horrible fighting age. The only way to awaken the gods is to find the Horn Resounding which is located on the mythical island of Hy-Brasil and blow it three times. Erik decides to go on the quest to awaken the gods and perhaps find Helga their among the slain in Valhalla and bring her back to the land of the living. Assembling the best warriors of his village, and the local missionary, Erik and the crew begin building a ship for their journey.
Erik and the crew then leave the shores of Norway but run into Halfdan the Black's ship. Fleeing into the mist, Erik passes through the Gates of the World and comes face to face with the great Dragon of the North. Coincidentally the missionary cannot see the dragon as he doesn't believe it exists. After fighting off the Dragon who sneezes them into the horizon, they find themselves on the Island of Hy-Brasil. Here they meet Princess Aud who pleads with them to put down their swords. Her father, King Arnulf explains that the island has a blessing upon it but if any sword were to shed blood upon the land, the whole island would sink below the depths.
On the water, Princess Aud blows the first note on Horn Resounding and the ship is flung to the edge of the world. Fearing for his life, Loki turns to Erik with a knife but Keitel tosses Loki overboard to his death. The ship is then flung off the edge of the world and lands in Asgard, land of the gods. Erik blows the second note and Valhalla's lights begin to come on. The vikings walk to the doors of Valhalla, but the missionary just passes through the stone walls because, again, he does not believe the Norse mythology. Erik and the gang enter Valhalla and find not only Helga but all their slain crew-mates. Erik begins asking Odin to end the Age of Ragnarok as Princess Aud sends the missionary back to the ship. Odin agrees to end Ragnarok but sends Erik and his crew to the pit of hell for stepping foot where only those slain in battle can stand. Those fallen friends of Erik try to help him but get sucked into the pit as well.
A Few HighlightsRather than go into detail about everything that was good and bad with the film, I thought I'd just talk about three points which really stood out to me.
I probably said it best in the interesting facts section. If you go into this movie expecting it to be a Monty Python movie you're going to have a bad time. The comedy moments are spread sometimes a fair distance apart. That's not to say the comedy is poor. The times that they are actively seeking to make a joke generally hit the mark and are on-par with Python weirdness. Only the singing joke seems to miss the beat a little bit. If you like Norse Mythology, vikings, or a good fantasy story you may enjoy this. I certainly do! Find it for yourself and see what lies within!
Erik the Viking is rated PG-13 and is available on DVD from 20th Century Fox.
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