The 13th Warrior
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When watching this action movie, any viewer with half a brain can tell that multiple scenes must have been left on the cutting room floor. Supporting characters disappear without a trace, continuity is fragmented and illogical, the ending is abrupt and unsatisfying. At one point the vikings are traveling by ship, the next they are riding cross country on horseback.
So it's a pleasant surprise that even after such annoying studio interference, "The 13th Warrior" still succeeds on several levels. Based on Michael Crichton's novel "Eaters of the Dead," a whimsical interpretation of the Olde English tale "Beowulf," this film (like the book) changes the dragon into a cannibalistic horde of viscious warriors terrorizing a remote village. A ragtag group of vikings, in the best tradition of "The Magnificient Seven," soon come to the rescue with unwitting Arabic ambassador Ahmed (Antonio Banderas) in tow.
Several great scenes will stay with the viewer, among them Ahmed's touching dalliance with a willowy viking maiden (who disappears by the film's end), Ahmed's humorous camaraderie with his new viking friends, Bulvine's (Beowulf's) fatal stand prior to the final battle, and Omar Sharif's brief cameo at the film's beginning.
Bulvine's viking burial, which should have been one of the ultimate highlights of this film, is shown as if an afterthought during a far too brief montage.Read more ›
What does the movie have? First, it has good character development. Most of the characters that matter (Buliwyf, Ahmed, etc.) are shown in detail and have growth and development. It is very well acted for the kind of movie it is. It is very interesting for it's portrayal of the Germanic heroic culture, and the values that infused it. I think this is where many critics fail to see the shine in the movie. Because they are unable to get themselves out of their modern cultural frame of reference, the actions of the characters sometimes seem unmotivated and the plot seems to suffer. As a student of ancient heroic societies and their literature, I understood right away what was going on with the characters.
For some flaws with the movie, some of the more interesting potential plot lines were alluded to but not followed through with. Banderas' romance, the intrigue with the son of the king, the possibility of the wendol as Neanderthals, as hinted in the book -- all would have made the movie *more* interesting than it already is, and would have, perhaps, given it a plot that had a little more relevance to modern audiences.
When they hear of trouble on one of their lands, the norsemen consult their oracle who tells them that 13 warriors must confront the evil (and of course the 13th chosen man must not come from the north). Thus Fahdalan is coerced into joining their ranks. What follows is a thrilling action/adventure Beowulf style as the group tries to battle against insurmountable odds to defeat the cannabilistic "Eaters of the Dead".
Besides from being well written adventure, it is a wonderful glimpse into norse culture and mythology. John McTiernan shows us a time filled with brave but very human characters where fealty to your lord and land meant everything -- where fighting for the greater good was more important than any one man's life. This is a story of courage and survival that is at times mesmeririzing to watch.
It's main weakness is that it was unanble to fit in all the nuances and relationshop complexities that the book described so well. Many key definative moments and characterizations (most notably the cultures of the norsemen and their relationship with their new arab "little brother") are lost or edited out. This I believe was not so much the fault of the director but of the studio who rushed to get the film released.Read more ›
Antonio Banderas stars as an outcast Arab poet who falls in with a band of Viking adventurers. When word reaches the Vikings that one of their castles is under siege from a legendary foe too terrible to be named, their shaman dictates that Banderas must accompany the Norsemen on their relief mission or it will be doomed to failure. And so, the lucky number 13 in the flesh, Banderas embarks on an incredible adventure in which he must learn to fight or die, and comes face to face with the ultimate taboo: cannibalism.
This movie was not a blockbuster, but it should've been. The script is intelligent , the performances realistic, the sets lavish, and most importantly the action is just incredible. Moreover, the story is noteworthy for its largely credible depiction of Viking life, which may have been barbaric to some but which had its own unique and inimitable charm--which Banderas comes to slowly appreciate for himself, particulary Viking mead and Nordic women. The intense Norse belief in heroism and honor is prominent in this movie, and the Viking leader's last stand is both moving and powerful.
Crighton based his own novel on the ancient tale of Beowulf, and "The 13th Warrior" is a more than admirable retelling of that undying legend. Highly recommended to all action fans.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Why are the Vikings speaking present day Norwegian rather than their own
Prehistoric man living along side of Vikings and waiting to be fought by a band of warriors traveling... Read more
I love the soundtrack in this movie...I could listen to just that all day long.Published 11 days ago by Beverly Hendrix
this movie was filmed in British Columbia and Is a favorite NOT FOR CHILDREN...But a good action adult movie.Published 18 days ago by Ed
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