13th Warrior: an under-rated classic?!

Silentpony_v1legacy

Alleged Feather-Rustler
Jun 5, 2013
6,760
0
0
*Spoilers* Though for a movie approaching 20 years old, it seems moot.

This is about the movie, not the book. The book is great, but the movie, for whatever reason, was horrifically received. Its on Wikipedia's list of the Worst Box Off Bombs of all Time.

And I love it! The idea of Vikings fighting Cro-Magnons/Neanderthals is just amazing! Yes, not everything from the book is carried over, but that's adaptions for you. In the book Ahmed never learns the North language and makes do with hand gestures and plain old guessing. For a movie, that may not have sold well so he learns the language in a montage. Good. Fine, I'll let it pass.
The acting I find to be, if not amazing then certainly passable. I believe them when they speak their lines. And Antonio Bandaras is decent. It's not his best role, and yes its odd for a Latino man to be an Arab, but he sells it well enough.

The costumes look authentic, the weapons authentic, the beliefs both pagan and proto-pagan are great. At least in my opinion it paces itself. I love the scene just after the farm-stead massacre, where the vikings of Buliwfy's company are just watching the treelines, noting only that deer running away; something drove them out!

But what I love most?! The lack of computer graphics! As far as I can tell there are two scenes; the aforementioned treeline scene. Can't imagine they trained deer to run when they needed. The other is a silly scene early on when Antonio is proving his horse is agile and leaps over a wagon. Outside of that...

I guess I just love that I can never tell if its a horror story or an action movie. Yes, there is hacking and slashing and blood and oh my! But for the first hour there is this build up, this sense of 'what the fuck are they up against?! What makes a Viking shake in his boots?!' that the movie really takes advantage of. Because we are essentially in Antonio's perspective, we're at a loss as to what the Wendol are and what they've done. And its a great climax when we realize that not even the Vikings know!

I dunno, I guess I never understood why its so hated. But then again I actually liked Starship Troopers, so there ya' go...
If nothing else, remember. Fear profits man nothing.
 

Albino Boo

New member
Jun 14, 2010
4,667
0
0
Its a deeply silly film thats harmless enough but an unrated classic, nope. Try watching the 1958 film the Vikings, now that has Krik Douglas playing a badass viking and the only ever anglo saxon prince with a Brooklyn accent.
 

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
13,768
0
41
Is that the one where the little Arab (Mediterranean? Can't remember) guy goes off with the Viking warband because some soothsayer lady said it was his destiny or something?

And they defend a village from beastmen type things?

Meh.

I found it very forgettable. As in, I'm struggling to remember it now. Certainly don't remember how it ended.

I do remember one incredibly silly scene where the main guy goes from not knowing a language at all to being a fluent speaker by watching some dudes talk for around a campfire for a few hours.
 

Albino Boo

New member
Jun 14, 2010
4,667
0
0
Zhukov said:
Is that the one where the little Arab (Mediterranean? Can't remember) guy goes off with the Viking warband because some soothsayer lady said it was his destiny or something?

And they defend a village from beastmen type things?

Meh.

I found it very forgettable. As in, I'm struggling to remember it now. Certainly don't remember how it ended.

I do remember one incredibly silly scene where the main guy goes from not knowing a language at all to being a fluent speaker by watching some dudes talk for around a campfire for a few hours.
Yeah thats the one. It always made me think of twinks and bears.
 

BathorysGraveland2

New member
Feb 9, 2013
1,387
0
0
It was a good movie. I always liked it. In particular, the scene where the chief Viking gives the speech before the final battle, which was fucking awesome (also, that dude really looked like Olavi Mikkonen, one of Amon Amarth's guitarists).
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

I never asked for this
Sep 8, 2011
6,651
0
0
Zhukov said:
I do remember one incredibly silly scene where the main guy goes from not knowing a language at all to being a fluent speaker by watching some dudes talk for around a campfire for a few hours.
Oh, that's right! I remember this movie. It was silly but it had pretty cool action scenes. I haven't seen it in years though. I think I'm gonna watch it again one of these days.
 

Thaluikhain

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 4, 2020
15,483
1,160
118
Eh, as I remember, it was hardly a classic, but not bad.

Also, the bit where the Arabian lord takes a viking sword and grinds it into a scimitar. No.
 

beastro

New member
Jan 6, 2012
564
0
0
It's an entertaining movie I have always had a soft spot for, but it's very very flawed especially if you didn't read the book since you'd never realize the people they're up against are relict neanderthals and are left thinking they're just a weird tribe hiding in the mountains as what happened to me (Eaters being on of Critchton's books I've never read, which was odd since when I was really into his work in the 90s)

I did like the feel of it being on the edge of a primordial world of mystery and the unknown that is Scandinavia (and Northern Europe in general) at the time that's rarely explored in film, but even then it didn't dwell on it.

In the end that left me wanting it to explore its world more and not have a typical movie and it's drama forced onto us, instead have an odd one kinda like Jeremiah Johnson where we slowly experience what it's like living as the Norse.

Silentpony said:
I dunno, I guess I never understood why its so hated. But then again I actually liked Starship Troopers, so there ya' go...If nothing else, remember. Fear profits man nothing.
I've never seen any hate for it in my life, usually people who just didn't get it, weren't impressed or liked parts of it but felt it wasn't really made "right".

As SST, I've never know anyone who hates that either as just a movie itself. SST is a silly, loveable movie, it's a terrible adaptation of SST the book.

Silentpony said:
I guess I just love that I can never tell if its a horror story or an action movie. Yes, there is hacking and slashing and blood and oh my! But for the first hour there is this build up, this sense of 'what the fuck are they up against?! What makes a Viking shake in his boots?!' that the movie really takes advantage of. Because we are essentially in Antonio's perspective, we're at a loss as to what the Wendol are and what they've done. And its a great climax when we realize that not even the Vikings know!
But so are the Norse in a way. The novelty of the book is knowing fully with modern knowledge exactly what they're facing and seeing how they receive it and interpret it given their understanding of things at the time, but that is completely lacking in the movie and we're left with an Orc-ish group of people that feel like start movie antagonists.

It just goes to show how uniconic the humanoid form is when used this way. Qhereas if they'd spun the ending of Beowulf involving Fafnir into movie and we see him struggling against a giant dragon-like monster with a big mouth and tiny forearm we don't know anything to tell us that this Medieval man is up against a T-Rex but doesn't realize what it really is while we enjoy both seeing things through our modern eyes and how the people of the time take seeing this thing that would shock any human being regardless of what time period he came from.

A comparable movie would be that old stinky, Teenage Caveman, a movie that makes you think it's pre-historic, only it's ending monologue is chopped off denying you the chance to be told that it actually takes place after a Nuclear War and denying you the ability to go back and think everything in the movie over.

Another would be watching the cut of Momento where every scene is placed in chronological order instead of it playing backwards, it loses all charm and just becomes a standard drama.

But what I love most?! The lack of computer graphics! As far as I can tell there are two scenes; the aforementioned treeline scene. Can't imagine they trained deer to run when they needed. The other is a silly scene early on when Antonio is proving his horse is agile and leaps over a wagon. Outside of that...
This is a strong point and indeed one of pretty much any anyone made before 2000, though it's more pronounced in 80s and 90s movies. What essentially happened was that CGI killed big sets like the ones you see in this movie and it's settlement and elsewhere in movies like the areas in Jurassic Park and the towns and ships in Hook which, however limited they are, are refreshing because we're seeing pieces of imagination fleshed out as solid reality and don't have that metal check of ticking off seeing things that aren't really there and having to make out Suspension of Disbelief work extra harder to enjoy things.

This actually hit me a week ago when watch Ronin and its car chases. Sure they are as spectacular as some made since then, but as you watch them the sheer fact that you know they're real starts making them tense, because even if it is a movie, you know that real people put themselves in danger to make them - somehow, someway real drama was injected into the movie.
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 7, 2020
8,577
2,934
118
Zhukov said:
I do remember one incredibly silly scene where the main guy goes from not knowing a language at all to being a fluent speaker by watching some dudes talk for around a campfire for a few hours.
This is simply a case of "Training Montage" condensed for time. The trip from where they picked him up, to where they were going, was at best, several weeks, if not months of sailing. It wasn't "a few hours". From what a friend of mine told me, who read the book, this was explained in greater detail, to establish it was a really long voyage, thus allowing him sufficient time to learn their language through immersion.

OT: Yeah I recall the movie, I think I own it actually, haven't dug through my DVD's in some time. I loved it, and still do. I thought it was an enjoyable movie that had a fun take on the Grendel/Beowulf story, giving it a "realistic" slant.
 

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
13,768
0
41
Happyninja42 said:
Zhukov said:
I do remember one incredibly silly scene where the main guy goes from not knowing a language at all to being a fluent speaker by watching some dudes talk for around a campfire for a few hours.
This is simply a case of "Training Montage" condensed for time. The trip from where they picked him up, to where they were going, was at best, several weeks, if not months of sailing. It wasn't "a few hours". From what a friend of mine told me, who read the book, this was explained in greater detail, to establish it was a really long voyage, thus allowing him sufficient time to learn their language through immersion.
Except it doesn't show the passage of time.

It's the same guys all sitting around the same campfire. It doesn't show anything else. No shots of them sailing or marching or riding.

And when he speaks the Viking's language the first time they're all, "Holy shit, he can speak our words!" If he had been slowly learning their language over a matter of months then it wouldn't be a shock.

If that was supposed to be a montage covering months then it was a very poorly made one.
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 7, 2020
8,577
2,934
118
Zhukov said:
Happyninja42 said:
Zhukov said:
I do remember one incredibly silly scene where the main guy goes from not knowing a language at all to being a fluent speaker by watching some dudes talk for around a campfire for a few hours.
This is simply a case of "Training Montage" condensed for time. The trip from where they picked him up, to where they were going, was at best, several weeks, if not months of sailing. It wasn't "a few hours". From what a friend of mine told me, who read the book, this was explained in greater detail, to establish it was a really long voyage, thus allowing him sufficient time to learn their language through immersion.
Except it doesn't show the passage of time.

It's the same guys all sitting around the same campfire. It doesn't show anything else. No shots of them sailing or marching or riding.

And when he speaks the Viking's language the first time they're all, "Holy shit, he can speak our words!" If he had been slowly learning their language over a matter of months then it wouldn't be a shock.

If that was supposed to be a montage covering months then it was a very poorly made one.
Actually yes it does show them sailing, and him sitting there listening to them talk. Granted, it's very short, and I will admit that it's probably not edited very well to actually show the passage of time (some day/night transitions would've been perfect), but it is still supposed to represent the overall voyage.
 

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
13,768
0
41
Happyninja42 said:
Zhukov said:
Happyninja42 said:
Zhukov said:
I do remember one incredibly silly scene where the main guy goes from not knowing a language at all to being a fluent speaker by watching some dudes talk for around a campfire for a few hours.
This is simply a case of "Training Montage" condensed for time. The trip from where they picked him up, to where they were going, was at best, several weeks, if not months of sailing. It wasn't "a few hours". From what a friend of mine told me, who read the book, this was explained in greater detail, to establish it was a really long voyage, thus allowing him sufficient time to learn their language through immersion.
Except it doesn't show the passage of time.

It's the same guys all sitting around the same campfire. It doesn't show anything else. No shots of them sailing or marching or riding.

And when he speaks the Viking's language the first time they're all, "Holy shit, he can speak our words!" If he had been slowly learning their language over a matter of months then it wouldn't be a shock.

If that was supposed to be a montage covering months then it was a very poorly made one.
Actually yes it does show them sailing, and him sitting there listening to them talk. Granted, it's very short, and I will admit that it's probably not edited very well to actually show the passage of time (some day/night transitions would've been perfect), but it is still supposed to represent the overall voyage.
Ah, okay then.

I may well be remembering it incorrectly. It's been a good five years since I saw it.
 

beastro

New member
Jan 6, 2012
564
0
0
Zhukov said:
Happyninja42 said:
Zhukov said:
I do remember one incredibly silly scene where the main guy goes from not knowing a language at all to being a fluent speaker by watching some dudes talk for around a campfire for a few hours.
This is simply a case of "Training Montage" condensed for time. The trip from where they picked him up, to where they were going, was at best, several weeks, if not months of sailing. It wasn't "a few hours". From what a friend of mine told me, who read the book, this was explained in greater detail, to establish it was a really long voyage, thus allowing him sufficient time to learn their language through immersion.
Except it doesn't show the passage of time.

It's the same guys all sitting around the same campfire. It doesn't show anything else. No shots of them sailing or marching or riding.

And when he speaks the Viking's language the first time they're all, "Holy shit, he can speak our words!" If he had been slowly learning their language over a matter of months then it wouldn't be a shock.

If that was supposed to be a montage covering months then it was a very poorly made one.
I'm forgiving of it because they did that montage so well I didn't care if he learned it all in one night or not.

If you're going to gloss something like that over, it's best to do it in novel way and that they did.
 

carnex

New member
Jan 9, 2008
828
0
0
It's not a good movie but has some highly entertaining scenes, as well as some that make you go berserk with imaginary sword. Type of movie I like to watch to rest my brain.
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

Alleged Feather-Rustler
Jun 5, 2013
6,760
0
0
Zhukov said:
I do remember one incredibly silly scene where the main guy goes from not knowing a language at all to being a fluent speaker by watching some dudes talk for around a campfire for a few hours.
To be fair, that was a movie adaptation thing. In the book series he doesn't learn their language for a few books I think. Well past the 13 warriors battles. And its just part of the movie. We can't have an action/mystery type movie and not know what any of the leads are saying.
And besides, it was a montage. It may have seem like one night, but one night its raining, then not, then rain again, then whatever. They do put in some effort to make it seem like some time did pass. It worked.
 

kris40k

New member
Feb 12, 2015
350
0
0
Zhukov said:
Is that the one where the little Arab (Mediterranean? Can't remember) guy goes off with the Viking warband because some soothsayer lady said it was his destiny or something?
Actually he was "sent on a mission" by a Sultan who didn't like him getting a little too cozy with his lady.

I really liked the movie, and usually will watch it if I see its on. I did think the casting of Banderas as an Arabian was an odd choice, but he is a decent actor. I did also like the twist on the classic Beowulf tale. Even then, I think "classic" is a bit of a reach.
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 7, 2020
8,577
2,934
118
kris40k said:
Zhukov said:
Is that the one where the little Arab (Mediterranean? Can't remember) guy goes off with the Viking warband because some soothsayer lady said it was his destiny or something?
Actually he was "sent on a mission" by a Sultan who didn't like him getting a little too cozy with his lady.

I really liked the movie, and usually will watch it if I see its on. I did think the casting of Banderas as an Arabian was an odd choice, but he is a decent actor. I did also like the twist on the classic Beowulf tale. Even then, I think "classic" is a bit of a reach.
Yeah, I lucked out and had a friend who had read the book, and he explained a lot of the parts that were condensed, or left out entirely in the movie. It made more sense when I was able to "read between the lines" of what was missing, with his filler information.
 

Gdek

New member
Dec 16, 2011
26
0
0
This movie annoys me in the same way that "The Village" did. It builds up this mysterious dangerous world, and then it pulls away the curtain and everything ends up being mundane and boring. Mysteries are fun when they lead to more mysteries, but when you find out there was never anything mysterious at all, and they built it up for fucking nothing, it feels really disappointing. Like movies where at the end the protagonist wakes up and everything you saw was just a dream, and thus a waste of time.
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 7, 2020
8,577
2,934
118
Gdek said:
This movie annoys me in the same way that "The Village" did. It builds up this mysterious dangerous world, and then it pulls away the curtain and everything ends up being mundane and boring. Mysteries are fun when they lead to more mysteries, but when you find out there was never anything mysterious at all, and they built it up for fucking nothing, it feels really disappointing. Like movies where at the end the protagonist wakes up and everything you saw was just a dream, and thus a waste of time.
Eh, I dunno, I personally like the stories where they try to give a "realistic" origin for stuff that to us in the modern world, are fantasy myths and legends. Because I could see, people who had maybe survived a previous attack by the "dragon", but ran away and never saw it up close, would say "It was a long fire serpent! As big as the mountain!" And they would be correct, because what they actually saw, was a length of fire as big as a mountain. And since everyone else in the village died, they couldn't say that it was simply cavalry. The reality, that was mutated over the centuries was of course something else. I like those. I distinctly remember when I first saw that movie, wondering how they were going to explain the dragon. Since the rest of the movie had made a point to be very realistic in the causes of the stuff going on, I was skeptical if they were suddenly going to dive head first into true fantasy stuff or not. The result they used, was great to me. It fit, and was still a significant threat.
 

Megalodon

New member
May 14, 2010
781
0
0
Eh, don't care what people say I fucking love that film. Admittedly I'm heavily biased towards anything Viking, but I honestly struggle to find fault with the film, other than it could've been longer and developed more of the 13 than Bulveye, his small blond No.2 and Banderas (and I guess made names a tad more obvious so I'm not stuck with 'blond guy' as a descriptor). But otherwise, good banter, good action pieces, rising tension and satisfying finale, it's everything I want from a film of its genre.