The most realistic movie on vikings to date!
wulfhirth | http://homestead.com/wulfhirth/index.html | 06/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a historical student on the viking age, I found this movie very close to what I studied. It has very few flaws and I must admit that seing the movie makes you crave for a trip to Iceland as the scenery is beautiful. Of course this is a low budget movie, so the chieftains'army isn't as big as it should but the costumes are quite adequate to the place and period(good research). The saga itself is wonderfully woven dispite the (I must admit...) average (very average...) acting by a couple of actors but some of them I would like to see in another movie as they reached me for their excellent "role-play". I have not seen any anachronism as to the weapons, armor, use of iceland ponies, clothing, buildings, social values and demeanour. A must see for every viking enthousiast, viking age student and re-enactors!!!"
Not enough Viking movies!
ThorBjorn | Minnesota | 10/22/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I do not know why there are not more movies based on great historical events or eras. I speak of films on par with Braveheart, or Rob Roy, for example. There are very few movies based on the Viking age, or having anything to do with Scandinavia for that matter. Unfortunately, most Viking movies seem to be grade "B" affairs, and this is a huge injustice to the complex nature of the Sagas. In the "plot summary" for this site, a stupid reviewer describes it as "a time when conflicts weren't solved with intellect, but with swords". That reviewer obviously has never read a Nordic Saga, and has no understanding of Scandinavian culture. In fact, negotiation and diplomacy were often as highly esteemed as prowess in battle. The differance is, Men of that age were not afraid to stand up to their enemies in combat. In our time, a loud mouth is the only acceptable "weapon".
If literate people were running the production studios in Hollywood, perhaps we would see a lot more films based on the sagas of Scandinavia. The potential for great historical drama is enormous!
This film is loosely based on the Laxardal Saga from Iceland. I found it to be quite enjoyable, and the Icelandic scenery is a major feature. It could have been more than what it is, however, being somewhat of an action-movie, to a degree. It portays the Laxardal Saga characters Kjartan and Gudrun, but does not really portray the story as it is written in the saga."
A little slow, but still good.
Todd A. Johnson | Rapid City, SD USA | 02/22/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It was great to see the sagas come to life on the screen. The Icelandic sagas are so rich, it was about time someone made a movie similar to them. The sagas make 'The Hatfields and McCoys feud' look like child's play. Very realistic props, attitudes and characters. Ralf Moeller was good enough for 'Gladiator' right? I just wish it could have been more exciting like 'The Thirteenth Warrior'."
Old and New, Good and bad.
Christopher R. Travers | Chelan, WA | 08/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was obviously an attempt to create a new "Viking Saga" based on Icelandic saga material. The student of the Sagas will find much that is familiar as some scenes are only slightly modified from Njal's Saga and some characters are clearly modelled on characters from a wide number of sagas. For example Magnus is modelled on Njal, while Gunnar seems to be modelled both on Gunnar in Njal's Saga and Kjartan in the Laxdaela Saga. Kjartan on the other hand seems partly modelled after both Bolli and Kjartan in the Laxdaela Saga. Influence can be seen from those sagas plus (possibly) Grettir's Saga and the Eyrbiggja Saga. The movie generally succeeds at mimicking some of the stylistic elements of the Sagas themselves.
However, the movie seems to fall apart in some other important ways. I found the narration to be at times monotonous, and the good vs evil themes in the movie seemed rather foreign to the genre. The Lawspeaker (a short-term role) was turned into a heredetary Lawgiver role reminiscent of a sacral king, and the fight at the Althing was put in for plot reasons, not because of any case of such a thing happening in the Sagas. These elements significantly detracted from the overall movie. It would be nice to see a much better movie based on the sorts of stories the Sagas excel at-- family histories, tales of the human condition, and the like.
I thought the acting was good and the cinematography well done as well. Worth seeing but not fantastic."