Film Corner: Vikingdom

Ok, tonight's Amazon Prime movie is called Vikingdom. That's...I'm pretty sure that's not a word but it is now. Here's a picture of Crisp when I asked him to define Vikingdom.

"Based on Viking mythology, Eirick battles from hell and beyond to retrieve the missing artifact, Odin's Horn, before Thor and his army can unleash its powers to conquer the world." I... What... No? Where do you START with that? Hell? Thor? Odin's....Horn? But you know what, it's FINE. Movies mangle myths all the time, I'm down with it, let's do this. HERE WE GOOOO.

Dammit, none of the captions are showing for anything. Lemme reboot all the things.

Ok, here we go!! Somewhere on a battlefield, King Eirick dies whilst exhorting his younger brother to do a good job kinging now that he's king. It's very generic; he doesn't say what he thinks constitutes good kinging, which is a shame because that's such a good opportunity to give character development.

We're informed that during a Blood Eclipse it's possible to open a doorway been "heaven, earth, and hell: which the Vikings called Valhalla, Mittgard, and Helheim." I'm spelling things as the subtitles are spelled, for the record.

"The Viking gods used holy relics as keys to unlock the gates to reign over man." All this is explained over shots of Generic Stonehenge. Over time, men "forgot" the viking gods and embraced the new Christian god. Thor is angry about this, and also has BRIGHT red hair and eyes, like that really bright red that they put next to the purple and blue on the hair color aisle. It works. I'm ok with it! I'm just reporting.

Thor resolved to take on human form, find the keys, and re-establish the Viking gods. Well, that sounds awesome and I hope we're not supposed to oppose that! Norse boats converge on a Christian monastery which apparently holds one of these relics. These motivated fuckers are scaling a massive cliff with their bare hands in full armor and shields. Thor's hammer hilt is bright red, too; I adore his commitment to this gaudy color scheme.

There are....triquetras on his hammer. There are Celtic knots on Thor's hammer.

Ok!! I googled and the movie production company is in Malaysia, which delights me because this must be what it's like when American studios constantly fuck up other people's myths? ...I'm being informed that the MCU did the same thing to Thor's hammer, which is less delightful. I honestly never noticed because I'm an unobservant nit. Anyway, I'm genuinely delighted because I love watching movies based on other people's myths but I frequently have no idea how accurate those movies are and I worry about that a lot, so it's lovely to watch one that's profoundly inaccurate about something I do know about.

All the Viking shields have a pretty flower on them and I really do hope they're the good guys and not the Christians. THEY'RE USING SHIELD JUMPS TO LEAP OVER THE MONASTERY DEFENSIVE WALL, I LOVE THEM. Thor explodes into an abbey and demands a necklace these Christians stole. He does kill an unarmed elderly priest guy, so I guess he's the villain. I mean, the priest was being sassy, but still. Honestly, just general? Not a good idea to sass a god.

So we've had two unrelated scenes: King Eirick dying and Thor in the Monastery. Now we go to a third scene: guy in a snowy woods, hunting (badly). After finishing his hunting, he finds the Prettiest Man in his house and it's the god Frey! We don't get very much Frey in fiction, nice to have him here. He's very golden and extra, and Frey would've liked that very much I feel.

Nailed it!

I do like how the guy is all "STATE YOUR BUSINESS" and only recognizes Frey when he turns to face him. Because the glowing golden cloak PLUS the aura of warm spring around the cabin wasn't enough to ping as "god" until the face confirmed it.

Oh, apparently this dude and his extremely modest cabin ARE High Thane Eirick before he died. Frey is here to warn Eirick that Thor has come to Mittgard and is going to release the Jotunn Giants and that would be bad. Oh my bad, this is AFTER his death. Flashback time!! He died on the battlefield but Freya brought him back because of "the ultimate love: that between a man and a goddess."

Freya is adverse to wearing clothes; she's basically dressed as Frey in the preceding scene, but with LESS. "She brought you back because she could not bear a world without you." But. But. But. Ok. Anyway, Eirick now has a groovy status as undead which means he has travel rights to Helheim. Or, rather, to RETURN from Helheim. Frey tells him that even gods can't leave Helheim if they set foot there. It's fetch quest time!!

The "Henge of Stones" is mentioned. I guess they can't call it Stonehenge because that's our name for it.

...They're just calling it "Hell" now, we're apparently done calling it Helheim.

ANYWAY, Odin's Horn is in Hell and if Eirick blows it at the Henge of Stones, then Thor's human body will disintegrate and he'll be a spirit once more. And that will stop him I guess. King Eirick goes and picks up a buddy to help and who will definitely not die later, and they find a merchant they can catch a ride with, though things complicate when the merchant reveals he's been keeping John Foo as a captive slave.

[TW: Racist Tropes] Heads up that the Norsemen ask John Foo why he has "yellow skin" so uh trigger warning for that.

When the merchant later tries to murder Eirick for forcing him to let John go, John helps Eirick kick serious ass. He also has really amazingly good red pants now, so I have a new person to cheer for now that Thor is bad. John still doesn't have a character name yet, but I like that he straight up says they're "even" now. Eirick has to actually hire his services if he wants further help. He has a name! Yang Fu Sun. He tells them to call him Yang and basically returns their insults as good as they give. I love him.

The Norse women are wearing everything from fur mini-skirts to Grecian peplos-y dresses to what you'd expect the Queen in Beowulf to wear, I love it. Someone in the costume department was living their best life.

Eirick has upgraded his clothes but tragically has not switched from a somber monotone to anything with actual inflection. He asks for volunteers to come on his incredibly vague and misleadingly described journey. HIS OWN FRIEND TELLS HIM HIS SPEECH WAS SHIT, hahaha omg this is amazing. The two biggest men in the world join, plus a chatty elderly guy, a hunter, and the cutest boytoy in the room who is honestly very Goals for my own personal style.

...and a local serial killer joins. Apparently? Eirick is pretty chill about it, but the two big guys mutter something about him being a "killer of women and children".

Speaking of women, are we really not going to have a single lady join? Not even as a love interest? AH, THERE SHE IS. Eirick tells her to fuck off and she does. I mean, he does it politely I guess. "This is not a quest for women" but like, you're alive because of a woman, dude, shut it.

Incidentally, my paladin rolled a 21 for intimidation last night and said "You can tell us and then go safely to jail, or I can skewer you on the spot and save a lot of hassle" and someone at the table whispered "damn, she's good" and I felt so happy. I don't really know why I mention that here except that I'm a little sad no burly Norsewoman stalked up to explain she was coming and if they didn't like it, she could send them to Hel faster than a boat would.

The girl is back and wearing a leather sports bra that doesn't cover her tummy. I hope it's not chilly in Hel and/or The Vikingdom. Eirick tells the woman to bugger off and she politely explains that she owns his boat and is captain of this vessel and he'll follow orders like a good little boy. ....I like her.

I unironcally love how very very wrong this set in which Thor is pacing. Does anyone know what that flower is supposed to be? It's on all the shields, too, but I don't recognize it and "Viking rose" and "Viking flower" didn't yield anything promising as search results. Several people, myself included, think the rose looks like a stylized Tudor rose and I really hope it is because that would DELIGHT me.

@julainestone. It’s the reverse of a Tudor Rose. Swaps the Red and White of the Lancaster & York Roses.

Fucking amazing. I could not be happier. Thank you.

Thor's lackey explains that the troops have searched Espana, sailed the sea of Ingles, and thoroughly checked the village of Paris. No sign of Odin's Horn. I guess only Frey knows it's in Helheim? Brynne the Fair gives her resume to Eirick (she's sailed EVERYWHERE, all her life) and Eirick who hasn't even been on a boat in over a decade still argues with her. Points for realism. Eirick can.....smell the stench of a traitor on their little boat. I'm going to assume that the Serial Killer is too obvious a choice.

It's SNOWING and she's still in her leather bralette thing, but several of the men are also topless so...ok? I spend a lot of time thinking about how the movies of the future will mishmash things of our era, so honestly this movie is a DELIGHT to me. I really hope there is a scene where the Vikings apply woad before battle, and then maybe some musketeer swords. Please.

[TW] They keep asking Yang if he's an elf. He looks tired of the question. I hope Brynne and he escape to a better group of people.

I...I don't know how to summarize this. Eirick and his people are looking for a kidnapped wizard. A lot of...armed...people swarm the group while yelling "ai-ye-ye-ye" like they just watched a Xena marathon. I am not 100% sure it's NOT just this sound clip from YouTube.

YouTube informs me that Xena's battle cry was supposed to be an imitation of an owl (holy to Athena) and that there's a Greek personification for that cry, which I did not know.
Anyway, Eirick is in Gotland so I guess these are Swedish Xena fans, I don't know. I'm so sorry.

Brynne is stabbing people in the face with arrows and YOU HAVE A SWORD, WOMAN. Why has that become a Badass thing?? What is badass about wasting your damn arrows by not drawing your vastly more useful for melee combat MELEE WEAPON.

Yang is doing amazing and I'd die for him. Boytoy doesn't seem to be in this battle, which may mean he dies later in a scene that was intended to be before this one but got reshuffled in edits. Wait, no, there's Boytoy. (He doesn't have a name, I don't have anything else to call him except Personal Goals.) Brynne just slow-motion jump-dived over a thrown hatchet, as one does. Henrik! His name is Henrik. He received a name upon dying, poor dear. The Hunter is also down. Or was that the Old Guy? I'm sorta face blind and they haven't been characterized much.

I just need everyone to appreciate the leather bra.

The subtitles are calling the goddess Freyja now, which I do appreciate.

We're gonna have a fucking SAILING MONTAGE AWW YEAH. Thor shows up to Gotland too late, finding that Eirick already saved the Wizard/Druid* who knows the way to Helheim. (*Yes, they're using these terms interchangeably.) Thor is amazing. He says "where is the druid" in exactly the way I imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger would roll those syllables.

Eirick has to swim to Helheim. Brynne, as the woman, is the one deputized to rub tallow all over his pectorals. I was hoping they were going to drip candles all over him, but apparently it's a rub-on form of tallow.


Helheim is a cave of glowing green crystals and who the fuck am I to say otherwise? I'm nobody and this is now canon. Helheim also has bitey zombies. Some of them can only shuffle, some of them can use swords, one of them is biting the shit outta Eirick's pectoral. The king of zombies saves him and is also Eirich's dad. He was "too afraid to live" and thus ended up in Helheim ("a place of torment") rather than go to heaven to be "at Odin's right hand".

Man, even when we're fighting Christians, they still turn Odin into the Christian god.

[TW: Rape] Eirick's dad reveals that Eirick isn't his son; that a god came to Eirick's mother in the guise of the king. It's getting very Grecian in these myths. I hate hate hate that trope. It's such a shitty male fantasy? "You're the son of a god, but don't worry: you don't have to revisit your assumptions about your mother!! She wasn't a person with agency and lusts and failures; she was just secret-raped!!" I hated that the Clash of the Titans remake didn't call that out. Like, Broseph hates his dad Zeus but never adds "and also you raped MY MOM" to the list of reasons he hates him? Fuck out of here.

There is a "gate of souls" which is a stadium seating arrangement of naked gold-painted girls moaning sexily. Eirick is having to swim through naked girls, as one does. This is amazing. Back on the boat: Apparently the Serial Killer isn't a serial killer after all, and the "women and children" he killed were those of his Geat enemies and the Vikings all agree that that's fine.

Garm, the wolf of Helheim, is here depicted as a...T-Rex dinosaur. This is amazing. THIS IS AMAZING.
Sven, Childhood Friend, is pointing out that the "god-son" plotline doesn't make sense and shouldn't be spoken of again. the subtitles are calling her "Frejya" and I just. No.

The norsemen are using "claret" as a metaphor for blood, THIS IS AMAZING. I so badly want them to reference champagne next.

Apparently Eirick's brother has turned away from Good Kinging and made them all mercenaries. He works for "Arthur of the Ingles" and the Byzantine Emperor. Eirick has gotten himself captured, so Brynna and Yang have to save him from the torture chambers. There's a Norseman named Yorik.

I don't really understand why mist creation would be in the purview of an EARTH druid who does EARTH things, but maybe it's a clever temperature thing.

Some time later, Brynna offers to go to bed with Eirick. He refuses, saying he loves another, and Freyja shows up to tell him that the cost of resurrection is she's not allowed to be with him anymore so he needs to stop living in the past and go to bonetown with Brynna. Bonetown is duly visited. I'm mildly annoyed; I wanted her and Yang to hook up.

Thor is only now explaining his plan to his council, who are alarmed and move to oppose him ineffectually. "Only those with the blood of the gods can wield the weapons of the gods" ooooh that's why Eirick has a godly daddy.

Eirick has gotten better at speech making and I chuckled at the funny bit. War happens! Yang basically takes the entire army on the left, while everyone else takes the army on the right. They got this. Brynna is now using a whip, a weapon I've not seen her use before, and which I think you get a proficiency in just by wearing leather bralettes.

Oh no! Thor has captured the horn, the one thing that can stop him! He could destroy it, or hide it, or send it to America, or-- oh, he just set it on a table and walked away. THOR is his dad? Not Odin? Huh. I was betting Odin. He's also calling Eirick's mom a slutty slut who knew exactly who she was doing so....ok, trope averted?


Brynna stabbed him in the shoulder, that's my girl. ...Aw, I was afraid of that. The life expectancy of women decreases sharply after they've visited bonetown.

Well, that was a twist ending I didn't expect.

That was amazing. Awful, yes, but amazing.


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