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In the midst of time comes the clanging of steel against steel, a collision of myth, history and fiction.... "Vikingdom". Loosely based on Viking legends and the epic poems they left as record, combined with a creative interpretation "Vikingdom" is a fantasy, action adventure about a forgotten king, Eirick, who was tasked with the impossible odds to defeat Thor, the God of Thunder. Thor is on a mission to gather the key ancient relics - "Mjolnir" - his hammer from Valhalla, "Necklace of Mary Magdalene" from Mitgard and the "Horn" from Helheim. This needs to be accomplished before the Blood Eclipse, which happens once every 800 years, failing which, the pagan Viking Gods will never be able to rule and conquer mankind ever again. Only one man can stop him... Eirick, the undead. Written by
Dr Shireen M Hashim
In one sentence, Vikingdom is about a forgotten Viking king, Eirick, who is summoned by the god Frey to get Odin's horn from Hell so he can use it to defeat Thor who is angry at the people for abandoning their worship of him in favour of Christianity.
The film aspires to be an epic so there are standard procedures to follow. The introduction of the hero, he goes to assemble a team, they go on a quest an epic battle in the end. However, that is where the similarity ends. The plot deviates enough to deliver a couple of fresh twists that nobody would see coming.
The cast did a good job making their characters memorable too. Conan Steven's very angry Thor shows the God of Thunder at his baddest and makes Marvel's Thor look like a harmless whiner. The wizard Alcuin looks a bit like Gandalf with his long hair and staff but is so quirky that he becomes one of the more memorable teammates. Equally good is Craig Fairbass's Sven and even Eirick's father in Hell. Natassia Malthe and Jon Foo show promise as Brynna and Yang respectively.
Unlike most epics, this one has humour sprinkled in, watch for the banter between Sven and Yang and a funny scene when Eirick tries to command a team to follow him to Hell.
Now moving into set designs. If you are very observant, you will notice that Vikingdom may be similar in look to Hollywood epics but there are some freshness to it. This is because Vikingdom is actually not a Hollywood production. Being crafted from an international cast allowed for new ideas for doing things. The vast cave they traverse is an actual cave and not a set, the castle and homes depicted each have their own identity and the costumes are boldly imaginative. The CGI dog guarding Hell is a miss but the many breathtaking CGI landscapes makes up for it.
The biggest disappointment, I have to say, is star of the show Dominic Purcell himself. He was almost plastic throughout the movie. I thought long and hard about why an actor of Purcell's calibre could deliver such an average performance. Purcell's Eirick experienced many emotional ups and downs and the story itself has many tense moments but Purcell's expressionless demeanour diluted the emotional effect evoked from the many twists and turns of the story.
The only reason I could think of for this happening is that Purcell portrayed a character who died and was brought back to life technically an undead. Perhaps he was truly embodying the emotions of an undead, thus the lack of emotions? To enjoy the movie, this is the premise you must believe.
Overall, this seems like an ordinary epic but it became extraordinary because of its micromini budget. It was made with 15 million. If you watch the movie with this understanding, you will appreciate it. And if you think about the many big budget Hollywood blockbusters out there that got away with wooden acting or bad script or uninspired CGI and so on, you would realize that this is truly an achievement. At first glance, one might rubbish the slightly low budget feel but on second look, one would appreciate the work they pulled out of that kind of budget.
For pulling the proverbial rabbit out of the hat, Vikingdom, the cast and crew deserves a big thumbs up.
I look forward to seeing more of these actors on screen, and the crew on their next project.
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