I don’t live in the past—I only visit—and so can you!


Updating and correcting “Medieval Movies: Films of the Viking Era,” to include films released since the last edition. And discovered there were many other films as well…

I’ll be posting comments on some of the ones not covered before for the next month!

Ragnarok (2018)

The description makes it sound as if this was a science-fiction end o the world film. It is instead a film set in the world of Norse fantasy, using the horse we saw in the opening credit of “Deadwood.” Costuming is not accurate for the most part, including tall swashbuckler boots, and they use out of period armor. The scenery is quite attractive and not cluttered with modern cinematic interpretation of stone castles, and the music was and appropriately dirgelike. Very stylish and effective and proves you do not have to have expensive CGI. Incredibly bloody, but what more do you want for the end of the world? At least they have beautiful fur cloaks!

Ragnarok (2013)

aka Gåten Ragnarok

An amusing film about the end of the world, as they all are. The historical segments are dark, which seem to help disguise any inaccuracies. At least it has nice fury cloaks! Nice modern shots in the Oslo Vikingship Museum, and it has some very nice incidental shots of period objects, so actually there is no reason not to make certain items in the medieval sections, Science-fiction fans care about nothing more than the science fiction, which is based on tropes found in the literature before but which is very well done here, but anyone interested in the medieval Norse culture will not care that this is not Star Wars! At least the CGI might be good enough for them. It captures the obsession perfectly! The main character excitedly saying to his son, “Here s where Vikings walked a thousand years ago/; sums it all up so well! Not much to research, but it tells you so much about the process and about your obsession. With a few melodramatic thrills and comments on Nighthawkers along the way! And shows how resourceful and courageous archaeologists are!

Thor (1962)

Long considered lost, though there are rumors of pirated copies. The clip on a Youtube review of the 1990 “Captain America” is actually from the Hulk television show. If anyone discovers a copy, please let me know!

Almighty Thor (2011)

aka El todopoderoso Thor aka Thor – Der Allmächtige

Bad costuming, bad rip-off of a Marvel film, bad CGI…but at least you can see Thor use an uzi!

Ceremony of Innocence, The (1970)

Filmed for an NET television show. Simple costuming. Much seems accurate, though the use of broad-brimmed hats is more from later times, belts are much wider than they actually were, shoes are welted and cloaks, of course, are fur. And there is a dialog about how no man had ever sailed west and returned, when Iceland had been settled more than two centuries before, Greenland had been encountered close to a century before (and offered tusks, furs and more for trade) and Vinland was known well by this time. This was apparently a nod at Washington Irving’s invented ignorance. Most of the scenes are close-up, since the makers’ focus is on the brilliant, biting dialog—and a plot that deals with aspects of British history that are usually ignored—and not on how the film is being recorded. Yet the props are very satisfying, and the few “open” shots are very satisfying. An anonymous reviewer notes, “No other play better reflects the moral ambiguity of war than Ribman’s “Ceremony of Innocence.” The drama of why we fight and why we cannot stop fighting is painfully depicted.” Simple and effective, with no explosive special effects and no brutal violence but brilliant composition and lighting. Probably done fairly inexpensively, which indicates you do not need to heap money on a film project to make it be recommended by the any but the witless among us! Currently at the Library of Congress but unavailable for streaming; I had to find a DVD that had been withdrawn from a library. However you can obtain it, jump to it if you can!

Editorial Note

This has been the last of the new films. For them and much more, I will be downloading the book to Academia very soon and will tell folks where to see it!

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