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Excellent reinterpretation of Beowulf,
This review is from: The 13th Warrior (DVD)I found The 13th Warrior to be a highly satisfying experience in retelling the story of "Beowulf."
I have always been fascinated by the fact that Vikings had travelled all the way to Constantinople/Istanbul well before 800 A.D. That the Byzantine Emperor's Varangian guard was composed entirely of Norsemen. That great cultures --- such as the Middle Eastern Muslims and European Christians --- managed to rub elbows and coexist (more or less) harmoniously for centuries. (This is something that Islamists want us to forget.)
In "The 13th Warrior," an Islamic Arabian diplomat joins a band of Viking warriors as they travel to northern Europe to aid a king. The king is plagued by flesh-eaters, and thus the story of the Anglo-Saxon epic, "Beowulf," is retold through the sensibility of the Arab narrator.
Is the armour utterly authentic to this period? Nope! Fifteenth-century plate armour sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. *But*... does this film capture the character of Norse and Anglo-Saxon warriors? Yes, plus it captures the feral qualities of some of the tribes who fought with the Norsemen. (I kept thinking of ancient Celts, who collected severed heads, as I saw the flesh-eaters of this film.)
"The 13th Warrior" is an unusual, thinking-person's epic with more to offer than the typical blood-and-guts sword-fight film.