Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window), What Is ‘The Witcher: Blood Origins’ About? So, um …. One of the more interesting cultural moments in The 13th Warrior occurs early in the film. While not the first adaptation of his writing, the obsessive author became a box office darling after the release of Stephen Spielberg’s version of his novel Jurassic Park. One of the Vikings answers in a rather good Latin: Noster rex tabernaculo. Despite some occasional career blunders, he’s helmed both Die Hard (1988) and The Hunt for Red October (1990). No Common Tongue bullpucky here, folks! Melchisidek (in English): He says their king is out there in that tent. ), Herger and Ibn Fadlan: “Come on, little brother.”. We’re thrust into a confusing flashback sequence relating how Ibn Fadlan was once a court poet in Baghdad who fell in love with another man’s wife—which is a cool story for the few seconds of screen time it requires in order to serve as an overly complex reason for Ibn Fadlan to be sent away to serve as an ambassador to the land of the distant Volga Bulgars. The conversation continues in Latin, but the DVD subtitles continue to say: [speaking Greek]. The 13th Warrior, and its source material, sit solidly in the genre of historical fan fiction. The film is based on the novel Eaters Of the Dead. Medieval mic drop. All in all, The 13th Warrior is definitely one of my go-to “medieval” films despite the many historical issues. Your king?”, is incorrect grammar (this is not his native tongue, you see). I love it. The Difference Is Entirely One of Setting: Iain Banks’, Something in the Water, Something in the Air: Kaaron Warren’s “The Diesel Pool”, Never Say You Can’t Survive: Find Your Voice and Make It LOUD, “I am done being reflexively supportive” —, Reading The Wheel of Time: Long Journeys and Painful Emotions in Robert Jordan’s. The Thirteenth Warrior is not meant I believe to be taken as literal or as even accurate. The only man not engaged in uproarious merriment aboard the vessel is a miserable-looking Antonio (“How do you say? Herger (in Norwegian): Det er en Araber fra Baghdad. I think it is a great movie and watch it often. The author himself said this about the film: “I’m quite pleased with the movie (13th Warrior), which I think captures the feeling of the novel very well.”. All in all, I’ve had a lot of fun watching The 13th Warrior again, ten years later. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. However, it was rather entertaining to watch it again, taking a few notes in the process. There’s more! Second, the movie was based on Michael Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead, a novel that was, in turn, based on both the great Old English epic Beowulf and the very real account of Ahmad Ibn Fadlan’s embassy to the Volga Bulgars on behalf of the Caliph of Baghdad in the year 922. Tabernaculo. Scratch that. ( Log Out /  It’s also the 16th century since one of the Viking warriors is wearing a Spanish conquistador helmet called a morion and another has a peascod breastplate. ( Log Out /  There are some points, however, where the film hit the nail on the proverbial head. And then, even before this map of alt-fact Earth is done fading out, Ibn Fadlan’s voiceover informs us that he next met some dangerous Tartars. The 13th Warrior has been abandoned by its studio, forgotten by the public, and beaten to a bloody pulp by its detractors. When we are introduced to Ahmad, we see him as a noble and refined character. Melchisedek tries to speak to Vikings in Greek: he repeats something like ἡγεμόνα ὑμέτερον, βασιλέα ὑμέτερον (hegemona hymeteron, basilea hymeteron), which means “your chief, your king” in the accusative case, which makes little sense without a verb. Rumored to be a loss of $100 million at the box office worldwide, it is not the best film by McTiernan ( Die Hard , The Thomas Crown Affair ) in any sense. No, Antonio Banderas is not Arab. Wait…the Tartars were marauders of the 13th century, not the 10th. The biggest mistakes you never noticed in The 13th Warrior (1999). Today it can be difficult to separate the author, Michael Crichton, from the many films that bare his name. What happens next is based on the actual account of historical Ibn Fadlan. There are a few things about Vikings in The 13th Warrior that deserve to be mentioned. We can literally see his transformation as he sheds his traditional Arabic robes along with his preconceived notions. Through cut scenes we watch as the men around the campfire go from all-Norwegian to mostly-Norwegian-but-a-little-English—McTiernan uses repeat cuts, zooming in on their mouths to show Ibn Fadlan’s focus—to mostly-English to this moment when Ibn Fadlan reveals his new language abilities: Skeld the Superstitious: Blow-hards the both of you. Ibn Fadlan: … was a pure woman … from a noble family. But some folks over the course of a week of immersion really can pick up more than enough to get by. The protagonist in particular undergoes a remarkable journey from a self-important man to one who, the moment before a dire battle, can earnestly make this prayer: Ibn Fadlan: Merciful Father, I have squandered my days with plans of many things. An oracle suggests that thirteen men be sent in response, and that the thirteenth man cannot be a Viking. As the journey goes we are shown a series of spirited conversations between various North Men. On the Modern Problem of Spoilerphobia. It suffers from a sometimes painful case if 90s cinematography. It is great escapism though in a rather dark vein. This is one movie that I really do like. One of the greatest strengths of The 13th Warrior is its insight into the immigrant story. Ibn Fadlan (speaking slowly in English, now passing for the protagonist’s newfound Norwegian): My mother …. The Wendol, whom the Vikings finally have to oppose, seem to be a prehistoric tribe (all this based on Eaters of the Dead by Michael Chrichton). They’re paying attention to the problem of language. Boom. She probably was some smoke-colored camp-girl. The 13th Warrior was released in 1999. And here we get a helpful map overlay for the geographically disinclined. I work for no one, just thought after more than 16 years this film still holds bearing and merit after what the Vikings were able to do as far as navigation, Previous post: Marriage Imperative of the Viking Age, How to Find out If You Have Viking Ancestry, In Rebus. But some folks over the course of a week of immersion really can pick up more than enough to get by.”. We see a reluctant traveler forced to adapt to a completely foreign culture or die. Rumored to be a loss of $100 million at the box office worldwide, it is not the best film by McTiernan (Die Hard, The Thomas Crown Affair) in any sense. Herger (in Latin, after a beat): Noster Rex! It won’t be winning any historical accuracy awards, fir a lot if reasons. There is no getting around it, The 13th Warrior was a phenomenal flop at the box office. To cite but one reason, our sole surviving copy of Beowulf was written at the end of the tenth century, which totally works for Crichton’s re-imagining—but the story it relates takes place some five centuries earlier, which doesn’t work at all. Plus, you know, at least the filmmakers are actually trying here. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Weath the Musician: Lo, they do call to me. The 13th Warrior, 1999 © Buena Vista Pictures. “The short version is, I wrote Eaters of the Dead on a bet that I could make an entertaining story out of Beowulf.”.

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