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The 13th Warrior: A great movie to watch, one you probably missed.

Updated on October 13, 2011

Taste is a weird thing, especially when it comes to art. Movies, music, books, plays… you name it, it’s really hard to find anyone who can recommend something we will like. But, I think sometimes it has more to do with the expectations that people build than the actual quality of the movie or book or whatever is being discussed.

So, that said, I’m going to recommend a really good movie that I am pretty sure you haven’t seen. And here’s why: It’s an Antonio Banderas VIKING movie, called The 13th Warrior.

Ok, so for starters, no one with an active mind will ever come up with Antonio Banderas in the same sentence or thought process with Vikings. It’s just… far away.

And you know what, I’m trying to sell you on this movie and I will be the first one to admit that, for the first ten minutes of the movie, I was like, “Dude, Antonio Banderas? Really?” And, truth be told, he didn’t win an Oscar for his performance for a reason. So, it’s fine.

However, you should also know that despite his performance not being “Oscar Caliber” I would like to point out that a lot of Oscar winners have had performances that I didn’t think were Oscar caliber either. Antonio's performance is fine. Not great, but fine. The rest of the movie way more than fills in the rest of it.

The story is why this movie is awesome. It’s just a good, honest, open action adventure about men with swords pitted against a really hard core, and very cool enemy. It’s about a great, great man of the most noble of hearts and earnest of minds doing the best he could with what he had at hand and what the gods gave him (and that's not even Antonio's character, who is doing much the same).

It’s about the recognition by one faith that another faith is worthy and respectable without having to question itself. Imagine, two great faiths living not only in “tolerance” but in mutual benefit.

It’s about good people fighting for a common cause that doesn’t include exploitation of someone else. It’s got amazing heroes, even if they are archetypes. It takes the fantasy and historical Viking genres and really, really makes an incredible movie.

I have watched this movie at least a hundred times, and I’m not exaggerating. I am a student of writing, of storytelling, of characters. I can tell you that in a graduate program at some college, the hoity-toity students could rip this movie apart. But, I can also tell you, those that did are hoity-toity and missing it. Totally, completely missing this awesome story. This is a movie you can just turn on, turn down the lights and enjoy. Just spend two hours with really great, honorable men in a truly classic confrontation between an enemy that is real and understandable.

And the best part is, if you really want to geek up on it… it’s true! Or at least, plausibly true based on current anthropology being dug up involving Neanderthals and who died when and who boned who and… etc.

The original story, Eaters of the Dead was written by Michael Crichton, and was based in significant part on the manuscripts Ibn Fadlan who was, roughly, a Persian aristocrat cast out by his leaders because he was a bit too hot and sexy and… adventurous, and accidentally seduced the wrong woman (hence casting Antonio Banderas) and who travelled from the Middle East to learn about the “North Men” in depth for the first time for his people.

There are documents to support this. How closely this movie follows those documents doesn’t really matter to me. Whether there is a connection to the missing Neanderthals and the adventure this great movie shows or not doesn’t matter. The characters are too good, too noble, too well cast.

I'm not a chick, but if I was... I mean... who wouldn't?
I'm not a chick, but if I was... I mean... who wouldn't?

Frankly, Antonio Banderas is the worst casting decision in the whole movie which you will see. And he is perfectly fine once you get a few minutes in. (Women will drool and never forget the character of the Viking king, Bulywif. Just watch, I promise if you are a chick, you will want this dude by the end of the movie.)

Anyway, that’s my review of The 13th Warrior. If you want a really great movie to watch on a dark night (don’t watch it during the day; it’s filmed very dark), and a movie that gets better every time you see it… get this movie.

I truly, honestly and deeply recommend it and I have 66 hubs and not one of them is a book review or a movie review. That has to mean something.

Another cool viking movie (not AS good, but good)


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