Available at Amazon.com
Mickey Rooney….Erik’s Grandfather
Terry Jones….King Arnuf
John Cleese….Halfdan the Black
Gary Cady….Keitel Blacksmith
Charles McKeown….Sven’s Dad
Tim McInnerny….Sven the Berserk
Richard Ridings….Thorfinn Skullsplitter
Freddie Jones….Harald the Missionary
Imogen Stubbs….Princess Aud
MGM along with John Goldstone/Prominent Features presents Erik the Viking. Written and directed by Terry Jones. Running time: 79 minutes. Unrated. Release Date: December 4, 2007.
“The stories tell of an age that would come such as this when Fenrir the wolf would swallow the sun and a great winter would set on the world. It was to be an axe age, a sword age, a storm age where brother would turn against brother and men would fight each other until the world was finally destroyed.”
Originally released in 1989, Erik the Viking told the story of, well, Erik–a Viking who did not share his brothers’ taste for rape and plunder. During a raid Erik meets Helga, a smart, tough, no nonsense village woman. After a clumsy attempt at rape, Erik confesses how crude he thinks the whole business is and his desire to be with a woman he cared for, sparking an interesting conversation about the self-perpetuating cycles of Viking life. Unfortunately, their talk is interrupted by two other Vikings who are more than willing to do what Erik would not. Erik kills them to protect Helga, but in the process accidentally stabs her as well. Haunted by this moment, Erik helms an expedition for Valhalla to wake the gods and end the age of Ragnorok.
Despite the rather heavy themes of rape and murder, Erik the Viking is a fun mix of action, adventure, and comedy. Based loosely on a series of stories Monty Python veteran Terry Jones wrote for his son, Erik marks one of his first non-Python excursions into directing, and while it was not that well received by critics, it holds a fond place in a lot of moviegoers’ hearts.
This version sets out to correct what Jones saw as serious problems with editing, and while I enjoyed the original, I have to say that I liked this version just as much and that it actually flows much better. Edited by Jone’s son, Bill, this version is drastically scaled back from the original 100 to 79 minutes. Key scenes were reshuffled and an emphasis was placed on increasing the pacing. Some fans of the original may be offput by the rather severe changes, so anyone wanting to purchase this DVD should keep that in mind.
The movie was presented in Widescreen 1:85:1 ratio. In addition to the editing changes, the producers also cleaned up the print and it looks very good.
The DVD had two audio tracks, Dolby 5.1 Surround and Dolby Surround. There are no language tracks other than English. For this viewing I listened to the 5.1 Surround. Practically all of the sound came from the center channel and there was little to no directionality to speak of.
Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Terry Jones
Although he is not mentioned, This was pretty much the standard commentary fair, but I did enjoy learning about the conditions the backers made and that Terry Jones thought that Tim Robbins was too tall for the role of Erik.
Terry and Bill Behind the Director’s Son’s Cut Featurette (running time: 10:14)
This was an interesting little featurette detailing the origin of the movie, the reasons why Jones wanted to recut it, and the changes his son, Bill, made.
Original 1989 Making of Featurette (running time: 30:00)
You do not really learn anything from this featurette that was not already mentioned in the commentary track. The most interesting aspect, at least to me, was the attention given to Jones and John Cleese’s relationship both on set and back in their days with Monty Python. To hear them talk, Monty Python was pretty much the two of them, but that may have more to do with how the featurette was edited.
Giant Visions in the Sky from the Gods of Valhalla Photo Gallery
Original Theatrical Trailer
|The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for ERIK THE VIKING
||RATING(OUT OF 10)
||8(NOT AN AVERAGE)|
The Inside Pulse
Although I enjoyed this cut, there are many fans of the original who are disappointed in it. I would recommend renting this before buying it outright.