I saw the Thirteenth Warrior again after a gap of many years. My friend, who had never seen it until yesterday, is now another convert to this outrageously wonderful movie.
Let’s face it, it is a national socialist movie. No, I do not mean National Socialist as in a celebration of hideous Hitlerian totalitarian doctrines. It is the story of Beowulf retold, where Grendel becomes a collective monster, a tribe of cannibals who eat humans, and who think they themselves are bears. The humans, northmen all, are fighting for their lives against an apparently superior force of anti-human evil, the Wendol, the collective of cannibals. It is based on the clever Michael Crichton’s story, Eaters of the Dead.
In writing this little article, I came across the negative review by Roger Ebert. Pay him no attention. Lisa Schwarzbaum called it “the most unexpectedly audacious, exhilarating, and wildly creative adventure thriller I have seen in ages”.
As a friend once said, The Thirteenth Warrior is the same movie as Cross of Iron (1977), or Aliens (1986). A group of warriors who think they are the toughest meanest sons of bitches have to take on an overwhelming force of alien evil, and they discover the limits of their powers.
It is also outrageous fun. Watch it with other males.
Lo do I see my father before me
Lo do I see my mother, my sisters, my brothers before me
Lo do I see them back to the Beginning
Lo do I see them in the Halls of Valhalla
Where the brave may live forever!
It will get you pumped. Pajama boys will need to retreat to a safe space to recover.
As the bard says to the Arab diplomat character about the Wendol, after he has killed a few of them, “Don’t worry little brother, there are more!”. That is to say, aliens left to kill. The struggle is eternal.