Erik The Viking (Blu-ray Review)

Erik-The-VikingFrom one Monty Python veteran’s film to the other, Olive Films is also giving Terry Jones’ Erik The Viking a Blu-ray update.  Terry Jones’ also wrote the children’s book The Saga Of Erik The Viking several years before shooting this movie.  Aside from the titles being very much in common, the book and the movie have really nothing to do with each other and in common.  As you can quickly see in the opening scene, the movie is definitely not for the kiddies that the book was pleasing.  Like Yellowbeard, I guess you could call refer to this as one of the Monty Python “spinoffs”.  Where, one of them either wrote or directed it (In this case both), it carries the same kind of vibe, and then has one or two of them take roles in the movie.  I dunno, but I like to see it that way.

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It is the age of Ragnorok. The daily drudgery of conquest, pillage and rape is getting Erik down, and after accidentally killing a woman he tries to defend, he seeks enlightenment from a cave-dwelling seer. This is the Dark Age, she tells him, which will end in an orgy of fighting and destructiveness. Determined to do something about it, he sets out with a long-ship full of squabbling warriors to awaken the gods with the Horn Resounding so that they may usher in the new era of peace and light… Simple really!

Terry Jones wrote and directed this one, and I must say, you can see his influence on Monty Python and the strength at which his material worked so well with them in this movie.  Right from the opening scene you just all of sudden feel you’re watching a great bit from Flying Circus.  Now, I bet there are some that probably would take offense without even thinking about it for a minute.  The Pythons love getting a rise out of you, but they’re also history enthusiasts and keep a sense of accuracy to their films/bits and present them as bluntly as they can.  This opening sequence proves the best of all of that.

This film actually works as a bit of an adventure and fantasy film in addition to being a silly comedy.  Its problem is that it runs a bit too long and do drag in certain areas of the film.  In the 00’s (Remember, that decade from long ago?), Terry Jones had his son re-edit the film to his son’s liking and released the “Director’s Son’s Cut”.  It brought it down to 75 minutes in length, tightening the story and moving things at a much better pace.  Tis a shame that they couldn’t have included both cuts on this release.  That would have been a really novel things to have for the Blu-ray as that edition might work better.

Tim Robbins is a solid contribution to working with a Python.  Although, funny enough, he was at best the third choice for the role.  Tom Hulce and Nicolas Cage were both offered the part before Robbins was decided upon.  And I’m not sure either could have brought the innocence and naivety that Robbins brings to the part of Erik.  He’s got a really sense of adolescence to him and feels very natural and genuine.  Also not originally cast in their part was John Cleese.  He helped his pal Terry Jones out and took the part when Jack Lemmon had to leave the film for some health concerns.

Erik The Viking is no bonafide classic, but its a decent jaunt with a very Monty Python story and humor.  Seriously, Terry Jones Monty Python’s this thing the heck up.  Its a bit long and can slack at times, but overall there are enough laughs and fun adventure scenes to make this a worthwhile trip to Viking town.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  The film, in its nature, is soft and thus this transfer reflects that.  Detail is pretty solid.  Well lit and daytime scenes fair much better than the nighttime ones and dark interiors.  Weapons, craft of the ships and such all show some solid detail.  Fair warning, the blue screen work in this film is incredibly obvious in this high definition transfer.  I’m fine with it, but I’m sure some people will be taken out of the film and or not care for that.

Depth:  This picture is slightly above being flat.  Movements are smooth.  Clarity on background imagery is decent.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and dark.  Detail is easily lost in poorly lit scenes, dark clothing and hair color.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are solid.  They reach more for a natural look.  There’s at least a good palette on display for the range of dingy clothing and worn castles on display.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent.  Closeups provide some ok detail when it comes to stubble, wrinkles and pores.  Medium and wide shots don’t really give too much.

Noise/Artifacts:  Heavier grain in some areas, dirt and some slight compression issues.

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  This is a solid track that does the trick.  There are some nice distinct sword whirring and clanging.  Effects sound decently rounded and loose in the mix from the audio and score.  Everything has an ok balance.  This isn’t going to knock anybody’s socks off, but the presentation does its job and not much more.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clean and clear.  A little lower in the mix, but solid.

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Trailer (HD, 2:06)

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Erik The Viking is a pretty solid comedy and fantasy adventure.  The film runs a little long and slags in pacing at times, but overall its not too bad.  Olive Films brings upgrades it to the Blu-ray format with an average presentation and no extras aside from the trailer.  While I wish there would be more included for the film because of the price point, who knows if this was going to come to a US Blu-ray without Olive Films.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “Erik The Viking (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Cash

    Well there are 3 cuts of the film, the original 107 minute theatrical cut than the director edited down to around 89 minutes for home video then the directors sons 75 minute cut that you mentioned.
    Which of the first two is this blu?