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The Thirteenth Warrior Movie Review

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The Thirteenth Warrior Movie Review

The average viewer might not be aware of The Thirteenth Warrior's many references to Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead and the epic Beowulf. But director John McTiernan and screenwriter William Wisher make good enough directorial choices to satisfy both the literary scholar and the action movie buff. Though certain choices made, especially in casting, compromise literary accuracy for popular appeal, McTiernan puts a commendable effort into including more than just a big name in this Anglo-Saxon epic revision.

The casting for The Thirteenth Warrior seems to be done mainly on a talent basis with the exception of Antonio Banderas, who seems thrown in as a desperate attempt to capture the actor's previous fame in other action films such as The Mask of Zorro. This desperation proves unnecessary as the rest of the films cast give wonderful supporting roles in an attempt to make up for the misplacement of the Spanish gunslinger who tries to portray an Arabic diplomat.

As the Arabic diplomat travels to meet a foreign king, he takes up with a band of Vikings just in time to join them in a battle against cannibalistic invaders terrorizing a Viking village. During the journey he acquires a respect for the rowdy Viking culture and even begins to teach their leader, Buliwyf, to write a passage from the Koran.

As for staying true to the old English Viking tale, McTiernan and Wisher make well balanced choices in the adoption of a narrator to tell the tale, the epic's monster Grendel, and in highlighting some of the more interesting points in Viking culture, such as a burning funeral shown in the beginning of the film.

And remember the epics fearsome monster Grendel? Well in The Thirteenth Warrior, Grendel becomes a tribe of hundreds of cannibalistic men who actually believe they are bears, and are especially fond of taking the heads of their victims for souvenirs.

All in all, McTiernan and Wisher successfully capture both the Viking culture and the gruesome battle tales, while updating the reality factor of the horrifying epic to not only scare viewers with blood and gore, but also with believability.

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