PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Erik the Viking (1989)

Erik the Viking (1989)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 7-Feb-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Scene Selection Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Q & A
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 99:14
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (74:27) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Terry Jones

MRA Entertainment
Starring Tim Robbins
Mickey Rooney
Eartha Kitt
Terry Jones
Imogen Stubbs
John Cleese
Tsutomu Sekine
Antony Sher
Gary Cady
Charles McKeown
Tim McInnerny
John Gordon Sinclair
Richard Ridings
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $14.95 Music Neil Innes

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, including silly credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I am a huge Monty Python fan. I love the original television series (where is the Region 4 release of that?!) and the original Monty Python films. Since the group broke up many years ago all of the members have been active to varying degrees in the movie and/or television business. Four of the original six members have tried their hand at directing, with two making significant careers from it - Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. This film was written & directed by Terry Jones and made in 1988, just before the death of Graham Chapman in 1989 which reduced the number of living Pythons to 5. One other Python makes an appearance in this film, John Cleese. Interestingly, this film has quite a lot in common with one of Terry Gilliam's films, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, as they both fall into a fairly small genre of fantasy action adventure comedies. Despite all the links to Monty Python this is certainly not an attempt by Jones to milk his membership of the famous comedy group - this project stands on its own as an enjoyable and amusing film.

    Erik the Viking is vaguely based on a story which Terry Jones wrote initially for his young son and later published as a children's book. He originally planned to film the stories in that book, which contained some elements that can be seen in the final story, however he ended up writing a new story and tried to make a film which would appeal to adults and children, although I think this is really a film for teens and adults. The story follows the adventures of a young Viking, Erik (Tim Robbins), who is disillusioned with the Viking lifestyle, especially after accidentally killing a young woman in one of the villages which his crew pillage. He is sick of the drinking, raping and pillaging and decides to do something about it. He seeks the advice of a local seer, Freya (Eartha Kitt). She tells him that the world is currently in the Age of Ragnarock, which means that there is no sun and everyone is focused on revenge, killing, rape & pillage. She also tells him that the Age of Ragnarock can be ended by journeying to the land of Hy Brazil (another name for Atlantis) and finding the Horn Resounding. The first time the horn is blown, it will transport him to Asgard (or Valhalla), the home of the gods. The second blow will wake the gods from their slumber, ending the Age of Ragnorock, and the third will return him to his home. He decides that it is his mission to follow the instructions of the seer and gathers a crew to sail off the edge of the known world to seek Hy Brazil. Amongst the crew are Thorfin Skullsplitter, a fearless warrior (Richard Ridings), Sven, a berserker (Tim McInnerney from Black Adder), Sven's father (Charles McKeown), who comes along to make sure Sven controls his berserker tendencies and Keitel Blacksmith (Gary Cady), the village blacksmith, who comes along to try and scuttle the project so as to protect his lucrative business in swords. Also joining the not-so-happy crew are a Christian Missionary, Harald (Freddie Jones), who tries to convert them all and other assorted Vikings. Mickey Rooney appears as Erik's grandfather. Along their journey they meet up with a variety of interesting characters including a ruthless local warlord/businessman, Halfdan the Black (John Cleese), the King of Hy Brazil, Arnulf (Terry Jones), and his beautiful and much more sensible daughter, Aud (Imogen Stubbs).

    This movie is not a straight out comedy, although there are many funny scenes. There is a (fairly) serious fantasy story involved and quite a bit of social commentary including a strong anti-war/violence message. From a comedy perspective there are some excellent touches including the cloak of invisibility sequence, the scene about who will sit where on the boat, the Japanese slave-master who none of them can understand and the sequence where we first meet Halfdan the Black. The special effects are also handled well considering the age of the film. Watch out for now well-known actor Jim Broadbent as a Viking rapist in the opening scene. It is also interesting to note that conceptual designer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Alan Lee, also performed the same role on this film.

    I certainly enjoyed this film and it would definitely be enjoyed by fans of Monty Python or people who enjoyed other light hearted action fantasies such as The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Willow or The Princess Bride.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced (with black bars at the side). I would also guess that this transfer is the same one as has been issued on DVD in France as before and after the film it has some credits in French. The actual film credits, however, are in English. I would guess that this is the correct aspect ratio, but have no specific evidence to confirm that.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. This is definitely the strength of this transfer. I remember seeing this film on television some years ago and it was very dark and unclear whereas this version looks good. The shadow detail was fine without being spectacular. The average bitrate is a healthy 6.77 Mbps.

    The colour was generally good, however it did seem over-exposed in some paces and some work may have been done to lighten up the picture. I also noticed one instance of a colour problem at 36:00 where the whole screen changed to a blue colour like a filter had been placed over it and then back to the correct colour. It was not particularly bad.

    From an artefacts perspective, all three types were present. MPEG artefacts were only minor and consisted of a small strip of pixelization at 7:30. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of just a few spots of aliasing such as on a blanket at 1:01. Film artefacts were a bit more plentiful and included reel change markers (examples at 31:26, 58:42 & 86:59), and a small collection of specks and lines in white. Generally artefacts were not too noticeable.

    There are no subtitles.

    The layer change occurs at 74:27 and caused a slight pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is good but certainly nothing spectacular.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround soundtrack encoded at 320 Kb/s. The film was originally Dolby Stereo, so I would guess that this is pretty close to the original sound. Despite the surround encoding, the sound is very front focused and also a little on the quiet side.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand but some dialogue was a little muffled. There was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Neil Innes is very suitable for the piece. Neil Innes has had a long association with Monty Python, writing much of the music and songs for their television shows and movies.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used to any great effect, despite the surround encoding.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu included stills, and the ability to select scenes. It is presented non-16x9 enhanced.


    This is a making of featurette from the time the movie was made and is broken up into 6 section which can be played individually or all at once. Each section stands on its own and includes an introduction telling the audience about the film. They were probably used as individual promotional pieces at the time of the film's original release. They are all US productions and include American voiceovers. The sections are:

  1. The Evolution of a Director (4:23) - Covers Terry Jones' background and skills as a director and includes interviews with Jones & John Cleese.
  2. The Casting (8:45) - Covers the process of choosing the cast and includes interviews with Tim Robbins, Mickey Rooney, Cleese & Jones.
  3. The Special Effects (3:28) - Covers the work done in the deepwater filming pool in Malta and creating special effects like the Dragon.
  4. Making Movie Magic in Malta (3:03) - Some more about the filming in deep water pools in Malta
  5. Jones & Cleese - A Grand Reunion (4:04) - Covers background in Monty Python and how they like working together again.
  6. Creating the Look (3:38) - Discusses the look of the film with the Production Designer, Art Director, Set Designer and Ship Builder

Questions & Answers

    This section includes interview snippets which answer specific questions about the film, with various cast members and Terry Jones. They were recorded at the time of making the film and would have been part of an electronic press kit at the time. There is some crossover to the featurette. The sections are:

  1. How did this film come about? (1:46) - Terry Jones.
  2. Is it a children's or adult's movie? (0:36) - Terry Jones
  3. Breaking the bounds of comedy? (1:02) - Terry Jones
  4. Why is Freya so critical? (2:07) - Terry Jones
  5. What about the women's roles? (2:29) - Terry Jones.
  6. Will the Pythons work together again? (1:38) - John Cleese
  7. Mini Python Reunions? (0:57) - John Cleese
  8. Is there a market for Viking movies?(0:48) - John Cleese
  9. Working with Terry Jones (1:17) - Danny Schiller
  10. Has this been a good film project? (1:14) - Danny Schiller
  11. What kind of character are you playing? (1:25) - Charles McKeown
  12. What does one do when they go berserk? (0:57) - Charles McKeown

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This movie has not been released on DVD in Region 1. There are a number of different versions in Region 2. The UK Region 2 release is pan & scan with the same extras and soundtrack. The French version has the same video transfer as this one, includes more up to date interviews and DTS & Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks in English as well as the one included here. Despite the fact that the menus are in French, this is probably the best version.


    A funny fantasy action adventure directed and written by Terry Jones, formerly a member of Monty Python.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good but nothing spectacular.

    The disc has a couple of sets of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE