The Northman and the Villains

Note my words, there will be a subset of the human race that will declare The man from the north as the greatest movie ever made. Depending on the day and my mood, I could participate in this absurd claim.

If you liked The iron Throne, but thought the depiction of violence in the TV show was too subtle, The man from the north is your movie. If you’ve been looking forward to a movie every frame of which could serve as the album cover of a 70s progressive rock band, The man from the north is your movie. If, however, the sight of the beheadings makes you nauseous, avoid this film as if it were a patient who takes off his mask to sneeze.

Apparently based on the same Scandinavian story that inspired Shakespeare to write Hamlet, the Northman tells the story of a young prince who seeks revenge on the uncle who murdered his father and married his mother. But it replaces existential terror with ultraviolence and iambic pentameter with lots of grunt.

The biggest influence on this film for director Robert Eggers are the films of Mel Gibson. While after Leni Riefenstahl, Gibson is probably the last director to be admired in good society, The man from the north wears its influence on its sleeve. Blood-splattered green grassy hills reminiscent Brave heart to the horrible torture of The passion of Christ to lines of dialogue spoken in a foreign and ancient language ala apocalypto, it extracts ten hours of Gibson’s work into two lean hours and fifteen minutes of revenge.

Hopefully after The man from the north earning all sorts of successes Eggers can avoid being recorded spouting nonsensical rants, so he can keep splatterfesting.

The villains

The villains is a perfectly fine disposable animated movie that can keep your kids entertained for an hour and a half. This might be the first Quentin Tarantino-influenced kids’ movie, as it features a quintet of evil animals who pretend to be good so they can score one last heist. But The villains be an anime Ocean’s Eleven isn’t what was remarkable about this movie.

Two other things stood out.

The first and most shocking was that they used the word “fart” in this movie. It seems like a game changer if cartoons can now use this word. Children’s movie writers won’t have to work so hard to create gags. They can now randomly use the word “fart” every fifteen minutes and they’re guaranteed to have a cheap laugh.

The second feature of this movie that keeps me awake at night is that during the closing credits they show a scene featuring each cartoon character with the text claiming that the voice actor portrayed the character. So we read in big text “Sam Rockwell as Mr. Wolf” and “Awkwafina as Mrs. Tarantula”.

Now, that doesn’t seem right.

A team of animators works for years to render these characters, and instead, a semi-famous actor who doesn’t even have to memorize his lines or wear makeup or dress up to record a few lines gets the deserves to have brought these characters to life. ?

The bigger question is why studios keep hiring big name or semi-big name actors to voice their cartoons. While I’m not sure anyone goes to see a live action movie because Sam Rockwell is in it, the kids definitely don’t care. And parents will pay for their tickets, let Alec Baldwin do the voice of boss baby or if his less famous brother Stephen Baldwin does.

I don’t know why I’m so eager to help the multinational corporations that own the movie studios, but if they want to save a few $$$, ditch the A-List stars in cartoons. You can hire random people at the unemployment office to do the voices as long as they can say the word “fart” in a fun way.

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