Walking by Cinema Village yesterday, I checked the showtimes and was intrigued by a doc about space travel but there was this other film that only had two showtimes that day 11 am and 11 pm. So, passing over Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow, which has better press and many showings, I determined to come back at 11pm to see Viking Destiny. I was the only person in the theater, which was alright, but disconcerting. Probably better than seeing Venom with one hundred twittering teenagers. This film is probably the best viking movie in recent memory. Like Valhalla Rising (2009) it features panoramic shots and odd long silences, but that may be a part of Scandinavian culture and filmmaking. Oh, but you believe in it. It has a weird philosophy, and doesn’t shy away from moralizing, but let me tell you the story. It presents as a saga, with Odin and Loki visiting mortals and swaying events to their greater goals.
A king father comes home from war to find his girl-child is born, and her mother is already dead from childbirth. His half-brother convinces him to exchange children for his son, as not to appear weak to his enemies, and the king with his thoughts clouded by grief agrees. Years pass, and this stepson is unable to fight, unable to lead his people, and this ‘niece’ is the strongest person in the kingdom, although humble from years of doing her housework. The half-prince, the king’s brother, on Loki’s lead, hires assassins to kill the rest of the royal family so he can take over, and challenges the princess to go into a cave to kill a kraken. She convinces her cousin, the young prince with whom she had switched places, to accompany her into the cave.
Lo, the king wakes from a dream and follows the children in to save his true daughter and heir from a paid assassin. I won’t bore you with details, but she gets seperated, meets travelers in the forest, and re-takes the kingdom.