The acclaimed director of “The Witch” Robert Eggers brings his primal sensibilities to the age of the Vikings in the historical revenge drama now available in 4K disc format. The Northman: Collector’s Edition (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, R, 2.00:1 aspect ratio, 137 minutes, $44.98).
Based on a Norse legend that eventually became the template for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, audiences meet Amleth, a young Viking prince who witnesses the death of his father, King Aurvandil War-Raven (Ethan Hawke), by the sword of his bastard uncle, Fjölnir (Claes). Bang) and the subsequent capture of his mother, Queen Gudrún (Nicole Kidman).
Amleth flees into the forest and vows to kill Fjölnir and save her mother.
As an adult, Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) savagely raids villages with a team of wolf-imitating savages, and then makes a calculated move to be captured as a slave alongside his uncle. Amleth finally finds a spirit in the sorceress Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy) to help her avenge her father’s death.
Revenge has many layers, of course, and Amleth finds many truths from her mother that make her eventual confrontation with her uncle a desperate attempt to preserve a king’s bloodline rather than a simple satisfying act of murder.
Viewers should pay close attention to the additional star power in cats, including Willem Defoe as a crazed court jester and shaman, and pop music diva Björk as a Oracle.
Fans of the History Channel’s canceled series “Vikings” will love “The Northman” best of all, with a heartfelt narrative drenched with blood, lore, and the supernatural to deliver a barbaric version of “Hamlet.”
4K in action: Despite a very organic and controversial visual presentation often obscured by fog, smoke, snow, dust, rain, mist and darkness, the UHD upscaling and high dynamic range settings still make Mr. it succeeds. world.
That means admiring the frayed costume and armor, Amleth’s description of bloody muscles, the elaborate headdresses of the spiritual advisors during the ceremony, and a mind-blowing swordfight in the crater of an active volcano, where the warriors are covered with ash as fiery lava splashes over them. . Blues and grays fill the screen, punctuated by fire and blood.
The best extras: All bonus content is available on 4K disc and begins with an optional commentary from the director, who also co-wrote “The Northman.”
Mr. Eggers brings together the highlights and challenges of the production, paying homage to “Conan the Barbarian” at the beginning of the film, touching upon the difficult shot, and then freely mixing in cultural archeology in a history lesson.
It reiterates its goal of making the most accurate portrayal of Viking culture that moviegoers have ever seen. Examples of this include the birth of the Kings Tree (based on a Viking burial tapestry) visual effects, creating an accurate Viking helmet, and building an Odin headdress based on that used in Germanic spear dances.
Fans of Mr. Eggers’ work will explore almost non-stop, while those who want to understand the obsessive mindset of an excellent filmmaker will appreciate his words.
Then, the 35-minute specials cover the making, casting, ritual of bringing Amleth to manhood, shooting long shots in the frenzied attack, and exploring the game of knattleikr (rugby with a bat).
In its only misconception, I wouldn’t consider it a “Collector’s Edition” release. Viewers do not receive any kind of extended or directorial cuts, special packaging, extra hard copy gifts or bonus discs to warrant the nickname.