Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
January 2017

I'd heard some whispers on the wind that this movie was coming out, but for whatever reason, whether it just never played here in Lonestarrora at all or whether it did hit a few of the "arts" film houses for all of a week before going away, I never caught it in the theaters. So all I can say is, "Thank heavens for Netflix!" Because that's where I found it, and now can review it for you. I'd been looking forward to it because it's a Norwegian film based on an incident in the history of Norway, and I wanted to see how well they did it, in addition to wanting to know a little bit more of the background. I'd heard a little of the story a few years back, when attending a conference in Oslo, Norway I was able to listen to Marianne Reusch talk on "Skis as Charges in Scandinavian Coats of Arms" (and isn't that a pretty narrow topic!), and she noted that the incident about which this movie is centered was commemorated in the coat of arms of the municipality of Lillehammer. So, yeah, I was interested in seeing this movie, and was very happy to have finally found it. And so it is that this month, Da'ud Bob reviews for you The Last King.

Starring Jakob Oftebro as Skjervald, Kristofer Hivju as Torstein, Inga Ibsdotter Lilleaas as Ylva, Ane Ulimoen Overli as Inga, Elg Elgesem as Frikk, Pål Sverre Hagen as Gisle, Thorbjorn Harr as Inge, Stig Henrik Hoff as Erlend, Thea Sofie Loch Næss as Kristin, Torkel Dommersnes Soldal as Egil, Benjamin Helstad as the King, and Jonathan Oskar Dahlgren as the infant Håkon Håkonson, the story takes place in the year 1206, when Norway was in the midst of a civil war, and one side, the Birkebeiners, set off on skis bringing the two-year-old (though he appears younger in the film) heir to the Norwegian throne to safety. (Just so you know how it comes out in the end, the young boy later became King Håkon IV Håkonson and ended the last civil war in Norway.) But it's mostly and action movie, so there's lots of riding horses through the snow, pulling sleds through the snow, and cross-country skiing, beaucoup kinds of fu, and a lot of suspense and close calls.

Good points: The ponies. Period skis, which are shaped very differently from modern skis, and use entirely different methods for strapping onto your feet. Period skiing techniques. Much of the armor. The hurdy-gurdy. The cross-country skiing. (The Norwegians love to ski. They even make special skis with wheels so they can practice their skiing through the summer.) The weapons. The Northern Lights. The arms of Norway hanging on the wall of the castle.

Bad points: Some of the armor was later than the early 13th Century, the setting for the movie. Kristin walking a long ways through a cold castle while barefoot.

Zero breasts. One gallon of blood. 42 dead bodies. Sword fu. Axe fu. Crossbow fu. Fire fu. Spear fu. Poison fu. Arrow fu. Horse rolls. Skiers roll. Gratuitous fog. (I would have said "gratuitous snow," but it is winter in Norway, after all!) Academy Award nominations to Jakob Oftebro as Skjervald and Kristofer Hivju as Torstein for some really epic cross-country skiing, including walking - quickly! - up a hill with skis strapped to their feet, and to Kristofer Hivju as Torstein for "If I die, I'm going to kill you." A 52 on the Vomit Meter. 3 stars. Da'ud Bob says, "Oh, yeah, before I forget it, the coat of arms of Lillehammer is a shield with a blue sky above and white snow below, appearing like it would on the side of a mountain, with a skiing Birkebeiner bearing a kite shield and spear and carrying the royal child. The incident happened 800 years ago, and it is still commemorated in the heraldry of the town. If you like movies based on real history, you're gonna want to see this one. Check it out!"

Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!

Now playing in theaters Assassin's Creed. When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar (in al-Andalus, Muslim Spain) and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society. Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Ariane Labed, Jeremy Irons. Chock full o'CGI.


February 17, 2017 The Great Wall. A mystery centered around the construction of the Great Wall of China. "1700 years to build. 5500 miles long. What were they trying to keep out?" Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Tian Jing, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Numan Acar. (Period China, with that many white actors?)


March 24, 2017 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. (Formerly titled: Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur) The young Arthur runs the back passages of Londonium with his crew, not knowing his royal lineage until he grabs Excalibur. Instantly confronted by the sword's influence, Arthur is forced to make up his mind. He joins the rebellion and a shadowy young woman named Guinevere, he must learn to understand the magic weapon, deal with his demons and unite the people to defeat the dictator Vortigern, the man who murdered his parents and stole his crown to become king. Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Katie McGrath, Eric Bana, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey.

No official website yet, just a Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/KingArthurMovie/

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