Vikingdom : Malaysian Viking film tries to pass off fiction as research

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You wouldn’t think of Vikings in Southeast Asia*, but a new movie made in Malaysia has drawn the ire of Norse scholars and members of the Asatru religion for their action-adventure fantasy ‘Vikingdom‘. The film portrays Thor, the god of thunder and protector of humankind as an evil god and principal villain of the film, and claims that the story was based on Viking legends and the epic poems (ostensibly advertised as ‘a collision of myth and history’!). Spearheading the criticisms to the movie is Dr Karl Seigfried who teaches Norse Mythology at Loyola University in Chicago, the crux of which is that the film is marketed as a well-researched interpretation of Norse myth (it is not), and the portrayal of Thor is an evil god is in fact insulting to many followers of the Asatru faith.


Vikingdom starring Dominic Purcell.

The Norse Mythology Facebook Group run by Dr Seigfried hosts the main criticisms of the film, as well as the news stories as they unfold. The latest of course, is that the film’s director has now called the film a complete fiction, but that hasn’t been reflected in the promotional materials just yet (their IMDB page still describes it as “myth and history”, based on “legends and epic poems”). The same film director has also questioned the fact if Vikings actually existed, which seems to suggest he is, in fact, an idiot.

Now, I like a good movie as much as the next person – heck, I enjoyed the Avengers and Thor is a principal character in that, but those movies don’t claim a basis in research to sell the show. It’s puzzling to me how a bunch of Malaysians (or any other Southeast Asian, for that matter), can presume to write a movie about the religion and culture located on the other side of the world, claim to have conducted research about it, and then get the basic facts so utterly wrong. One reviewer on IMDB even called it religious hate speech.

This all reminds me about that laughable 1421 book from a few years back by drumming up all sorts of hype about the possibility of the Chinese discovering America… and not providing any convincing evidence for it. At least, no one expects a movie to be taken as seriously as a book. The bottom line, maybe give this movie a miss. It didn’t get good reviews anyway.

*Exception: There is the Viking Cave in Krabi, which has nothing to do with actual Vikings.