The 13th Warrior
|The 13th Warrior|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John McTiernan|
|Produced by||Michael Crichton
Andrew G. Vajna
|Screenplay by||John McTiernan
William Wisher, Jr.
|Based on||Eaters of the Dead
by Michael Crichton
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Cinematography||Peter Menzies Jr.|
|Editing by||John Wright|
|Distributed by||Touchstone Pictures|
|Running time||103 minutes|
The 13th Warrior is a 1999 American historical fiction action film starring Antonio Banderas as Ahmad ibn Fadlan and Vladimir Kulich as Buliwyf; it is based on the novel Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton. It was directed by John McTiernan and an uncredited Crichton.
The 13th Warrior was a financial failure. Production and marketing costs totalled $160 million, but it only grossed $61,698,899 at the box office worldwide.
Ahmed ibn Fadlan is a court poet to the Caliph of Baghdad—until his amorous encounter with the wife of an influential noble gets him exiled as an "ambassador" to northern barbarians. Traveling with Melchisidek, his caravan is saved from Mongol-Tatar raiders by the appearance of Norsemen. Taking refuge at their settlement on the Volga river, communications are established through Melchisidek and Herger, a Norseman who speaks Vulgar Latin. Ahmed and Melchisidek are in time to witness the fight, which establishes Buliwyf as heir apparent, followed by the Viking funeral of their dead king, cremated together with a young woman who agreed to 'accompany' him to Valhalla.
A youth enters the camp requesting Buliwyf's aid: his father's kingdom in the far north is under attack from an ancient evil so frightening that even the bravest warriors dare not name it. The "angel of death," an oracle, determines the mission will be successful if thirteen warriors go to face this danger—but the thirteenth must not be a Norseman. Ahmed is recruited against his will.
Ahmed learns Norse during their journey by listening intently to their conversations. He is looked down upon by the huge Norsemen, who mock his physical weakness and his small Arabian horse, but he earns a measure of respect by his fast learning of their language, his horsemanship, ingenuity, and ability to write.
Reaching King Hrothgar's kingdom, they confirm that their foe is indeed the ancient 'Wendol', fiends who come with the mist to kill and eat human flesh. In a string of clashes, Buliwyf's band establishes that the Wendol are humanoid cannibals who appear as, live like, and identify with bears. While the group searches through a raided cabin they find a venus figurine.
Their numbers dwindling and their position all but indefensible, an ancient wisewoman of the village tells them to track the Wendol to their lair and destroy their leaders, the "Mother of the Wendol" and the war leader who wears "the horns of power". Buliwyf and the remaining warriors infiltrate the Wendol cave-complex and kill the Mother, but Buliwyf is poisoned by her.
As the last, remaining warriors return to the village and prepare for a final battle they do not expect to survive the Wendol attack. Buliwyf succeeds in killing the Wendol war leader, causing their defeat, before succumbing to the poison. Ahmad ibn Fadlan witnesses Buliwyf's royal funeral before returning to his homeland, grateful to the Norsemen for helping him to "become a man, and a useful servant of God".
- Antonio Banderas as Ahmed ibn Fadlan
- Diane Venora as Queen Weilew
- Vladimir Kulich as Buliwyf
- Dennis Storhøi as Herger
- Omar Sharif as Melchisidek
- Clive Russell as Helfdane
- Richard Bremmer as Skeld
- Tony Curran as Weath
- Eric Avari as Caravan leader
- Sven Wollter as King Hrothgar
- Asbjorn Riis as Halga
Originally titled Eaters of the Dead, production began in the summer of 1997, but the film went through several re-edits after test audiences did not react well to the initial cut. Crichton took over as director himself due to the poor test audience reception, causing the release date to be pushed back over a year. The film was re-cut, a new ending added, along with a new score. The title was changed to The 13th Warrior.
Budget and box office 
The budget, which was originally around $85 million, reportedly soared to $100 million before principal photography wrapped. With all of the re-shoots and promotional expenses, the total cost of the film was rumored to be $160 million, which given its lackluster box office take (earning only US $61,698,899 worldwide), made for a loss of $126.1 million, considering that studios keep about 55% of the total gross.
Roger Ebert gave the film one and a half stars out of four, remarking that it "lumber[s] from one expensive set-piece to the next without taking the time to tell a story that might make us care." Conversely, James Berardinelli gave The 13th Warrior three stars out of four, calling it "a solid offering" that "delivers an exhilarating 100 minutes."
- "After my small role in The 13th Warrior, I said to myself, 'Let us stop this nonsense, these meal tickets that we do because it pays well.' I thought, 'Unless I find a stupendous film that I love and that makes me want to leave home to do, I will stop.' Bad pictures are very humiliating, I was really sick. It is terrifying to have to do the dialogue from bad scripts, to face a director who does not know what he is doing, in a film so bad that it is not even worth exploring."
|The 13th Warrior: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Film score by Jerry Goldsmith|
|Jerry Goldsmith chronology|
The original soundtrack was composed by Graeme Revell and featured the Dead Can Dance singer Lisa Gerrard. The score was rejected by Michael Crichton and was replaced by one composed by Crichton's usual collaborator, Jerry Goldsmith. The cue heard just before the final battle scene, called "Valhalla", was later used in the film Kingdom of Heaven by Ridley Scott at the final siege scene.
See also 
- "THE 13TH WARRIOR (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 1999-07-30. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- Company Town, 1999. Company Town Film Profit Report. Los Angeles Times, [internet] 8 September. Available at http://articles.latimes.com/1999/sep/08/business/fi-7832 [Accessed 30 July 2010].
- Dirks, T. 2010. Greatest Box-Office Bombs, Disasters and Flops of All-Time. [Online] Filmsite.org (Updated 2010) p.11. Available at: http://www.filmsite.org/greatestflops.html (page 11) [Accessed 30 July 2010].
- "15 Directors Unceremoniously Fired Or Replaced On A Movie", The Playlist 22 March 2013 accessed 27 March 2013
- Natale, Richard (31 August 1999). "The Summer's Other Hitting Streak : The major studios are on a record pace, slugging at least 11 films into $100-million territory. The final tally will approach $3 billion.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
- The 13th Warrior Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes
- The 13th Warrior :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews
- Review: The 13th Warrior
- Movie & TV News @ IMDb.com - WENN - 20 November 2003
"Michael Crichton’s 13th Warrior and Beowulf". Retrieved 20 August 2010.
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Drive Me Crazy
|Box office number-one films of 2000 (AUS)