Thunder gods for Hollyweird

Remakes, re-imaginings, reboots, re-inventions; Hollywood seems to like re-cycling of ideas and have been in serious innovation drought for years. I know, remakes of classic (and not so classic) movies are nothing new, neither are sequels – but there are a few things they could do in order to inject some imagination into their fantasy films.

oldthorFortunately, the sci-fi and fantasy film genres have been spared the biggest remake waves. Horror has been hit much worse, with classics such as Carrie, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hitcher, Friday the 13th, and Helloween having been remade, among many others. Even Evil Dead was remade not long ago. Is nothing holy to Hollyweird?

Fantasy films are in a slightly different position. While horror movies have been huge since the 1970s and established long before that, fantasy and science fiction films were mocked and looked down upon longer, and it wasn’t until the mid or late 1990s that fantasy in literature became the foundation for a wave of movies. Granted, fantasy movies have been around for a long time but in fact the growth in the 90s in numbers of young people who read fantasy stories paved the way for movie adaptions of popular novels. With The Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter it was proven true that popular fantasy books could translate well to box office success.

In other words, the makers of fantastical cinema have a vast library of already proven stories to choose from, a library that is not yet empty. They don’t need to recycle, but still it was just a matter of time before remakes of popular 1980s movies started to appear; we already got Total Recall, and V was remade for TV. They have been preparing a remake of He-Man, and reboots of comic franchises Superman and Batman are coming out every few years.

So, Hollyweird, let me give you some advice. A free tip, an original and new idea you have not explored much before. You can pay me a hefty royalty if you want. Here it is: Nordic mythology.

I am not talking about Viking movies. Vikings have appeared in front of the camera since at least the 1920s, usually with a large dose of, shall we say, artistic freedom. Adaptions of Viking history are, if not a staple, at least well known among movie fans. No, I am talking about Nordic mythology; the gods, beliefs, myths and legends of the Vikings. You know, Thor, Loki, the giant jotnar creatures, Odin, the eight-legged horse Sleipnir, etc. Also, a whole range of worlds and universes inhabited by magic, spirits and supernatural creatures. There’s much to dig into!

I am not suggesting a mough not as a rule when making fantasy films inspired by the past, or even when making “plain” Viking epics. Tolkien took alot of inspiration from ancient Scandinavian culture when writing both The Silmarillion and The Rings trilogy, in fact so much that the mythology crept into popular culture and has become clichés. The John McTiernan-directed The 13th Warrior (1999) is borderline historical fantasy as it involves the fictional and non-historical cave cannibals attacking a Viking village, and Outlander (2009) sees Vikings and space aliens clashing, a rare thing even in fantasy movies. None of these two movies draw much from actual Norse mythology per se, but perhaps Hollyweird could look to Scandinavia for some juicy inspiration for original stories. It has been done before, in all fairness, althg mythology, though no doubt they were more original than your typical Viking-massacre action film. Beowulf (2007), which is often considered a classic Viking fantasy story, is not really Viking at all, since it’s an English poem from several hundred years before the Viking age, but the many adaptions deserve thumbs up for trying.

Apart from the Thor comic books from Marvel Comics, Nordic mythology is not exploited enough in popular entertainment. In stead, Greek legends, Arabian folk tales and Asian history forms much of the basis for fantasy epics, with the occasional dip into Britain’s Merlin or American Indian folkore. I guess there is a lot to explore in sub-Sahara African legends too (Tarzan aside – it wasn’t really an African legend) but being a Norwegian myself, I’d like to see more Nordic mythology on the big screen.

So there you have it, Hollyweird. Why don’t you google or wiki terms such as Jotun, Yggdrasil, Valhalla, Ragnarok, the vættir, Freya. You don’t even have to pay authors any rights, because all Nordic mythology is in the public domain, one could say.

I am of course available as historical consultant, and won’t charge you more than you can afford.

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