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Quite disappointed with this DVD particularly as I had purchased it on the previous revewer's recommendation. How do you make a purchase of a DVD if you haven't seen the film inititially? So, having read the glowing review I took the plunge and purchased it.
The whole film is amateurish, all the Vikings are clean shaven and look extremely well fed, the costumes look as if they have just been dry cleaned and pressed. The monster, sadly, looks like a man in an ill fitting bear suit.
The Viking dining hall is pristine, not a speck of dust anywhere and the battleaxes, swords and knives have a sort of aluminium/rubbery appearance.
The story line itself is pretty good, the cast do a good job, the actors/actresses are clearly giving it their best, somebody has spent quite a lot of money on the costumes, scenery, Viking boat etc but the whole production has something lacking. As the previous reviewer said, the film does give a good view of how the characters within Beauty & The Beast felt, but that in itself is not sufficient to lift the overall calibre of this production.
Target audience was obviously adults but it should be more justifiably directed at the 8 - 11 age group.
All in all it could have been a lot worse but there again it could have lot better!
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Beauty and the Beast with Vikings...30 Oct. 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
The story begins as a Viking drama about young love and duty. Freya is the clan princess, pursued by Sven who wants only to become king after King Thorsson dies. Freya prefers Agnar, who was lost with a boatload of clansmen on a raid.
The old king longs for one more grand adventure and takes a group to an island two days journey away. The island is cursed, being the realm of a great and brutal Beast - said to be protected by Odin. The King discovers that this is where Agnar and the others met their deaths. When the Beast attacks, most are quickly killed. The frail King is locked in battle with the Beast, and cowardly Sven runs away under the guise of helping a wounded Eric, leaving the King to die.
Back in the village, Sven proclaims himself King and demands Freya wed him on the next full moon. Eric tells Freya the truth - that her Father might still be alive - and she sets out to free him, accompanied only be her friend Ingrid. They encounter the Beast and Freya exchanges herself for her wounded Father. Freya is left alone on the cursed island with the Beast and discovers all is not what it seems...
The film offers a different take on the Beauty and the Beast fable, drawing a strong contrast between the cowardly liar Sven and the cursed but noble Agnar. Sven is handsome, strong, and the best fighter of the clan - a natural choice to be the next king. But his cruel and cowardly ways make the beautiful Princess Freya view him with contempt. A warrior in her own right, Freya is perfectly capable of sailing to a forbidden isle and rescuing her Father/King on her own. She faces down the Beast in single combat, while Sven during his chance for battle flees without ever engaging the Beast.
The Beast's story - having slain Odin's pet and being cursed to take it's place, and his bloodlust rising with the full moon - is reminiscent of the classic Wolf Man story from the 1940's. The Beast also bears some of the character traits of Viking Berserkers: enormous strength, uncontrollable fury, and the ability to shrug off what should be mortal wounds. His love for the beautiful girl and inability to harm her is pure Beauty and the Beast.
Princess Freya is played as a fiercely independent warrior Viking by Jane March. In this film, only Odin (who is never seen) is a god - Freya and the rest are mortals of Midgard. Indeed, King Thorsson and Freya may simply be named as they are because they are the royalty of the clan - although the film doesn't mention other Norse gods.
The film suffers from a reasonably low budget - few sets and crude make-up for the Beast. The sword fighting is only adequate, and the camera work is occasionally dizzying. However, the acting is good - especially Jane March as Freya, Justin Whalin as Eric, and Candicé Hillebrand as Ingrid. David Dukas is hampered by his make-up, but does a credible job portraying the anguish his character suffers from. The ending is depressing - but reasonable for a Viking saga.
If you like romances or Viking dramas - this is a film to see. Rated PG-13 (with some fairly gross corpses) and available on DVD.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Beauty and the Beast, in the Norse Realm3 Feb. 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Blood of Beasts is just another retelling of Beauty and the Beast, set among the Vikings. Every character is there, even the hated Gaston in the form of Brad Pitt look-alike Sven. The king's daughter, Freya is beauty, but she's a lot more, too. She's a `take charge chick', a warrior, and an interesting character. A lot of the other reviewers have recapped the plot, (some with spoilers, be careful when you read them) so instead of recapping their recaps, let me refute a few of the most recent points made in their reviews to explain why they gave it 1 star and I gave it 4.
The people who reviewed it and said it was an LOTR rip-off must not have been watching the same movie I was. Yes, the movie covers are similar, but the films are VERY different from start to finish.
As for it being boring, I don't think so. It isn't action from start to finish, but it does have lots of nice sword play. Even better when there isn't fighting there's delicious character development that makes the likeable characters great and the wretched characters so rude, cruel, and terrible you want to jump into your viewing screen and choke them! The bottom line is you become emotionally invested in this movie, and are sad to see it end.
Speaking of characters, another thing I like about this movie is Freya, (Beauty) isn't a Shrinking Violet. She can fight, she speaks her mind, and she plays a roll in her own destiny.
If you're looking for something that's high art, this might not be your film. If you're looking for a smart retelling of a classic fairy tale that will entertain you for an hour and a half, then check this movie out.
Recommended for B movie fans, and Fairy Tale lovers alike!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Actually this is a Viking version of Beauty and the Beast20 Oct. 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
Why the advertising for "Blood of Beasts" wants to make references to "The Lord of the Rings" is beyond me because if you actually sit through this film by director David Lister ("The Meeksville Ghost") you will know that the best way to describe it is as the Vikings version of "Beauty and the Beast." In fact, when the film was first released in 2003 that was the title, and it is only when the DVD came out in 2005 that suddenly it had a new title. Now, the idea of a Viking version of Beauty and the Beast sounds intriguing and if this were in the mold of "The 13th Warrior" that might be the case, but we are not so lucky with "Blood of Beasts."
Thorsson (Greg Melvill-Smith) the king of the clan decides that a nearby island should become part of his kingdom. But when he travels there by dragon boat with some of his warriors they discover a fort rules by the Beast (David Dukas). The Beast kills several of his warriors and captures Thorsson. Sven (Wlliam Gregory Lee), who has been chosen as Thorsson's heir, beats a hasty retreat, saving Eric (Justin Whalin), but leaving the king behind. However, the Beast does not kill Thorsson but puts him into a cage and gives him water. When Sven returns without Thorsson and declares himself to be king, Thorsson's daughter, Princess Freya (Jane March), demands the warriors go back and bring her father home, dead or alive. But Sven refuses and demands that Freya marry him. She had been interested in him, but clearly Sven is not the man she thought he was. So Freya sails to the island with her helpful handmaiden Ingrid (Candicé Hillebrand), to fight the beast.
Once you tune in to the fact that this is another version of Beauty and the Beast you can figure out most of what is going to happen. There is something of a twist in that Freya actually knows the man who is now cursed as the Beast, but you can also see that coming because there is one of those flashbacks at the start of the movie that you know is providing a key piece of information for latter in the movie. At least Freya comes to accept the Beast before that bit of information is revealed and makes it easier for her to treat him like he is still human. Now if only these Vikings would figure out that Sven is too cowardly and craven to be their ruler I would feel better about their prospects for the future.
On the one hand I would think that this movie is intended for a younger audience. Basically the Beast is a guy dressed up in something of a bear suit, which is not too scary. But when you get to his fort there are corpses hung up as a warning, which is not exactly kid friendly (Lister goes crazy with the hand held camera when we get there, panning so fast you can not appreciate what the set that has been constructed). Having Jane March from "Color of Night" and "The Lover" as the princess leads you to expect a different sort of film as well, but Freya stays fully dressed throughout this one. You would also expect a lot more of the action to take place at night, but the sun is usually up and if the locale look strange for a Viking story then you just need to understand this movie was filmed around Rietvlei Dam in South Africa (so no fiords).
I ended up rounding up on "Blood of Beasts" for only one reason, and that was the ending. It will come as a surprise and undoubtedly an unpleasant one for most viewers, but once your remember that the Vikings were not exactly a happy lot then you have to admit the ending sort of makes sense. Any movie that gets to the end credits and has you surprised because you thought something was going to happen that ends up not happening has to be appreciated, even if it is a movie like this one. The only extras on this DVD are some trailers for movies that look a whole lot better than this one and the only reason to watch it is if the idea of a Viking version of Beauty and the Beast appeals to you (or unless you really want to see what Justin Whalin has been up to since "Lois and Clark").
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
"What does it mean? It makes no sense."1 May 2006
David R. Eastwood
- Published on Amazon.com
Fifty-five minutes into this film, after Freya (Jane March) listens to the Beast's explanation of his current condition--it is the punishment of Odin for killing a bear--she says, "What does it mean? It makes no sense."
Although there is still half an hour yet to come, these eight words pretty much sum up this low-budget variant of "Beauty and the Beast." The very title BLOOD OF BEASTS (plural) makes no sense. The film shows us only one beast--a kind of man-bear--and he is a revived and metamorphosed version of Odin's pet bear, blended or fused with the man who killed it. Academic scholars might argue that swaggering-but-cowardly Sven (played by William Gregory Lee) is a kind of beast as well (thus giving us TWO beasts), but we have no way of knowing what the writer and director intended. Most likely the title was devised by somebody in the marketing department who had not seen the film. Surely the blurb on the back of the DVD's hard case was written by another marketing person who never watched it either; e.g., it is untrue that Freya "must undertake a deadly battle when her father and fiance are captured by a tormented monster . . . cast out by his people." Nor is it true that "the Beast [singular] . . . battles with Freya for his redemption." Further, expect no truth in these grand-sounding words: "Prepare for the ultimate tale of love and sacrifice, damnation and salvation." BTW, the front of the hard case has a fake sepia picture of Jane March/Freya shooting an arrow in an impossible manner: the arrow's shaft is two or three inches ABOVE her hand that's gripping the bow.
With one exception, the acting is a perfect match for the script: laughably poor. The exception is the Beast (played by David Dukas). One is tempted to quip that only this role has "teeth"; the fact is that only his role permits audio engineers (or whoever) to enhance the actor's voice electronically, only his role required serious make-up, and only his role required a "special effect" (his morphing back to Agnar, which every semi-conscious viewer, by a third of the way into the film, knew was coming).
Other viewers have commented on the comical tropical setting of this Viking saga and the laughable "ships." Most preposterous is the tiny skiff that Freya and Ingrid (Candice Hillebrand) use to rescue King Thorsson (Greg Melvill-Smith). On the island, the Beast possesses an iron cage (which clearly has been welded together using 20th- or 21st-century equipment); when the king is confined in it, it can only be secured from the outside--and yet, when Freya is put inside it for her own protection at night, only she has control of its locking device. How convenient.
The costumes are also anacronistically interesting, but only Ms. March's deserve extended comment. When we first see her, she is wearing a little black Viking bikini as she swims with friends; then, besides flimsy chain mail, we see her in an array of gowns that seem to be fashoned from finely woven or knit fabrics--the final one being most noteworthy for its sequined molded push-up bra-top.
Lest this review seem too harsh, a few individuals connected with this film deserve special mention for their outstanding contributions: Mark Thomas, who composed the Viking music; Rob Bishop, one of the focus pullers; Ryan Lotter and Steven Ndlovu, two clapper loaders; Andrew Gribble, a grip; Ben Phiri, the generator operator; Guy Bonner, transport manager; Johannes Sithole, fabrication assistant; Kirsty Taylor, prosthetics; Maxmillian van der Merwe, standby set dresser; Dirk Knoesen, stand-by [sic] carpenter; Sally van der Merwe, scenic artists [sic]; Janine Wyatt-Mair, stunt performer; Grace Sibiyo, seamstress; Diane Allen, hair supervisor; Bianca, trainee make-up assistant; Ian Thysse, medic; and Mark Ferda, who did double duty as both dialogue editor AND re-recording mixer.
Oh, one more thing: after coming out of her cage in the morning, Jane March SEEMS to have a nude swim in the sea, which the poor Beast views from hiding, far-far-far away.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
It is a love story, with Vikings as the involved people17 Oct. 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Released in 2009, filmed in South Africa, rated PG-13, and running an hour-and-a-half; "Blood of Beasts" is not exactly the same as several other Viking movies, or like several other adventure / Sci-Fi / drama / love stories / horror films - however, it isn't all that different either. I like to see Viking films use obviously Viking descendant people (check the names in the credits), and have always appreciated when films are made about a unique ethnicity, why not let that ethnicity be genuinely represented. It isn't so much my forte to critique a movie based upon other films that closely have a similar theme or action sequences. Having said all that, I will admit I liked this film, not so much due to the leading heroine's thespian ability (there is no female nudity, I speak here of acting technique insulated from exploitation), and not because of the strength of any character elsewhere in the film. I liked it because of the costuming, the sets, and the sense of authenticity IMHO for life of that time period, and because of the insertion of mythical magic and ancient beliefs. The ending is more along keeping with how it would have gone had I been the courageous Viking warrior who truly adored the king's daughter. The Viking who intends to sit upon the throne is well played in this story too, because most people with that level of ambition rarely have the qualifications to merit achieving it. The strength of this film is the mysterious creature, and the arena on the island feared by legend. Instead of gauging this film upon other films, I encourage viewers to consider this film on its own merit, separate from anything similar of any consequence. Then you might enjoy Jane March portraying Freya, Candice Hillebrand as Ingrid, and how easy it is to hate the character portrayed so well by William Gregory Lee and how easy it is to empathize with Agnar's curse as the beast portrayed by David Dukas. For most viewers, this will be nothing more than a B-movie (or Z-movie even), but for me I actually like this film except for how hard the producer(s) / writer(s) labored to make the men lily-livered cowards so the heroine could seem that much more brave and valiant. Not much reality kept close to the bone in that regard, but the story requires it, and it is symbolic primarily of the respect and love the daughter had for her father, the king. Didn't notice a lot of unnecessary cussing, there isn't any female nudity, and the violence / gore is kept very, very low key. This is a love story after all, not a war epic. In fact, the other big thing I like about this film is that it doesn't include the savagery and brutal slaughter of innocent people in a land being conquered, raped, and pillaged. I'll view other films of Vikings if I want to see that. This is a love story, regardless of whether or not the viewer agrees with how it ends up.