Erik the Viking [1989]

Years before his Oscar win, Tim Robbins top-lined this spoof of The Vikings and other ancient adventures. Writer/director Terry Jones (Life of Brian) paints his titular marauder as a wide-eyed pacifist born at the wrong time (with his wig and headband, Robbins looks like a refugee from Hair). During the age of Ragnarok, barbarians can only enter Valhalla through battle. So, Erik consults a sage (Eartha Kitt) who advises him to cross the Rainbow Bridge. He convinces his fellow villagers they can live amongst the Gods without all that raping and pillaging, but marauding is a lucrative business, so Halfdan the Black (John Cleese) tries to cut Erik's journey short. The nice Norseman also faces a sea dragon, a princess of easy leisure (Imogen Stubbs), and the delicately-positioned island of Hy-Brasil. Erik the Viking may be a minor entry in the parade of post-Python product, but this DVD is a long time in coming. "The Director's Son's Cut," however, is 21 minutes shorter than the 100-minute theatrical version. In his commentary, Jones explains, "I was never quite happy with the final edit." His son, Bill, punches up the pace through cuts and restructuring, but some fans will surely miss the more expansive movie of their memories (Plus, there's a moment when Robbins moves his lips to a deleted line). Other extras include featurettes (both old and new) and a photo gallery. One thing that hasn't changed: though a last-minute replacement for Tom Hulce, Tim Robbins plays Erik with irresistible innocence. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

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