I agree, and disagree at the same time. While I am not a scholar of Norse mythology, my father is Danish and so I knew a lot about the Eddas and several other popular Norse tales from a very young age. And, yes, my sister and I thought this movie was absolutely hilarious. Buuut...
The movie also had many points that are somewhat annoying for people familiar with Old Norse customs and beliefs, but not so for people without any such knowledge. In fact, people ignorant of Old Norse culture would perhaps find these points humorous, because they tend to play on stereotypes and misconceptions about the viking age (ex: the Norse were actually law-abiding men so long as they were at home, and would never go around committing wanton violence at home; it's true that they would, however, see no problem with marauding abroad if they needed funds to finance a mission).
First thing I noticed right off the bat: the Norse NEVER gave gods' names to mortals. That simply did not happen. You could have a god's name somewhere inside of your name (ie: have a name derived from a god's name), but no Norseman would ever be running around named "Freya." Instead, they'd name their daughters something like "Freyahilde" if they wanted to name them after the goddess.
This would probably not bother most people, though, but it bothered my sister and I so much that we just made up that Erik wanted to communicate with Freya herself through a priestess, whose name wasn't Freya. We also like to think that Loki actually is Loki (he's a shapechanger, after all), and that's really all the motivation he needs for keeping the rest of the gods asleep; leaving him alone to do his sneaky things and keeping his son (that ate the sun) alive. Oh, and we say Hafdan is a jotun, that's why Loki asks him to sabotage Erik. And doesn't Hafdan's land kind of look like Jotunheim? I don't know if such a reading of this movie is normal, but my sister and I love it if we think about it that way.
And, aaaugh, the children. My sister and I just wince at that part. It's truly painful to watch, probably so for everybody. My sister and I explain that one away by saying when the gods were awakened, they were effectively "reborn" after the Fimbulwinter, hence the kiddies. And Helheim being firey and full of lava? Christian influences much?
And the very same gods that fight and work their butts off everyday in order to forestall Ragnarok as much as possible, in order to ensure a future for humans, suddenly they're so callous and like "Oh, whatever, Fenrir ate the sun, ho hum, get out of here we're bored." That was so out-of-sorts with any Norse myth you could possibly name.
In fact, that attitude is very much like the gods of Greek mythology, which is probably what the general audience would be most familiar with. So general audiences would be thinking: "Haha, that's so true! That's how gods are!" (thinking about Greco-Roman mythology, though) meanwhile people familiar with Norse mythology are just cringing at how incongruous everything has suddenly become (because, up till this point, the movie was more-or-less accurate).
If an ancient Norseman wrote the script, the gods would probably give them barrels of ale and a huge celebratory feast for doing such a mighty and brave deed for the good of Midgard.
So... sorry I typed so much, but I really wanted to say all of that about this movie. Maybe I'm just too purist and that's why I couldn't stand the Christian and Greek religious influences, and maybe I should just lighten up, but I feel that being so familiar with Norse mythology is exactly what made many parts of it un-enjoyable (rather than the other way around).
Hey that was a great post! (and one great nickname, if i may add ;)
I don´t have much knowledge of Norse mythos, but considering the little i have, it surprised me how correct was the setting of the movie (i.e. the vikings not using "horned" helmets, or only axes as weapons...). That was very informative.
Your post was a lot more enlightening and engaging and *edifying* to read than by serenata67-1's multiple 'I feel this way but you're beneath me for daring to ask me to provide a couple examples of what I mean' posts in this thread. Where serenata67-1 tried to seek refuge in academia and the 20 page (eye roll) paper which apparently doesn't exist; you explained where you were coming from as personal culture, and explained how the movie succeeded and movie failed at the same time for those who actually knew deeply the backstory.
Again, thank you, ProkhorZhakarov, wherever you are.