The boy Vickie is the son of the tough Viking warrior Halvar and his wife Ylva. While his father is on his boat to catch fish for the annual party, Vickie has to stay home. He is still too young and not strong enough to board, much to Wickie’s sorrow. His mother helps and protects him, but his father does not take him completely. During a showdown between Halvar and the villainous Terrible Sven, Halvar is thrown an old sword into his lap. When Halvar returns to the village of Flake without the fish, he makes up that it is a magic sword to calm his angry wife Ylva. The next day there is a shooting competition, which Wickie hopes to win, because the winner gets to join Halvar’s ship. Wickie is the last to act. His niece Ylvi in front of him almost hits the bullseye. Then it’s Vicky’s turn, but before Vicky can shoot him himself, a stranger suddenly appears and shoots at the bull’s-eye with his arrow. He introduces himself as Leif Eriksson, son of the famous Viking Erik the Red. Halvar walks away with him and immediately adds Leif to his crew. That night the sword indeed turns out to be a magical sword that can turn anything into gold. By accident, Halvar Ylva turns into a golden statue. Fortunately, Leif knows the history of the sword: it belongs to Odin and his sons Thor and Loki argued about it. The magic of the sword can be undone on a secret island where the Bifrost is, the bridge to get to Asgard. Vickie, Ylvi and their sidekick the squirrel join as a stowaway when Halvar sets sail with his drakar ship to rescue Ylva.
“Vicky the Viking and the Magic Sword” is a cheerful animated film with a lot of momentum that stops a lot of action in fifteen minutes without getting chaotic. The animations are generally of excellent quality and if the history of the sword is shown, even in a different style. The exciting scenes with high waves are beautifully designed. Only in the close-ups of the faces are the details not very sharp and you can see some flatness. Every now and then there are short songs – even in rap – and some funny asides are entertaining for adults too. Director Eric Cazes keeps things exciting, but there are also plenty of moments of rest to catch your breath before the next challenge, be it a storm, Terrible Sven or the meddling gods.
This modern version of Vicky the Viking was made by the Belgian Studio 100, also known for K3, Kabouter Plop and Bumba, among others. Vicky the Viking was conceived by the Swedish writer Runer Jonsson and appeared for the first time in book form in seven volumes from 1963. Almost ten years later the first animated series followed, made in Japan, which was very successful internationally – also in the Netherlands. In contrast to the series, there is of course less room for the secondary characters in a film. It is a pity that Halvar’s crew is hardly ever mentioned and is mainly present in the background. The squirrel, on the other hand, is much more prominent and that could have been a bit less. Perhaps that is more of an adult’s point of view, because small children will appreciate the squirrel’s squirrel much more. Another annoying point is that everyone is very blatantly raving about the handsome Leif (there is a reason for that, as revealed in the film). It is a bit too obvious how fantastic Leif is, to emphasize the contrast with Vicky. “Vicky the Viking and the Magic Sword” does have a clear message, however: don’t get discouraged and believe in yourself. Vicky, the little Viking who is underestimated by everyone around him and whose helmet keeps dropping over his eyes, is ultimately the hero of the day.