Review by: Fusion3600
Posted on: October 19th, 2012
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Plot: What’s it about?

When it comes to imposing fear and raw power, few warriors can compete with the legends of the Viking hordes. These men were fearless and had a raw, brutal attack plan that left their enemies in tatters. While all the Vikings were vicious, some of them wielded a sword so lethal, it would become a historical icon of battle. The swords were light, sharp as a razor, and would hold up in even the most intense conflicts. The creator would inlay his name in the blade, so if you carried a sword that read Ulfberht, you knew you were death incarnate. These blades were given to only the most elite of the Viking combatants, the finest sword such a warrior could ever carry into battle. In Secrets of the Viking Sword, these legendary blades are put under the microscope, tested in the heat of conflict, and explored to learn the history of the Ulfberht brand.

I couldn’t wait to check out this Nova episode, as I have an interest in historical combat methods, as well as the Vikings in general. I found this to be a well crafted, informative program that sheds a lot of light on the Viking weapon of choice. The show looks at how the methods used to create these blades were ahead of the time, as well as how the swords compared to the eventual products that came from 19th century steel making. This is fascinating to me, as we learn how the Vikings were able to make use of high carbon steel and other secrets of the trade. A modern sword maker is challenged to recreate the blade using the techniques of the time, which is also quite cool to watch. The amount of effort that it takes is astounding, especially if you consider the tools and techniques of the original crafters. This program also explores the history behind the Ulfberht brand and tests the blade against the legendary katana, so this is just packed with cool stuff.

Video: How does it look?

Secrets of the Viking Sword is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This program looks great here, with a clean and crisp visual presentation. The image shows good detail and I didn’t pick up on any errors to report. The colors are natural and contrast is spot on, so no concerns in those areas. So while the program isn’t a visual feast, it looks quite good here and viewers should appreciate the solid presentation.

Audio: How does it sound?

The soundtrack here is basic, but effective. The program is focused on dialogue and little else, so there isn’t need for much beyond a simple audio design. The interviews sound crystal clear, so no dialogue is lost and no volume issues crop up. The other elements are minimal, given the program’s vocal driven soundtrack. So it might not stand out as memorable, this soundtrack gets the job done. This disc also includes English subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes no bonus materials.

MOVIE INFO.
YEAR RELEASED
2012
RATING
Not Rated
DIRECTOR
Peter Yost
STUDIO
PBS
RUNNING TIME
60 min.


TECH SPECS
  • STANDARD DVD
  • (1.78:1)
  • Video Codec: MPEG-2
  • 1 Disc Set
  • DISC FEATURES
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scene(s)
  • Featurette
  • Documentary
  • Digital Copy

DISC SCORES

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AUDIO
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OVERALL