I am, of course, referring to The Thirteenth Warrior. Obviously, the film is not intentionally following that formula. It's, loosely, based on the tale of Beowulf, following that format better than any other, with thirteen gathered warriors to fight the monstrous foe.
...So in this case, definitely accidental. But the same basic principle is there. Think about it for a second: a small village, full of villagers, is under attack by a vastly-superior foe. The old elder of the village (a king in this case) calls for help, and a group of varied warriors volunteer for a task they know to be borderline-suicide. The difference is thirteen instead of seven, but more on that in a bit.
The villagers even have one antagonistic villager (the prince in this case) who the warriors need to confront after the fighting has begun but before the final fight (just like the original), and there's a female villager, common in most tellings of the story, attracted to the wimpy warrior of the bunch. (Usually the kid of the fighters, in this case being the protagonist who is initially laughed at until the aftermath of the second battle where he 'earns his manhood'...another parallel mind you.)
It even follows a common pattern: the enemies attack. Attack is repelled. Enemies attack again. Attack is repelled, at great cost, villagers die, so do heroes. Heroes make a counter-offensive, and learn more about their enemy in the process, but heroes die as a result. Final fight, where the last heroes who die, die, and the leader of the foes is vanquished.
It's not an exact replica, of course. It's not meant to be. It's meant to follow the pattern of Beowulf, not Seven Samurai. So there's differences. The protagonist lives, as per the normal, but the protagonist unlike normal is not the leader of the group. So in this case, unlike normal, the leader dies. (Because the leader is based off of Beowulf and, spoilerz, Beowulf dies! Heroically, but still.)
Still...think of it. Villagers need help. They call upon heroes. Heroes volunteer for the suicide mission. After the first fight, two cannon fodder die. I don't remember how many die during the second battle, at least three. (Old guy, archer guy, tattoo guy? who dies on the roof) That'd leave a maximum of 8, though. One dies in the counter-attack, maximum of 7 alive for the final battle, in which one more dies, maximum of 6 survivors. I can vaguely recall the faces of at least three survivors, so that's the range. (Since I can't track down exact death numbers--apparently, noting which warriors die, even the cannon fodder, is not important enough to be noted; people just list it as "the warriors dwindle".) Somewhere between 3-6.
If the number is 3 or 4, though...yeah.
Anyway, as I type this: it appears the number of warriors going into the layer is 7 (meaning 4 died during the second battle), but according to the summary, two die in the layer (I only remember one), so...it's four survivors at the end.
Exactly the rough amount you would expect. (The formula started as 3+important villager=4.)
I love making discoveries like this. There were cannon fodder soldiers, sure, but many of the warriors were well-established. Leader, protagonist, protagonist's friend, other guy I remember surviving, some fourth guy I didn't remember but who did, the notable death in the cavern, that's five memorable warriors. The other deaths are debatable. I don't recall the second guy who died on the offensive, I only recall three deaths during the attack, and only one death is shown on-screen during the initial raid and it was still a guy who didn't have much development. (The three faces I remember dieing in the fight all were memorable: the archer had a fairly good line of dialog, the old guy was memorable for his attire and how he died, and the tattoo-guy died memorably and pointlessly as well.)
Still, you get the impression that it's 7-8 notable warriors (7 vikings, in fact, with one outsider), and the rest serve as cannon fodder. Seem familiar? Suddenly, it does to me!
Of course, this is not something I see as detracting from the film...to the contrary, I think this mental discovery I made has only increased my love of the film. I never thought about it that way until now. Yet the film's clearly brilliant. All the little details here and there, all the times they give the warriors characterization off of just their props and lines of dialog we're not even getting translations for, many things like that.
It's simply a solid film. I love how it's told.
Shame that it's now only a cult classic, widely considered a failure.
It seems a lot of films I like are that way. Such as Clue, which was also a bit of a failure in the box office, yet is easily one of the best films of all time.
I don't know why people don't have this appreciation for this sort of thing. 13th Warrior has it all. Music. Solid plot. Interesting take on things. Hilarious dialog and great characterization. A film which has a good idea what type of film it is. Great action, nice pacing, beautiful balance of different things, SOLID atmosphere and cinematography to match.
For instance: the first battle is a raid: chaotic, bloody, fast, confusing, basically, a nightmare. It is shot appropriately, with nobody understanding what's going on. The second fight is a proper battle. It's a siege. The fight is drawn out and shot appropriately, switching between different characters defending different areas, and slowly revealing their foes to be not as demonic as they initially appeared, so as the battle drags on, the fighting becomes more and more human. Then, in the counter-attack, stealth is of the essence, so the scenes are slow, filled with tension. And the final battle is the epic conclusion, so is shot slowly to emphasize every moment of the bloody battle, the final battle, the life of death of the heroes, who go in fighting hard.
It's got all the markings of a great film. The more and more I describe it, the more and more I learn about it, the more and more I think it's surpassing Independence Day as my favorite film of all time. (Which has traditionally tied for first with 13th Warrior.)
For the record, that would place four of my favorites as being, in order, 13th Warrior, Independence Day, Clue, and a bit of a film I haven't talked about much: Twister. Now, not necessarily the same type of masterpiece as 13th Warrior, but I remember it fondly all the same as one of the few films which I actually found kinda scary as a kid, and which is still a solid story today, with a fairly good take on things.
Not sure what my fifth would be. Plenty of candidates. Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines is high on that list, as is It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, but I'm not sure they're actually top-five material. I'd have to really think about it for quite a while to find one film in particular above all others that makes the list.
Butyeah, all of that and I didn't even get to talk about what I came here for.
Basically, on Red Hood Rider: I fell behind. I couldn't even finish the page I was supposed to get done on Saturday. I was having artist's block, essentially, because while it was looking OKAY, it was...not feeling as it should be.
So...in order to catch up...I now need to finish THAT page...do page sixteen which should've been done on Sunday, AND do page 17 which is today's page.
...Well, it's not IMPOSSIBLE......