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Ragnarok: A Fun Norwegian Film about Family, Vikings and an Angry Lake Monster

January 19, 2015

Ragnarok movie poster

Ragnarok is an earnest little Norweigan film that centers around a family looking for Vikings and finding an angry prehistoric beast. It has a refreshingly simple A/B/C structure and plays like National Treasure met Jurassic Park and they went to Norway.

Ragnarok opens with a tribe of 9th century vikings on the hunt for treasure and glory. They arrive at a lake and are promptly slaughtered by an angry beast. Cut to modern times and we meet a widowed archaeologist named Sigurd (Pal Sverre Hagen) who is obsessed with the lost viking ship. Sigurd is right about the ship but his unfounded and wild ideas cause him to lose funding and receive a demotion at the museum he works at. Luckily, his friend Allan (Nicolai Cleve Broch) shows up with some new evidence and the game is on.

Ragnarok dad

The movie borrows heavily from other films (Raiders, Jurassic Park 1-3) and the name Steven Spielberg comes up in many reviews. However, despite the similarities Ragnarok has a personality all its own. Director Mikkel B. Sandemose used his limited budget well and focused on believable character dynamics instead of bombastic action. Sigurd is the classic absent-minded father who loves his children but is too caught up with his work/grief to take care of them. The kids love their father but are annoyed by his love of all things Viking lore. It isn’t surprising that Sigurd would take his kids on a wild goose chase into the unknown Finmark wilderness to find proof of viking life.

Raganrok scenary

The journey is beautiful as Sandemose and his cinematographer Daniel Voldheim break out the wide-angle lens and let the scenery speak for itself. The journey eventually leads them to an isolated island where nothing good will happen. An unexpected treat of Ragnarok is the badass female heroine Elisabeth (Sofia Helin). Elisabeth works with Allan and it is evident why he hired her. As things go bad Elisabeth starts taking care of business. The movie becomes a series of problems to be solved which leads to an exciting centerpiece involving ziplines, flare guns and an angry monster.

Ragnarok river

The monster of Ragnarok is a curious creature. I was never quite certain if it was a total jerk or a misunderstood monster who only wants its stolen eggs back. Nevertheless, he is a formidable beast who should be left alone. Ragnarok does a solid job of introducing the monster. If they previews hadn’t wrecked the surprise the introduction would have been pretty amazing. You know nothing about the monster and I like that. It wasn’t explained away and there is a supernatural vibe to it. How long has it been alive? Is it an ancestor of the original beast? Does it just want to be left alone? Is it protecting something?

Ragnarok monster

Ragnarok is a fun little film that doesn’t reinvent the wheel but does tell a neat story. I love all things Vikings and angry sea monsters so I enjoyed the film. I appreciated the original story and can’t wait to see what the director does next. This may sound random but a double feature of Ragnarok and Rare Exports would make for a fun holiday treat.




One Comment leave one →
  1. johnleavengood permalink
    January 23, 2015 1:26 pm

    LMAO. I had no idea this was a monster movie!

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