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August 19, 2014
Ragnarok Review: The Vikings had some secrets
— Posted by Jim Alexander
Synopsis: The ancient and modern worlds collide when archaeologist Sigurd Svendsen finds the true meaning of the secret runes found in the Oseberg ship. Credit Imdb
Who knew Vikings were onto something? Now, most of us living in the United States are familiar with the Vikings through tales, documentaries, or if you live in Minnesota you might be partial to the football team that goes by that name. The story of the Vikings is much more complex and deep. If you grew up in the Nordic region (Norway, Sweden, Finland) you were taught the Viking mythology since childhood. Ragnarok, should please both sides.
The film centers around an archaeologist and Viking enthusiast Sigurd Svendsen. Sigurd is a single dad trying to make a living pursuing his passion. He appears to be spiraling downward as his boss, and kids to an extent have lost faith in him. Everything seemingly changes when Sigurd’s friend Allan makes a discovery of a map that will lead them to places never explored before. Sigurd, his two kids, Allan, and a woman named Elisabeth go on the adventure to uncover the Viking secrets. The map guides them to a hidden cave where they embark on a slew of Viking artifacts, however, the one thing they end up uncovering is something so vicious and out of this world that will have them wishing they never followed the ancient trail.
The film is comprised of an all Nordic cast. If you are watching this film outside of that region, you most likely will be seeing all these actors for the first time. As stated in my interview with the director Mikkel B. Sandemose (check it out in our interview section) the film was made for a local audience. Pleasantly, the actors are very accomplished. Even though the film isn’t in English, only providing English subtitles throughout it doesn’t take away from the viewing experience or the acting displayed on screen. Pal Sverre Hagen is very good in the role of Sigurd. He plays an regular guy, someone you might run into on the streets. He is passionate about his job, determined to raise his young kids as a single dad. The vulnerability of the character is portrayed very well. He definitely seems like a Nordic guy, even though I don’t necessarily know what that consists of? They did manage to get that point across, which is a credit to the acting and the focus places on character building by the filmmakers. Sigurd’s kids are quite charming. A little boy who clearly has a lot of love for his dad, to the point of setting up an online dating profile for him! The girl, is a bit more skeptical and quiet. The relationship between Sigurd and the kids is charming. The other supporting actors in the film Nicolai Cleve Broch and Sofia Halin are very solid in their roles. It turned out to be a cast that did the film and region justice. It didn’t need any American or known international actors.
There is no denying that the film is an entertaining watch. If you like a solid action-adventure then Ragnarok won’t disappoint. It is shot very well. The visuals and on-location shooting look exotic. It will give you an idea how stunning the Nordic region is. Vacation anyone? I can appreciate that the film doesn’t go crazy on the CGI and has a European feel to it, all while still looking like a high budget production. Ragnarok, isn’t an inspiring piece, something you won’t ever forger. You likely will. It does accomplish what it’s mission was to do. It’s a solid monster-adventure kinda film. Acting is really solid, the story is compelling enough to keep you interested. The monster is well Godzilla mixed with a T-Rex, but really just a giant snake. It’s good enough.
Ultimately, I didn’t have any preconceived expectations going into the film. Being a European film, I wasn’t aware of what was awaiting me. I ended up pleasantly surprised. It’s a really solid VOD and iTunes purchase, not sure I’d be running to the movie theater on August 15th to spend 10 bucks though. If given a chance it’s worth your time. A stylish, Nordic, Viking inspired,monster adventure is how I would sum it up. Guess, there is more to those Vikings than we thought?
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When it boils down to it, Jim's passion is entertainment. Aside from being an avid sports fan, that follows all things NFL, NBA, and Soccer. He currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago. At the core of his interests...movies! Whether trying to catch the newest flick coming out this weekend, or the latest On Demand release, to heated debates with his friends and colleagues about the most recent "Box Office Blunder". The passion for movies lies deep within him. When he isn't writing, he immerses himself in his other interests; Acting and Radio Broadcasting. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimRko.
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