The Reel Review
A work-obsessed Norwegian archeologist and widower drags his kids along on an expedition to far northern Norway, to hunt for Viking artifacts tied to the Norse end-of-the-world myth of Ragnarok. Shortly after their arrival, they awaken a giant deadly snake monster in this family-oriented action/adventure fantasy.
With a story that borrows heavily from such classics as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park, Ragnarok is a way more subtle, lower budget take on the action/adventure genre. It features gorgeous sweeping vistas of the Norwegian countryside, solid production values and an inspiring, rousing score. Thanks to some nice camerawork, Ragnarok is a beautifully shot film.
Pål Sverre Hagen (Kon-Tiki) leads the ensemble cast, which features strong performances and a surprisingly realistic looking CGI snake monster, once the beast finally rears its head in the third act. It’s just that the story itself, while more intellectual, is a bit too timid and predictable, as the potentially epic adventure saga devolves into a run of the mill, creature feature. At least Sofia Helin, as research assistant Elisabeth, is a badass and there is a pretty exciting scene with a zip line.
• Finnmark, the far northern stretch of Norway near the Russian border, stretches farther east than the cities of St. Petersburg, Russia and Istanbul, Turkey. With a population of 75,000, it is Norway’s least populated county.
• That language spoken in the film’s opening sequence, Old Norse, is very similar to modern Icelandic.
• Pål Sverre Hagen, who once planned to be a marine biologist, came to prominence playing Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl in the Oscar-nominated, 2012 film Kon-Tiki. Hagen plays another famous Norwegian, polar explorer Roald Amundsen, in the 2019 film Amundsen.