December 24, 2014


Mikkel Brænne Sandemose, 2014
Archaeologist Sigurd (Pål Sverre Hagen) deciphers an ancient rune that leads him to a remote island on the Russian border. He believes it will guide him to a Viking treasure, but instead leads him to something completely different.

Steven Spielberg is a master craftsman of timing and suspense when it comes to human and beast. He masterfully keeps you on the edge of your seat, with calculated sensory manipulation. Sometimes he's only playing with one of your senses. Sometimes you're just hearing something. Sometimes you're just seeing a shadow, a faint image of something. Sometimes you are just seeing someone else's reaction on their face. Sandemose certainly draws some inspiration from Spielberg's playbook here. Ragnarok provides enough thrills with adequate build up. It combines elements of Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Lake Placid (and okay... Sharknado too, kind of) all in the backdrop of lushly wooded & rainy Norway. There is family conflict; Sigurd being the single parent father who lost his wife, now married to his job and trying to kill two birds with one stone by having his kids tag along with him on his trip while hopefully getting credit for a vacation. His daughter would rather go to Spain like the other girls at her school. But she has to settle for the remote woods so her daddy can track down what he thinks is a trove of Viking booty. So many times we see the broken father who lost the wife who spends the movie licking his wounds. Sigurd doesn't do this, presumably because he is so obsessed with his work. When they arrive at their destination, it's really when the best pieces of the film are laid out. Ragnarok is a nicely-packed, adventurous monster movie with enough suspense and CGI production (without ever leaning on it too much) to keep you engaged.

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