I didn’t end up seeing the trailer to this movie until I received the review copy. I requested it based on another reviewer’s enthusiasm over it, and hearing that it was akin to The Neverending Story, Indiana Jones and a monster movie. On the back of the blu-ray & DVD it says, “Like a new Steven Spielberg movie in the manner of Jurassic Park or Raiders Of The Lost Ark.” Well, to be honest the movie didn’t remind me of any of those flicks, though it does have a slight plot point similar to The Lost World (1997).
I should stress this is a PG-13 Norwegian family film with a heavy slant on the creature feature sub-genre. Always a big sell in my book. I love creature features, and didn’t take in the actually trailer until a week ago, and it looked even better than I imagined.
The plot focuses on the Norse myth of Ragnarok (aka the end of the world), but archaeologist, Sigurd (Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen), thinks we have its interpretation all wrong. He might be right. In the prologue we see a group of Vikings down by this lake in the middle of the night looking as if they’re prepared to go to war, but something creature-esque comes out of the water and eats them all up. Sigurd has a buddy named, Allan (Nicolai Cleve Broch), who’s also been working on proving the Viking’s meant something else with the term for the past 3 years and he’s finally made a breakthrough, finding this rock with runes carved in it.
Sigurd recognizes this odd shape in the middle of it that corresponds to this amulet the museum he works at has on display, and with the amulet he realizes the rock and the runes are a map. Where the movie synchs up somewhat with Spielbergian mythos are the two kids he has, a boy and a girl, who accompany him on his trip to this remote area where the Vikings were in the prologue, and are a strong part of the adventure and bonding they do with their Dad. They also meet up with a sleezy guide and Allan’s assistant, Elizabeth (Sofia Helin), and eventually learn Ragnarok was a warning the Vikings never heeded about a giant prehistoric serpent that still exists to this day.
As usual with most modern day monster movies, the first thing I get concerned with is how the monsters are rendered. Typically I assume it’s going to be CGI and nine times out of ten I’m right, but as we all know there’s CGI and there’s “CGI.” The latter being something you’ll see in a SyFy channel movie, but my fears were eventually quelled when the baby serpent hatched and I saw how expertly rendered it was. But I wouldn’t be entirely put to rest until I saw the full-grown paent and when it finally did appear the computer effects were just as stunning as the baby. Movie quality, I mean. The monster is used judicially throughout, which makes a lot of sense, if you want quality over quantity, any more and you really would have SyFy channel effects to contend with.
There’s no blood, no gore, and only two modern day humans are eaten, but it’s a really good movie, nicely plotted, and with characters I actually liked.
Back on November 18th Magnolia released the movie stateside through their genre sub-label, Magnet, on separate DVD and Blu-ray editions. The movie claims it runs 96-minutes, it’s actually 90-minutes long with 5-minutes of end credits.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 2.35:1 high definition widescreen—5.1 Norwegian DTS-HD Master Audio, 5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio—English, English SDH, Spanish subtitles.
Extras on the DVD and blu-ray are as follows:
- Ragnarok: The Visual Effects (4:28)
- Theatrical Trailer
The Visual Effects featurette is simply a collage, set to music from the movie, of how the CGI in the movie was rendered, and I had no idea a lot of the environments were computer creations too.