The best quality of the film would have to be the atmosphere and location. It was partially the production location that helped set the mood for the story with the dark Norwegian flare. You could almost feel like you are traveling with the characters from Finnland to the northern parts of Norway and even on to what is referred to as “No Man’s Land’ between Russia and Norway. To call the scenery “gorgeous” would be an understatement.
It always fascinates me when fictional scripts contain a degree of facts or lore that teach things perhaps someone has not learned prior to settling in for the screening. Raake, the writer, gives us a glimpse into Norse mythology. For those that may not know, Ragnarok by description almost seems to be the equivalent of the apocalypse. From what I understand major deities are to be wiped out, natural disasters will rain upon us, and like the story of Noah there will be a great flood to submerge the world. Who doesn’t like a good Viking tale?
While I stand by my statement that the movie makes for a good light family movie night, one issue with the script is that it falls flat on some of the expected excitement from its genre. It has all the makings of a good thrill from the lead character’s kids in danger to the CGI monster, but does not quite take audiences to the heart pounding level. This could be a mixture of sequencing and character personality issues lacking by the film that are normally needed to make viewers feel like they are right there with the leading cast.
While it is quite apparent by the dialogue and even the emotion from Sigurd that he loves what he does and is excited to be on this journey, his passion and obsession with the subject matter does not come across. With a film environment compared to National Treasure or Jurassic Park one expects a strong lead role and Sigurd comes across as soft spoken and in some instances almost shy.
Furthermore, his colleagues, Allan and Elisabeth, had more screen charisma. The latter of the two brought more excitement to the action scenes. It was interesting to see some gender role reversal in that aspect.
Although the driving goal of our hero was interesting in its subject matter and lore, the overall plot line was predictable and formula driven. For some the formula may be simple and comforting, but for others it may be borderline boring. Man finds secrets and clues in ancient writings that would be a major breakthrough in the archaeological community and that community scoffs at him rather than really listening to him driving him on some epic adventure for proof. Sound familiar?
While Ragnarok suffers from not quite living up to the excitement brought on by the trailer, all is not lost. I would not recommend it for small children as it may scare them, but as far as a good family movie night film it would not make a bad choice. The plot lines are simple enough to follow for children of reading age, and has just enough mystery and intrigue to keep children and some adults watching to see what happens. That is what counts in the family oriented genre.