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Ragnarok  (2014)
2 Stars
Directed by Mikkel Brænne Sandemose.
Cast: Pål Sverre Hagen, Maria Annette Tanderød Berglyd, Julian Rasmussen Podolski, Sofia Helin, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Bjørn Sundquist, Terje Strømdahl, Vera Rudi, Jens Hultén.
2014 – 96 minutes
Rated: Rated PG-13 (for terror/frightening images).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, November 17, 2014.
"Ragnarok" plays like Norway's answer to "Jurassic Park." If the film, directed by Mikkel Brænne Sandemose, is derivative of Steven Spielberg's 1993 blockbuster, the skillfulness with which the similarities are deposited is also what makes it memorable. When widowed archaeologist Sigurd Svendsen (Pål Sverre Hagen) finds an ancient rune with a purported map pointing to an Oseberg gravesite that may hold the key to the Ragnarok myth, he is disappointed when the museum he works for denies his request for funding. Taking matters into his own hands, Sigurd hires colleague/assistant Allan (Nicolai Cleve Broch) and archaeologist Elisabeth (Sofia Helin) to accompany him and his kids, Ragnhild (Maria Annette Tanderød Berglyd) and Brage (Julian Rasmussen Podolski), on an expedition to the desolate location in Finnmark. Lurking among the caves and waterways is something far more dangerous than what they bargained for.

"Ragnarok" takes its time getting going and muddles the chance to legitimately explore the Ragnarok legend—supposedly a warning about the end of the world—but the third-act payoff makes it all worthwhile. The creature—a cross between a dragon and the Loch Ness Monster—is revealed in a terrifically suspenseful set-piece where the group attempt to zipline across a lake, while the climax where siblings Ragnhild and Brage are stalked indoors works up a palpable sense of terror and wonder. At this point, it scarcely matters that it has clearly been modeled after the velociraptors-in-the-kitchen scene in "Jurassic Park." This scene, like the movie as a whole, remains an effective fantasy-adventure, helping to smooth over a relatively disposable script and characters.
© 2014 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman