Beginning with a prologue set in Viking times we see a group of Viking warriors standing at the edge of a misty lake seemingly trying to summon some sort of water monster by enticing it out with a sheep on a makeshift raft. The monster turns up alright and quickly makes mincemeat of the Vikings except for the chief’s daughter who somewhat wisely runs and hides after calling her father a greedy fool.
Post credits and we find ourselves in modern day Norway at a museum where Sigurd, an archaeologist, loses his funding after giving a presentation during which he lets slip some more far-fetched details of his quest to locate a Viking queen, which doesn’t impress his backers one iota.
Back at home his friend, another archaeologist, turns up with a runestone which may hold the key to Sigurd’s ongoing quest. By using an ancient Viking broach that he borrows from the museum he manages to decipher the stone and realises it provides instructions to locate the legendary ‘Eye of Odin’. They then make plans to head off up the coast to track down the next clue and take Sigurd’s children with them. They are met at their destination by a mutual friend, Elizabeth, and their grumpy guide to the area and they set off to explore an island that may be the resting place of this important archaeological artefact.
It doesn’t take long before they find an important Viking treasure haul, which their guide promptly steals off of them and makes off with. But in disturbing the burial site they also disturb the Eye of Odin’s guardian and all hell breaks loose in a Norwegian Indiana Jones kind of way…
Ragnarok is a nicely made Scandinavian adventure movie which features some jaw-dropping locations including an island in the middle of a fjord, which turns out to be of archaeological importance. The level of acting is also very good with the Scandinavian cast coming across as very convincing, especially the children who add some much needed light relief when they take their single-parent father to task at various points along the way.
There must have been a reasonable budget for this film since most of it was obviously shot on location and the special effects are pretty decent, especially during a couple of exciting set-pieces that play out in the final act.
Apart from a few rather too convenient plot contrivances, Ragnarok flows well and provides an enjoyable 90 minutes worth of escapist entertainment, Scandinavian style.
Ragnarok – The Viking Apocalypse has just been released on DVD by Studiocanal and the disc’s only extra feature was a trailer for the film, which plays up the action elements, as you’d expect.