It started out a lazy night in like any other. The bros and I scrolled through our Netflix options briefly before settling on a PG-13 adventure film titled Ragnarok. Not a Marvel movie that doesn't yet exist, but definitely relating to Norse mythology. It didn't take us long to discover though, a very interesting thing: the film was Norwegian -- and therefore, in Norwegian. So we did the most obvious thing to do at that point; we turned off the subtitles and watched the whole movie like that, relying only on our intuition and guesswork to fill in the the plot.
|I thought it would be an amusing experience, but it wound up being way more interesting than I imagined.|
It was a family adventure, borrowing plays from Steven Spielberg, Jurassic Park, and Indiana Jones, about a historian/archaeologist of some kind (Pål Sverre Hagen) who along with his friend and coworker (Nicolai Cleve Broch) discovers the location where a Norse myth occurred. He, his two children, his friend, and the friend's sister (best guess) (Sofia Helin) travel to the small, hidden island in search of artifacts... but what they find is even more... alive.
First of all, this was no ground-breaking adventure story. It had a classic and fairly predictable plot. However, it was all done very well. As far as I could tell, the plot was thought through very neatly and concisely, and while they borrowed the fun and obvious elements from Spielberg and Indy, they also used the harder to pinpoint, but just as important elements that make those films great. Ragnarok has great adventure pacing that only feels slow very occasionally and was definitely not lazily thrown together. It features a unique location and several very memorable and fun action set pieces that keep the movie fresh and thrilling.
|Translated literally, "Gåten Ragnarok" is "The Riddle Ragnarok." The American title is simply "Ragnarok," but I think we can do better... The Mystery of Ragnarok. The Legend of Ragnarok. The Mystery of the Legend of Ragnarok!|
Our understanding of all the speech-related element came from listening to inflection, observing body language, and an understanding of what is usually said in particular cliched situations. This created some very cool side effects though, because obviously some things were just too detailed and arbitrary to know. Like, we knew that the kids' mom had died, but whenever people had a conversation about her, we didn't know exactly what they were saying, just that it was about her, and the speaker's emotion based on inflection.
I found it very interesting to discover that not knowing the details of a situation didn't at all hinder my emotional connection with the characters and their situations. In fact, I wonder if it was higher than if I had totally understood them. Usually sub-par scripts are most often what breaks the fourth wall for me, and in this movie's case, I honestly have no idea of the script's quality, and cannot be influenced. Here, instead, all I got was the emotion of the actor, which was realistic all-around. This was by no means a high-emotion movie, but every little bit was involving and immersing way past what I would normally expect out of a small adventure tale like this. So, in a way, this was the most realistic script ever in my eyes. Super strange, but accurate.
|Yes, it is a family adventure. See, there are KIDS being terrorized by that monster!|
Gåten Ragnarok had it's share of pitfalls and corny moments, but was overall an exciting, fun, and thoroughly entertaining adventure tale. Though I think the novelty of not understanding the language enhanced my enjoyment of it in an incredibly unique way, I thoroughly expect to enjoy it again when I re-watch it -- using the subtitles this time to check my work.
Out of curiosity, have any of you ever watched a foreign language film without the subtitles?