Do you ever find a film that is nothing like the trailer you saw of it, and middle of the road synopsis that makes the film look like something that would not grasp you fully? Valhalla: legend of Thor has that. Yet, it is a film that is full of surprises and is far more entertaining than you would imagine. A real treat of a film that explores the world of the Nordic Gods by those who created them.
No man, woman or child may defy the gods. When Thor (Roland Møller) and Loki (Dulfi Al-Jabouri) seek refuge in the home of mortals, the youngest son fails to heed a warning from the gods. As atonement for the family’s sins, the gods take the two youngest children Tjalfe (Saxo Moltke-Leth) and Røskva (Cecilia Loffredo) under their wing and embark on an epic adventure from Midgard to Valhalla that will see them stare down ruthless giants, barbaric gods and the dreaded wolf Fenrir.
These are iterations of the Norse Gods that you will not have seen before. Thor is gruff and as rough as they come. He isn’t the carefree jovial character that we have seen in other films. He is serious, he is frustrated and Roland Møller plays him very well. It is refreshing to see him and the other Gods in this way. Equally Dulfi Al-Jabouri as Loki plays his character more on the sinister side. He is the mischievous God that we know. Yet there is an edge to him that we have not seen before. Our young leads shine here though with Loffredo’s Røskva particularly strong. She allows her character to be strong and forthright even in a world of Gods when she is a mere mortal.
Storywise, it is a pretty standard one and while it works well, there are occasions that it feels as if they ran out of money or didn’t have the ideas solidified. A scene involving Odin disagreeing with Røskva on going back for a character due to the danger finishes with her doing the simplest thing. It falls a little flat on those occasions, but it doesn’t lose you. We also focus far more on the mythology of the Norse Gods with the opening sequences a great highlight. The imagery is an obvious connection to the comics that it originates from. These Gods are not fantastical heroes, they are proper warriors, and they are scarred and well-worn from their battles. More akin to Vikings than the classical Gods.
This imagery and settling allow for the audience to expect something a bit darker than our usual fare. But that never really comes as despite it being darker and grounded in scope it is still aimed at a wide as possible audience. For a film with such a small budget, the effects work here is astonishingly strong. There is also a clever use of the effects, Fenrir standing from a distance for example instead of a lot of full shots of him. More closed in angles to allow for when we do get our wide expansive shots of Valhalla that the money has been spared well. It is very solid work all around.
Those expecting a Marvel-Esque venture will be disappointed to find that this is a darker tale (well certainly in the lack of lighting and vivid colours. No, this is a film that tries it’s best to settle in the world of Norse mythos and thus, more of a realistic feel towards it. Valhalla looks like a place you would imagine existing. The Rainbow Bridge isn’t like the one in Mario Kart, in fact as it is in the clouds, the condensation causes characters to get damp. It is simple, but a nice touch.
Valhalla itself isn’t just a city, it has castles and forests and caves. It feels like a place and that is something that the filmmakers have done very well here. I believe it when they say I am where I am thanks to the marvellous scenery we are watching. This is a grounded film (as well as one can be about Norse Gods) and it works.
Thor is notably not the star of the film with his name. That pleasure goes to Cecilia Loffredo’s Røskva. He is merely our guide into the world of the Gods and he is a great guide and I can imagine more tales with these characters being made down the line. Or at the least, there should be as this was a solidly entertaining piece. This is a low budget piece, but one that knows what it is and does what it does very well. Everything works in Valhalla: Legend of Thor, from the cast to the accessible story to the gorgeous visuals. There is a lot to enjoy here in this rather humanist look at the world of the Norse Gods.
Ignore the trailer for Valhalla: Legend of Thor as it misses sells the film, ignore the title. Go in with just the odd review that doesn’t give the game away and enjoy this jaunt into Valhalla with mere mortals and the Gods. May there be many more.
Signature Entertainment presents Valhalla: Legend of Thor on Amazon Prime Video 27th November.
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