Kon-Tiki Movie Review
The more I think about it, Life of Pi was a stupid movie. Sure, it looked great and was downright dazzling on the big screen, but watch it on a television and it's a film about a CGI tiger that fluctuates between having terrific and mediocre special effects. The story is sort of dull, the ending anticlimactic and the whole religion piece doesn't make any sense. Thankfully, there's Kon-Tiki.
Kon-Tiki is one of those great movies that gets nominated for an Oscar and then is released several months later after no one cares anymore. Filmed twice - once in its native Norwegian and again in English so the other 99.9% of the world can follow it without subtitles - Kon-Tiki is one of the best movies of 2012 and just a truly downright enjoyable film to watch.
Thematically, Life of Pi and Kon-Tiki are worlds apart, but since both movies take place on a raft in the South Pacific, involve many encounters with scary sea animals and ligers and technically were released in the same year, the same thought kept reoccurring over and over to me as I watched this Norwegian masterpiece: this movie is so much better than Life of Pi.
Kon-Tiki is about the true story of Thor Heyerdahl and his 1947 voyage on a wooden raft from Peru to the Polynesian islands. Along the way, he and his crew encounter sharks, whale sharks, flying fish and the obligatory storm, among other hazards.
Despite starring Norwegian actors and operating on a $16 million budget, Kon-Tiki looks and feels like a big budget Hollywood movie, and harkens back to adventure films of old. The special effects are terrific and alluring (yes, better than Best Visual Effects-winning Life of Pi's), and directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg paint the entire film using a glossy, colorful palette. The movie is simply beautiful.
More importantly, Kon-Tiki is a fun, exciting, engaging and often funny film. Pål Sverre Hagen delivers a charismatic performance as Heyerdahl and the rest of the cast contribute to make what is, in many ways, a small film feel very large. The movie has adventure, humor and drama, and every element blends seamlessly with the next.
Kon-Tiki is an excellent movie and well worth seeing, even if it's months too late to matter.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.