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Kon Tiki (2013)


Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 55
Fresh: 46
Rotten: 9

Critics Consensus: A well-crafted retelling of an epic true story, Kon Tiki is a throwback to old-school adventure filmmaking that's exciting and entertaining in spite of its by-the-book plotting.

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 24
Fresh: 20
Rotten: 4

Critics Consensus: A well-crafted retelling of an epic true story, Kon Tiki is a throwback to old-school adventure filmmaking that's exciting and entertaining in spite of its by-the-book plotting.


Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 11,961


Movie Info

Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl crossed the Pacific ocean in a balsa wood raft in 1947, together with five men, to prove that South Americans already back in pre-Columbian times could have crossed the sea and settle on Polynesian islands. After gathering financing for the trip with loans and donations, they set off on an epic 101 day-long journey across 8,000 kilometers, all while the world was watching. KON-TIKI tells about the origin of Heyerdahl's idea and the events surrounding the group's … More

PG-13 (for a disturbing violent sequence)
Directed By:
Written By:
Petter Skavlan
In Theaters:
Aug 27, 2013
Box Office:
The Weinstein Company - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Kon Tiki

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (46) | Rotten (9)

Kon-Tiki is a widescreen man-against-nature epic, beautifully shot and boasting seamless, stunning visual effects.

Full Review… | May 17, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

"Kon-Tiki" is awesome in the true sense of the word: You sit in awe of the bravery, audacity, stupidity and natural power on display. Ah, to imagine and dream. And to go forth.

Full Review… | May 17, 2013
Detroit News
Top Critic

How much is fiction and how much is deliberate confusion?

Full Review… | May 16, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Upbeat and less exciting than you might wish, though it could be a good adventure film for older kids.

Full Review… | May 16, 2013
Top Critic

A thrilling introduction to one of the more remarkable adventures of the post-World War II world.

Full Review… | May 15, 2013
Miami Herald
Top Critic

The characters don't register as much more than genre archetypes, but that doesn't spoil the fun, since the filmmakers re-create the journey in such vivid detail.

Full Review… | May 3, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

With a man-against-the-elements adventure like this one, the emphasis is, and should be, largely on spectacular depiction of the environment, and [the] directors...make use of the biggest budget yet afforded to a Norwegian film... [Blu-ray]

Full Review… | September 4, 2013
Groucho Reviews

Not only is it nicely paced, but it features gripping moments of intensity, as well as some impressive visual effects.

Full Review… | June 21, 2013

This unconventionally thrilling adaptation of the memoir by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl compensates with visual flair what it lacks in intimate details.

Full Review… | June 12, 2013

It's an absorbing and often lyrical piece of storytelling that doesn't overembellish the facts or rely on a pumped-up score or whiplash editing to heighten the dramatic action.

Full Review… | May 31, 2013
Austin Chronicle

"Kon-Tiki" has a grand, old-fashioned feel - a man-against-nature adventure that feels like it was made in - not just set in - the optimistic post-World War II era.

Full Review… | May 30, 2013
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

An adventure film driven by curiosity

Full Review… | May 26, 2013
Movie Habit

a credible account

Full Review… | May 25, 2013
Old School Reviews

Astonishing adventure - filmed simultaneously in Norwegian and in English.

Full Review… | May 22, 2013
SSG Syndicate

This is not simply a faithful recreation or hagiographic biopic, but rather widens the focus to include the toll Heyerdahl's obsession.

Full Review… | May 16, 2013

The film unfolds with earnest majesty, characterized by sweeping camera moves (shot by Geir Hartly Andreassen) and orchestra swells. But the sheer beauty also creates distance.

Full Review… | May 16, 2013
Kansas City Star

Has similar sea-going survival thrills as Life of Pi, but somehow means more.

Full Review… | May 14, 2013
East Bay Express

It all combines to create a great true-life adventure of a type no longer seen in the world.

Full Review… | May 9, 2013
National Post

Go on this journey.

Full Review… | May 3, 2013
Boston Herald

Audience Reviews for Kon Tiki

A Norwegian explorer floats from South America to the Polynesian Islands.
There's no doubt that this is a harrowing journey and it could be a compelling story, but the film leaves much to be desired. The group of explorers is composed of virtually identical people, and while a few of the characters squabble, there isn't enough compelling conflict between them to keep this film from falling into a second act lull. What is more, the inciting action of the film implies that the central conflict calls into question Thor's blind and foolhardy determination, but this conflict isn't explored or realized. Rather, Thor is proved correct and his determination is supported almost uncritically in the film's non-ironic up ending.
Overall, while the subject is good, the film is not.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Real adventure has no limits.

Excellent Film! This is the most expensive Norwegian film production ever, and the story is a Norwegian sacred explorers story, as good as they come, changing world history. Thankfully the film floats as good as the raft, and is well worth a watch. Great manuscript, beautifully filmed, good handcraft.

Kon-Tiki is such a delight to watch, because it's original, different and not your typical Hollywood adventure flick. No, the plot is not complex. It has no twists or turns, and Kon-Tiki certainly doesn't contain the amount of drama you'd expect. And this is what makes it good - the film is all about the sheer excitement of the adventure. Of course it isn't perfect, but for a Norwegian film, I'd say it holds its ground rather strongly. Go see it!

Legendary explorer Thor Heyerdal's epic 4,300-mile crossing of the Pacific on a balsawood raft in 1947, in an effort prove that it was possible for South Americans to settle in Polynesia in pre-Columbian times.

Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

Interesting part of history I had missed.

Thomas Johnston

Super Reviewer

Kon-Tiki is a film based on a true story, which was already depicted on film in the 1950, Academy Award-winning documentary of the same name, Kon-Tiki. This new film is a historical drama that tells the story of how adventurer Thor Heyerdahl (Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen) set out to prove his theory that people from South America could have settled the Polynesian islands in pre-Columbian times. He does so by finding a crew of fellow Scandinavians willing to go on a daring journey on a balsawood raft, constructed exactly as these people would have done in the past. Once at sea, the crew face various obstacles, which includes the weather and various predators of the sea, which is made more difficult by the fact that they are only working with equipment that would have existed in the past as well, as far as sailing the seas goes.

I really wanted to enjoy this film more than I actually ended up doing. Being one of the nominees for Best Foreign Film at the 85th Academy Awards and producing a fairly compelling trailer that really had me excited for the movie, I can chalk it up to expectations not quite being met, but at the same time, I believe Kon-Tiki has some obvious issues. It mainly comes down to the characters. Once we get to sea, they are almost all fairly bland individuals. There is maybe a trait or two to separate a couple of them, but for the most part, I didn't really engage with these people that are a part of a harrowing journey. This especially goes for the lead character, Thor, who ends up coming off as quite bland overall.

To its credit, Kon-Tiki is a gorgeous film, thanks to both its strong cinematography and visual effects by the company Rhythm & Hues, the team also responsible for Life of Pi (who nabbed an Academy Award for their effects work on that film, which also relied heavily on a great and beautiful depiction of life at sea). Kon-Tiki is happy to show off the boat, the seas, and the various creatures and obstacles the crew comes into contact with and those moments tend to be quite thrilling in the kind of way that has you gripped into the moment, regardless of what actually happened and what is being dramatized. That is the aspect that makes this film worth a viewing overall, even if I am more curious as to what the 1950 documentary is like, given that it was actually shot by the crew, in the moment.

I wanted to enjoy Kon-Tiki more, but the film felt like a merely average representation of an interesting story. The characters are too thin to make it more of an engaging feature and the fact that not enough really happened on this journey to make more of a big deal out of this feature ends up detracting from the film. It is no one's fault that adding a shark attack every so often to keep one engaged was necessary, but there just was not a whole lot more for me to sink my teeth into. It is certainly a gorgeous film, with enough moments to make it worth a look, just not any better.


Aaron Neuwirth

Super Reviewer

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