Film review: Outlander (2008), directed by Howard McCain
“Be vewy vewy quiet … we’we hunting dwagons…”
A man called Kainan (James Caviezel), from another planet, crash lands his spaceship on Earth, AD 709 … in Norway, of all places. There are Vikings who take him prisoner, and then he joins in the fight against a big, bad, tentacled, glow-in-the-dark monster who eats people.
Ladies and potential gentlemen of the audience, I give you Outlander from 2008. Allegedly a Beowulf story but with aliens. It’s sci-fi mixed with history, has cute guys in it and it’s set in Norway. It was filmed in Canada apparently, but hey, those woods looked Scandinavian enough for my liking!
I really enjoyed the costumes and scenography, like the fact that the main hall had a big tree growing inside it and out of the roof – it was gorgeous, seriously. Although it was rather gory for my taste, it was a good watch. There’s even a bit of romance in there, and that makes me give the thumbs up. Unlike Knowing, I’m pretty sure this one made it’s point about deity pretty clear. If faced with a peckish alien, a cross and a prayer won’t save you.
Sophia Myles was the chieftain’s (John Hurt) daughter Freya, and she wasn’t a wallflower by any means. Although her introduction had me cringing a bit because of the outfit – skimpier than Xena’s – she quickly changed into something which felt more … historically suitable. I enjoyed the character, she kicked some serious butt! She didn’t take no for an answer and got to wield swords and be good at it as well.
Ron Perlman, here not dressed up as a big, red cat-lover, but as Gunnar, the bearded chieftain of another Viking clan. Good performance as always.
Oh, I guess I should mention Jack Huston as Wulfric as well. Reminded me of Éomer from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Which isn’t a bad thing by any means. Huston’s set to be in the third installment of the Twilight films. In the words of Mr T: I pity the fool.
Kainan spent most of the film looking incredibly broody, but with good reason: I am a man with a Tragic Past, I have Lost my Loved Ones, I’m Stranded on a Prehistoric Alien Planet and now I’ve been taken Prisoner by Vikings. Woe is me. So no wonder he keeps looking as if he’s got a permanent wedgie. And yet, although it gets a bit much from time to time, it’s still okay, because he does brooding rather well, as it happens.
Can’t help loving Lost Souls (reading a book on hero and heroine archetypes) and how they keep on looking like they’re constantly in pain. At least he does something about it. If he just walked around looking miserable and sat in a corner and said “woe is me” for real, he’d just be emo and that would annoy the crap out of anyone. But alas, there are even points when he smiles, and the way he takes care of cute little orphan Erick, well that’s just sort of heartwarming.
The running-on-shields game was quite interesting. Seemed like the sort of thing the Vikings would actually do. On a side note, something that struck me and won’t go away: Could you actually name your children after deities back in them days? Wouldn’t that be seen as sacrilegious?
3 out of 5 fire pits.