Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Vikings and Aliens

Probably the most entertaining fantasy/sci-fi genre film I’ve seen in five years, Outlander, was handled most bafflingly by it’s distributors (The Weinstien Company), bypassing theaters almost entirely, and being dumped on home video without fanfare. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why. Seriously, it's got spaceships, Vikings, swordplay and a badass alien monster – who could ask for anything more in a movie?!

In 709 A.D., an alien spaceship crashes into a Norwegian lake, with two survivors – a humanoid space marine named Kainan (Jim Caviezel, The Passion of the Christ) and a bestial predator known as the Moorwen. The monster immediately sets out to prey on the local Vikings, while Kainan is first captured, then accepted by a tribe led by a warrior king named Rothgar (John Hurt). He falls in love with Rothgar’s daughter (Sophia Myles, Underworld 1 & 2, and Doctor Who's "Girl In The Fireplace"), and leads the Vikings in battle against the creature.

Beautifully shot and energetically paced by director Howard McCain, Outlander is a surprisingly satisfying genre gem. Even Caviezel’s bland performance can’t diminish the fun and excitement generated by the quality production values, solid cast (which includes the always welcome Ron Perlman as a rival Viking chief) and spectacularly effective special effects. The Canadian location work – augmented by digital matte paintings – is stunning, and the action scenes are handled with aplomb.

Genius Products’ DVD presents the film in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks perfect. Audio is a robust Dolby 5.1. Extra features include a commentary track by writer/director McCain, and producers Dirk Blackman, Chris Roberts and John Schimmel. There are a handful of deleted scenes, production design galleries, effects tests, animatics, and the theatrical trailer.

Highly recommended.

9 comments:

Craig Zablo said...

This is one that I've wanted to see. Your review makes me think it will eventually find a place in my dvd library.

Badelaire said...

It's sitting at home in its Netflix sleeve as I type this. I really want to give it a gander this evening - I've heard nothing but praise for this movie!

Mercurie said...

As someone who enjoys a good viking movie (of which there have been far too few), I really want to see this. I guess I'll have to get it on Netflix at some point!

Charles Gramlich said...

I heard something about this but didn't know the basic plot. I definitely want to see this.

Badelaire said...

Watched it last night. Pretty fun, entertaining movie. There are a few head-scratching moments here and there, but hell, it's a movie with vikings and aliens. Once you remind yourself of that now and again, it is entirely watchable.

Jay Amabile said...

this one totally passed me by but now I'm going to have to check it out!

NoelCT said...

I just snagged myself a copy last week, but haven't found the time to give it a watch. Glad to hear it's as fun as it looks.

Let this be a lesson to filmmakers: stop working for the Weinsteins. This isn't the first film they've bungled the distribution of, and it most certainly won't be the last. Even worse, though, is how they often take the films from the creators and make massive changes, then toss in on a shelf for a couple years before eventually spitting their "new and improved" cut straight to disc, never letting the original see the light of day.

Sorry for the ramble. I just loathe the Weinsteins.

El Vox said...

The last Netflix DVD I saw was The Friends of Eddie Coyle with Robert Mitchum a 70's crime drama about him running guns, and also being an informer playing both sides of the law. A good movie if you haven't seen it. I'll que Outlander sounds like someting I'd like. There are several comics that concerns the Vikings and such, I've not heard too much about them, but they look intersting too.

wiec? said...

never heard of this but when vikings and aliens fight it's like two great tastes that taste great together. thanks for the recommend.