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.