Trollwood Reviews: Outlander (2008)

       Space marine crash lands in a Viking fjord with an angry alien on board. Glorious mayhem ensues.

       This movie is as fun as it sounds and a lot better than I expected.

       I can understand why people might be a bit sceptical about the idea of Vikings vs Aliens- but really it's no crazier than Green Berets versus Aliens when you think about it.

       Outlander could have been terrible- a ridiculous, verbose, campy, CGI-ridden trainwreck of a movie, but it's none of those things. The dialogue is sparing and limited to exchanges that advance the storyline. It's obvious the film-makers knew they were dealing with something totally outlandish (see what I did there?) and so made every effort to ramp up the plausibility level. And they succeeded.


       The performances are strong. Jim Caviezel is not an actor known for his wide emotional range, but his slightly distracted, otherworldly onscreen presence works well here in the role of Kainan, the stranded space marine. John Hurt plays Viking chieftain Hrothgar with trademark intensity (he's popping up in all my favourite shows lately- Jim Henson's The Storyteller for one) and Perlman is totally absorbing as Gunnar the warhammer-wielding berserker. Sophia Myles and Jack Huston hold up their end too.

       The alien Moorwen is a menacing, lightning-fast displacer beast and its den will feature in my nightmares for years to come (I'd be surprised if there were that many people in Dark Ages Scandinavia to begin with..). The action sequences are gripping and immersive, except for that bit where the massive beast is supposedly hiding behind Viking laundry (sorry- I had to get that off my chest).

       If I have one criticism to make of Outlander it's that it drags a bit in places (the same could be said of most movies I guess). The lengthy eye-contact sequences between Kainan and Freya in particular had me glancing at my watch- but these are minor criticisms of what is a highly entertaining old-school Swords & Sorcery romp...with frickin' laser beams.

       Interested? Trollwood has the blu-ray version here. The DVD is being re-released very soon (August '15). Find it >here< when it's out.



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