09 April 2011

Movies: Outlander

Outlander (2008) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0462465/

When I noticed this film was getting near the top of my Netflix queue I could have sworn I've already watched it sometime in the past few months. However it doesn't show in my Netflix streaming history, so somehow or other I watched it, didn't review it, nor did I tell Netflix or IMDB I saw it. I'm pretty good about rating films on Netflix and IMDB so that if I forget I saw something I have a way of checking up on myself. This one must've slipped through the cracks.

One good indication this film left some sort of impression is that I do remember it. There's been a few flicks, mostly stinkers, that register zero on the recognition or remembrance scale. This isn't one of them so that's a good sign.

From what I recall a space ship crashes into a Norwegian lake on Earth somewhere around 700 AD.  Three occupants make it out of the ship. A creature that had stowed away on board and two soldiers, one soldier dies from his wounds. The other, Kainan, sets up a homing/rescue beacon, uses the ship's technology to load his brain with local language and other information, and prepares to set off after the creature. However he gets captured by some locals and held hostage. He tells them he's hunting a dragon, but they are skeptical, until something starts killing off rival villages and they claim it was a dragon that did it. He teams up with the locals to hunt the thing down and kill it, only to find it has started reproducing. We gain insight into what the creature is, Kainan's history with it, and how it got onto his ship in the first place via flashbacks.

A sci-fi action thriller.  I'm not sure how many other films out there explore the "scary alien creature and humanoid looking alien meet Viking warriors" angle.  If done well there's nothing wrong with the "what if" situations like this.  There's plenty of civilization eras to choose from, might as well ask away in film. I am looking forward to the Cowboys & Aliens flick coming out later this year.

This film sortof drudges around for about half the film before we finally get into the Vikings vs. Alien fights, so it is more a sci-fi thriller at first. Once they get to battling the action picks up. Visually its shot with the standard "cold bluish by day and amber glow by night" look. The creature sortof looks like an amalgam of most modern film scary space creatures. It has its thrilling and action-packed moments, its moments of despair and almost hopelessness.

My memory is fuzzy on the dialog in the film, I'm only recalling events as pictures and outcomes.

It's an entertaining enough film, and if you're the type of film viewer that likes a decent sci-fi flick once in a while you won't go wrong watching this. 
Either that, or enough time has elapsed I'm only remembering the best parts of the film and have forgotten the rest.

Stars James Caviezel as Kainan and John Hurt as the local Viking king Hrothgar.

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Edit January 2012:
Weird. I still haven't re-watched this film. When it came to my attention this review was getting views recently I was reminded the film exists. I read what I wrote and I'm starting to re-remember I liked the premise, didn't mind some of the execution, but other bits were somewhat corny and I think I felt more disappointed by the end of the film. Weird that all that bubbles up.
What's worse is it's making me think maybe I should re-watch it so I know where I really stand on the film. Did I like it or not? The words up there above the edit sounds like I thought I did, but re-reading them I start doubting myself.  If I watch it again and realize I really didn't like it after all I'm probably gonna kick myself for not remembering in the first place.

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