Wednesday, 24 February 2010



Dir: Howard McCain
Cast: James Caviezel, Sophia Myles, Jack Huston, John Hurt, Ron Perlman, Bailey Maughan
USA/Germany, 2009 (DVD)

Seen: May 2009 on DVD and revisited February 22, 2010 for the Sword & Sandal Marathon*

Although watching Outlander for the Sword & Sandal Marathon wasn't a first viewing, it was reaffirmed that the movie gets more and more enjoyable upon revisiting. It's a creative re-interpretation of a the Beowulf story with a scifi twist. Sounds crazy, but it works, perhaps because although it feels futuristic yet historical the heart of the story itself is timeless.

The characters in the film all feel like start with molds we are familiar with, but then bend them and brighten them to make the more interesting that shallow interpretation we can often see on the screen. James Caviezel plays Kainan, the Outlander, and does a great job of bringing us someone who is skilled but lacks some of the social skills or understanding of the setting of the film. We also have Freya, played by Sophia Myles, who is a highlight of the film being a believable strong female character in terms of physically as well as in spirit. I absolutely loved Freya. To round things out we have the power hungry Wulfric played by Jack Huston, who centres the period and setting of the film brilliantly.

The great characters are a strong element of the film but I also enjoyed how it explored the themes of leadership and power, and how the drive for them can come from different perspectives and motivations. I really enjoyed this aspect of the film, how it wasn't over the top preachy but just showed different perspectives without placing that much judgment. I also enjoyed the perspective that is showed on a society reaction to wasn't unified. How refreshing that people would have different opinions here one a scenario. There's a thought! Or several thoughts, technically.

It's a bit of a stretch for the marathon, but it is historically set and their are swords. It has the spirit of a sword & sandals film with a hero journey at it's core and an overall adventure quality to it. And, I'll admit, I wanted to opportunity to watch it again and review it to share how much I enjoy it. I love the character of Freya, I love the humour spattered in here and there and I love the overall looks and feel of the film. The settings had a great blend of rustic and Viking feel to it that permeated the environment on every level. The only thing I didn't love were the effects, which looked great, I'm just a fan of models with these kinds of films but oddly this didn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the film in any way.

I'm still very surprized that this film was never released in Toronto. It did receive a limited releases in the States and even here in Canada according to IMDb, but not here in the T-dot. It's really too bad I would have loved to see it on the big screen. But, now I can rewatch it as much as I like on DVD.

Shannon's Overall View:
I love it
I own it
I recommend it to fans of fantasy & action and new takes on historical stories

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

* The Sword & Sandal Marathon is a 13 week marathon exploring sword & sandal films in anticipation of the 2010 release of Clash of the Titans (2010)


DEZMOND said...

I must admit I've enjoyed this movie as well although I know many people like to thrash it. I like sf movies and epics set in some unusual places.

Suzie Ridler said...

I certainly enjoyed watching it with you Shannon, I loved it too. So cool you included it as one of your sword and sandals films!

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Really Dezmond? I've not heard too much bad about it, and the only thing that didn't work for me was the effects. I wonder if expectations played a part there.

I had so much fun watching it with you Suzie! It was crazy how quickly R got the references, though!

Suzie Ridler said...

Well he is a smarty pants! LOL.

Castor said...

I have to say I never heard of this movie. I will definitely give it a try when I have a chance!

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

It's totally worth giving a chance Castor, I hope you enjoy it :)

The Film Connoisseur said...

I kind of hated this one. IT was ripping off Predator and Highlander..and it was too predictable. It felt like it didnt have an ounce of originality in it.

I liked the monster though and the gory stuff.

elrey said...

Hey Shannon -

Thank you for the kind words about my movie. You might already know this about the film was made in Canada for very little money. Still, we did the best we could for the resources we had. And to answer other critics on this site, of course we knew about every single reference we were making to other movies. But it was not done out of stupidity or a lack of imagination, but out of love, respect, and a sense of fun. If that didn't work for some people than there is nothing I can do. Right or wrong, it was the choice I made. Also, we had been trying to make this movie since 1992, so if some things seem a little retro now or over used, well they where not so old back when we first came up with idea. Since then there has been a lot of cinematic history gone under the bridge. By the time we got to make our film, movies like The Lord Of The Rings, plus a few other Beowulf films had all taken a little bloom off our rose. Again, nothing to be done about it. Its just an historical fact. Still, in the end, I am proud that that we got it done at all and that you enjoyed the results of our dreams. Best Wishes, Howard McCain, Writer/Director of OUTLANDER

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Wow, Howard McCain, thank you so much for your comment! I actually had no idea it was filmed here in Canada, that's awesome. What an amazing journey it must have been to have worked on the film since '92 bringing it to life.

I'm so glad that you did - I enjoy the film each and every time I watch it. Which is often.

Thank you again for your comment, it's wonderful to hear your perspective on the film.

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