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)
All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012