This past weekend I was finally able to catch Outlander during its very limited first weekend of release. Along with my pops, we ventured to Cherry Hill, NJ to catch a Sunday afternoon screening. Forever in limbo courtesy of The Weinstein Company, Outlander was never truly marketed in the United States. It’s pretty straightforward, humanoid alien crashes his ship in Viking times, and then they do battle with a really big, bad ass alien predator. How can Paul Blart: Mall Cop enjoy a modicum of success and two weeks in the #1 spot, but Outlander is cast asunder?
Perhaps we’ll never have an answer to this question, but Outlander is a competent sci-fi/actioner. The concept seemingly ludicrous on paper just plain works. If anyone in the 8th century was going to do battle with a bio-luminescent carnivorous predator from another world; it would have to be Vikings.
And who is more appropriate to join the Vikings in battle against an alien threat, Space Jesus … or Jim Caviezel as he is more commonly referred to as. Knock him if you want, but he’s a solid actor and for the life of me I don’t know how he hasn’t been cast in a superhero flick yet. Caviezel plays Kainan, an alien who looks suspiciously human whose ship burns up in Earth’s atmosphere, killing his crew. After crashing in a lake in Viking country, he realizes he’s SOL and activates a homing beacon and undergoes a seemingly painful crash course in Norse language and culture.
After the first 15 minutes, you kind of forget about the scifi element and that there’s just a bunch of Vikings drinking and fighting. It is after that point we are introduced to the Moorwen, who stowed away on Kainan’s ship which has now marked the Viking’s territory as his own. Unrelenting, and seemingly un-phased by the Vikings weaponry … it totally wrecks shit. Through flashbacks we learn that Kainan’s family was slaughtered by the Moorwen, as his people had tried to settle and colonize the Moorwen’s home planet.
This conflict reaches a head as the Viking equivalent of red shirts get slaughtered, and Kainan and the Moorwen engage in a final, brutal fight. Aided in this climactic battle by weapons forged from the wreckage of his ship, or as Charlie Jane Anders over at io9 described it, “a giant fucking sword made out of indestructible space material”. How can you not love that?
Outlander was great fun and definitely worth the price of admission (and gas since you’ll have to search this one out). It was refreshing to have a new take on the genre. I’m one who grows weary of remakes and reimaginings … just give me something that I haven’t seen before. And that’s exactly what Outlander does, while it may not enjoy theatrical success it will surely find an audience on DVD/Blu Ray.