Sunday, 1 August 2010

Alien vs Vikings [Review: Outlander]

A spaceship crash-lands in a Viking fjord, survived by a humanoid soldier from an interstellar army… and something else. Outlander, a mid-budget movie, features a great principle cast: Jim Caviezel as the alien warrior and John Hurt as the ageing Viking leader, while Sophia Myles is brilliantly cast against type as a flame-haired, sword wielding Viking princess. The monster that has been unleashed on the Viking homestead, complicating the local and inter-tribal tensions, is also excellent even though it is yet another Giger-inspired alien, and the war against it is action-packed: Caviezel’s warrior has superior knowledge of how to fight it, but none of his advanced technology to back him up, and not everything goes to plan.

The real stars of this film though are the legion of extras – Viking re-enactment enthusiasts – who make up the tribe and bring the massed battle and scenes of drunken celebration to life. A few sequences are over-long but they are the exception in this wonderful film.

5 comments:

Y8 said...

Seems like a nice movie to watch.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Hi Y8 - if you see it, let me know if you agree ;)

Rusty Webb said...

I saw this a few months ago after stumbling across the trailer on the internet. I usually avoid sci fi/fantasy movies I've never heard of because I'm fairly certain that if it was any good there would be some buzz.

But I was intrigued enough to give it a shot and wow, was I stunned. I loved it. After having time to consider it though, I think this is one of those movies that has to sneak up on you before you can really enjoy it. If I had gone in expecting greatness I would have been disappointed, but having no expectations whatsoever before I sat down to watch added to my enjoyment immensely.

I was surprised when I looked online and found out what the budget was for this movie though. I thought I was watching a shoestring film making at its best. But you correctly pointed out that this was a mid-budgeted flick. If I recall correctly, the production budget for this movie wasn't much less than for the original Matrix film (well, after inflation and such maybe that is a bit of a stretch). Given all those factors I'm just not sure I would have felt the same way about it if I'd know those things before viewing.

Oops, I'm rambling. It was good. I'll shut up.

Maurice Mitchell said...

This proves that all you need is a good title and the rest writes itself. Not necessarily well-written but...

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Thanks for the additional review Rusty. There was a little buzz - I remember reading somewhere about this film when it was still in production - I was waiting for the DVD release as it sounded cool.

The whole thing about expectations is fraught - that's one of the nice things about seeing films you don't know much about, or indie/smaller films that haven't gone through the Hollywood promotion mill. Even though I'm so easily pleased, for the big "buzz" films I try to avoid trailers, articles and reviews altogether. The exception is J.J. Abrams who I think makes the best cryptic trailers on the planet.

Maurice - your comment could refer equally to the film or to my review ;) thanks!