Friday, 29 April 2016

Outlander (2008)

What I knew of this film before I went in made me expect "Viking Predator", but instead it turned out to be more of an "Alien Beowulf".

I am okay with this.

In 709 CE, a spaceship crashes into what will one day be Norway.  There's only one survivor of the crash, a young man who uses some kind of supertech to instantly learn the Norse tongue, then straps on a gun and sets off into the woods.

Our protagonist - for clearly that's what he is - soon discovers a village where everyone has vanished ... though there is plenty of blood around.  Then he runs afoul of some Viking warriors, who are unimpressed by his explanation that he's "hunting a dragon".

Unfortunately for the Vikings, he's telling the truth.  It seems my "only one survivor" line from earlier isn't actually true.  A deadly alien predator known as a Moorwen also survived, and it's looking to get its Xenomorph on by eating a bunch of humans.  It's up to our otherworldly visitor and a handful of locals - including John Hurt, Sophia "Girl in the Fireplace" Myles and a criminally underused Ron Perlman - to take on the creature.

You may be thinking "it doesn't sound all that Beowulf-y", but there's no accident to the fact that the Viking settlement is named Herot, or that its king is Rothgar, I'm thinking.  Several thematic elements of the Beowulf legend are also included in the film, though I'll omit the details so as not to spoil too much about the movie.

Anyway, if you're a fan of films in the Predator or Aliens vein, this one is worth looking up.  It's got a much better cast and production values that many movies of this type (though there are a few scenes where the CGI-ness of the monster is pretty obvious), and while it's certainly not without its flaws, I found it pretty engaging for most of its run time.

A pretty fun SF monster/action movie.

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