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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 22 May 2009
At first glance this movie appears to be a strange mixture of "hard" sci-fi and mythological history flick, given the ancient nordic "Beowulf" saga an unexpected twist, with the hero actually being a marooned space-farer who unwittingly brought a monstrous extra-terrestial creature with him to early medieval earth. Monstrous Grendel and the dragon of beowulfic origins as alien lifeforms ? We have seen stranger explanations and plot-devices, haven't we ? And don't worry, not much wielding of laser's or futuristic tech to spoil the tone of the viking setting, mud and harsh conditions included.

What follows is well-filmed with a good sense for editing and sound mixture, lovingly outfitted , mostly superior acting by the cast including John Hurt and Ron Perlman in lesser, but memorable roles, more than just one-dimensional villains and as a nice bonus a fittingly epic soundtrack. Not to forget some dry wit by the local vikings, even if it does not dominate the movie, and an understated romance with the not-so-meek female lead, feisty Sophia Myles.

Yes, some factual liberties are being taken - such as oddly capable blacksmith shops and volcanic caves in Norway amongst the more noticable ones, not to mention the Sci-Fi elements - though mostly to facilliate the flow of the story, BUT..... show me one recent movie or even documentary that doesn't...
Even if the CGI is not quite cutting edge "Outlander" ends up being a far superior historical adventure flick than its obvious direct competitors "the 13th Warrior", the overly violent "Pathfinder" and the cheesy "Beowulf" of 2007 (or the even worse 90ies one...*shudder*)... or basically any historical/fantasy movie with a heroic theme made in the last decade except the hard-to-eclipse "LotR"-saga. IMHO, of course...

Yes, it did not make the "big screen" anywhere but for some select festivals (I caught it in Hamburg's fantasy festival, lucky me ) , but in all honesty, that simply proves just how idiotic some studios treat the material they are given... so what else is new ?

Heartily recommended
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on 30 May 2009
***NB: Review based on the Canadian blu-Ray which is already released***

The first thing I must say is about the Blu-Ray itself. The picture transfer is very sharp and clear even during the (many) dark scenes. Sound is also superb, although only listed as Dolby Digital it nearly blew our speakers away - as good as if not better than some DTS soundtracks. If the UK BD release manages this quality, viewers are in for a treat.

Turning to the story, essentially it is a re-telling of Beowulf vs Grendel only in this case Beowulf is the humanoid alien Kainan stranded on Earth when his spacecraft crash lands, as a result of the creature - a Moorwen, representing Grendel - that had stowed away on board. However unlike Predator, AvP etc. the action all takes place in 9th century Norway not modern day America.

The film combines elements of the Beowulf movies, 13th Warrior, Pathfinder and more contemporary monster movies. My only slight complaint is that in actual fact very little play is made of the fact that here we have a person from an advanced civilisation who, despite having retrieved some of his tech from the crashed ship, effectively goes native straight away. This is helped by a convenient "Matrix" style mind probe that implants the Norse language in about 45 seconds! Maybe his race has a none interference policy but given revelations about why they are fighting the Moorwens later in the movie, seems unlikely. While not expecting Army of Darkness, "Now listen up you primates..." style interaction more could definitely have been made of this.

After overcoming the initial suspicions of the Viking tribe Kainan is fairly readily integrated as a warrior and only just in time as first a rival tribe, then the Moorwen attack. Special effects are well done and the Moorwen reminded me at times of the Balrog from the LOTR movies. Not sure what certificate this will be in the UK but it is quite gory in places particularly towards the end of the movie. Although largely predictable there are a couple of twists, as I mentioned above about the back story of how the Moorwen came to be on the spaceship and the ending is actually quite satisfying including how the person closest to Kainan sees him - "I'm the only one who knows his secret", but quite wide of the mark!

The music score is very good and not only complements the action but would make for good listening in its own right. I hadn't heard of composer Geoff Zanelli before but a quick Google reveals him to be from the Hans Zimmer/Klaus Badelt cadre and style.

In conclusion a very enjoyable movie on an outstanding Blu-Ray - just a pity more mileage wasn't made out of the spaceman in medieval village than was actually the case, which is why 4 stars not 5.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 February 2016
This 2008 SF horror film is set in eight century Norway and stars Jim Caviezel as Kainan, a humanoid extra-terrestrial whose damaged spaceship crashes to Earth, but which also contains a fearsome alien creature called Moorwen. What follows is entertaining fare as Kainan and the local Vikings attempt to kill the beast (a cross between the Balrog in ‘Lord of the Rings’ and one of the bugs in ‘Starship Trooper’) before it kills them. The movie has good CGI, terrific energy, appropriate broad humour and a playful mockery running through it, with some notable set-pieces, in particular a contest in which Kainan Jack Huston’s swaggering Viking warrior, Wulfric, jump around a mead hall on shields held aloft by drunken comrades. The ‘Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ angle is played to the full and John Hurt is marvellous as whiskery King Hrothgar while Sophia Myles is appropriately feisty as his warrior daughter Freya. There is a backstory revealed involving interplanetary warfare and mass extermination which unusually challenges you to feel some sympathy for the dragon. Far from being a masterpiece but nevertheless well worth watching, as I did when I rented it after reading some reviews.
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on 8 March 2015
Great film, with excellent performances from Jim Caviezel (not normally a huge fan but think he's really good here), Sophia Myles + John Hurt in particular. Film poster / DVD art is a bit misleading; makes the film look more sci-fi than it really is. It's really an action/adventure set in the Viking era, it just so happens that one of the characters has crash-landed his ship from a distant planet and brought an alien predator with him. This adds a twist to the Viking saga but it's essentially the tale of a village trying to defend itself against the predator (and rival villages / kings), with a bit of romance and some tribal politics and rivalries thrown in.

Really enjoyable action movie, which is fast-paced and has plenty of action, some decent effects and enough plot to keep you interested throughout - which is more than can be said for a lot of action movies these days! Blood, death, great fight sequences, bit of unusual alien tech - check. But also a proper storyline - thank you.
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on 22 March 2009
The plot of this movie has been well described. I guess my liking it is a matter of taste. It doesn't try to be anything profound, but the attention to science fictional detail won me over. In fact I was sold on it in the first five minutes when we see Kainen has to be taught Norse by a dangerous and painful machine learning technique - imagine that, a universe where everyone does **not** speak American English!!! Apart from that you have brave hero, spunky heroine, 'orrible monster (excellent CGI) and reasonably non-insulting picture of Viking society. Hell, 5 out of 5.
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I really like this.

It is daft to the point of being preposterous, and I'm afraid Wulfric's accent is annoying. This aside, all the cast are either good or simply entertaining. Jim Caviezel is someone I always enjoy watching, and in this, while his natural dourness sometimes goes a little far, he does a good job. John Hurt is always good for me, and Ron Perlman, well, another favourite. The scenery is lovely, too.

The story, well, it's Beowulf with an alien Grendel. As such, it is by a country mile the best version of that wonderful tale I've seen filmed. The monster is good value, even if illogical. It could have stood a longer running time for me, with some of the deleted/ extended scenes that are in the Extras.

Oh yes, it's a it cheesy, but nonetheless great fun and good entertainment. Definitely four stars, equally definitely not five for me.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 July 2014
A spaceship crash lands on Earth , Norway, 709 AD. Only 2 occupants survive, Kainan (Caviezel) & an alien predator known as the Moorwen. Seeking revenge for those it perceived to have wronged it, Kainan must convince & work with the local village of warring Vikings to hunt it down & kill it, before it destroys them all!

The concept of Outlander is one that requires your suspension of disbelief, to enjoy it's Sci-Fi/Medieval fusion. The forefront of the movie is this life & death game of cat & mouse with an alien monster, around a beautifully recreated Viking village & surrounding rural area , that offers up some great action sequences & top notch visual effects. Away from the action, in times of calm, is a story of understanding the motives behind each character, romance & overcoming the boundaries of being a stranger to work as one to defeat a common enemy. The latter does result in the pace of the film dropping a little in places, but as a whole it was a good mix. In fact the cut content appears to be mostly this background content, so that's worth watching for those who like a bit more depth.

Jim Caviezel's (Person of Interest) huge screen presence as Kainan is very good, ably managing the contrast from wounded soul to level headed & experienced warrior. John Hurt's (Alien) gravitas makes him easy to believe as the ageing Viking King , Hrothgar. Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) is convincing as the young waspish future King, Wulfric & Sophia Myles (Tristan And Isolde) was great as the beautiful, feisty & warlike King's daughter, Freya. Also co-stars of note, Ron Perlman (Hellboy) who briefly shines as the snarling man mountain Gunnar, King of the rival village.

In conclusion, despite a few flaws & somewhat predictable nature, it's Sci-Fi/Medieval fusion works surprisingly well. The Independent film production budget managed to deliver solid action, good acting, great special effects/costumes & a story that leaves you entertained. If you like films such as The 13th Warrior or Pathfinder then you will likely enjoy this. Contains mild language (1 F-bomb early in) & graphic violence. Recommended.
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on 1 September 2009
Having heard lots of good things about this 'blink and you missed it at the cinema' film, I picked it up.

This film is good fun and flows well. I was expecting all the good reviews i'd heard to be hype but, nope, they were pretty accurate.

Don't let the fact this film was poorly served at the cinema put you off, this is definitely NOT direct to DVD trash. The acting is convincing; high production values throughout; some superb location work and the CG was rather excellent. The film is a sci-fi re-telling of the Beowulf legend and it certainly clicked for me, it remained exciting throughout and I was impressed that I actually felt sympathy for the Moorwen, the poor creature was a victim as much as a predator.

I would easily rate this film as being superior to much of the "blockbuster" trash that came out this summer, I only wish i'd had the chance to see it on the big screen.
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on 14 March 2015
A bit of a romp and good performances (esp from the old hands, John Hurt and Ron Perlman), but as a derivative from the Beowolf saga it's not as watchable as Beowolf & Grendel ( with Gerard Butler in the lead role). The latter benefits from (a) the better adherence to the story, at least to a point, (b) doesn't take itself too seriously, (c) the great Icelandic scenery and (d) a great supporting cast, esp Eddie Marsan as the faintly mad Irish priest and Sarah Polley as the somewhat laconic and sexy Seer, not to forget the big guy who plays Grendel.

The Sci-Fi aspect of Outlander is virtually irrelevant - it's an uncomfortable marriage. DVD destined for a young relative.
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on 26 April 2016
This is both sci-fi and sword and magic myth. It starts off as classic spaceship crash on strange planet story. Only the natives are Vikings in the 7th centaury AD. Then we are face with a classic mythic tale but with difference, the Vikings with the help of the spaceman hunt down and kill and alien that is more fierce than Predator. All making up to a real sci-fi classic movie, like Forbidden Planet.
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