Friday, 22 April 2011

Outlander (DVD)

Epic Viking SciFi 5*
An epic mythological chopper saga but with a plausible science fiction theme. It was the SF aspect which appealed to me most; the gore, of which there is plenty, not so much. I'd have given four stars for less blood. Caviezel is at his enigmatic best. Sophia Myles is a treat, both visually and as a powerful female character. She plays the fiery daughter (Freya) of the Viking chief (ably portrayed by John Hurt) and she has any man she comes across reeling, literally. Rival chief Gunnar, played by Ron Perlman is truly terrifying in hammer-wielding battle mode and only slightly less fierce than the monster itself!

The monster is all the better and more impressive, mysterious and scary for being only glimpsed and not fully seen until well into the film. This means that it benefits from the point of view that things scary are scariest when not seen, only imagined, and from being pretty fearful when it does finally appear. Possibly making reference to the `Alien' films, in one scene a monster drips saliva from glassy fangs onto Freya's cheek. Which brings me to special effects, here used in exactly the right proportion to generate the suspense and excitement required at the right moments, without being over-used or obtrusive.

More of what keeps the film moving, apart from the action, is the use of an inspiring sequence of locations: low earth orbit, desert planet landscapes, underwater, underground, and mist-shrouded forest with sunlight shafts stabbing through in anticipation of what is to follow. The SF special effects are excellent also and do a fine job of depicting an advanced civilization making a terrible error.
Plot treats include: wily norseman captures well-armed starman, using his horse; the boy with the bread; and of course, `shields'.

The film is well-paced and the entire narrative lavishly envisioned. The costumes and weaponry are spot on for creating atmosphere.

Finally, the bonus features are excellent, especially the deleted scenes. Although I can understand why some of the scenes were cut to maintain the momentum, they are particularly worth watching because they add humanity and soul to the story.

A breath-taking action ride. Incredible it wasn't widely distributed at the cinema, watch it now!

Amazon UK Outlander DVD
Amazon US Outlander DVD 

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