Outlander (2009)

Rated: R for violence.
Length: 115 minutes
Grade: CDCD=C-
Budget: $50 million
Box Office: $6 million (0.166 U.S., 6 Intl., DVD)

Written by: Dirk Blackman and Howard McCain (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) Directed by: Howard McCain (First movie)
Starring: Jim Caviezel, John Hurt, Sophia Myles, Jack Huston, and Ron Perlman.

A spaceman crashes into Earth in Viking territory in 709 AD and teams up with the locals to destroy the dragon-like being that he brought with him which threatens all of them with destruction.

Entertainment Value: C
How did two no-name writers score a $50 million movie with Jim Caviezel and John Hurt? I don’t know, either. Here’s what I can tell you about this movie. Despite being everything a B-movie should be, it was still fairly fun in the end. If you’ve seen Predator, Alien, Road Warrior, Conan, 13th Warrior, Dragonslayer, Dragonheart, Beowulf, and Excalibur (or even just a couple of these) this is going to feel pretty derivative. Nevertheless, I maintain that it was fun—frivolous, ridiculous fun. Obviously the plot makes no sense, especially the part about him refusing to go back to his ship for better weapons earlier in the movie. But, oh well. Did I mention it was fun?

Superficial Content: D
Drugs/Alcohol C, Sex/Nudity B, Violence D, Language C-, Illegality A
They’re Vikings, right? So there’s a bit of drinking. There is only one implied sex scene and nothing else, which is nice. Language, as I remember, was one F-word and nothing else or very little else, oddly. Violence is definitely the issue here, and you should know that there is a lot of killing and violence, including a wriggling person being eaten alive by a dragon and many gruesome corpse scenes.

Significant Content: C
Clean up your own messes? Sometimes the simple life is better than interstellar space jockey. Earth is an abandoned human colony. Leaders are made through surviving extremely difficult situations. Don’t try to capture dragons. Two big hammers won’t protect you from a dragon’s tail. Good life lessons here.

Artistic/Thought Value: D
The dragon is cool, no doubt about it. Otherwise, thought value? Really? No, not really.

Discussion Questions:
~Can you think of any reason why Kainan didn’t go back to his ship for another gun after he lost his first one?
~What examples of human arrogance are shown in this movie, either by the spacemen or by the Vikings?
~Given that Kainan feels remorse for having exterminated the Moorwens, what do you think of him trying to kill this one?
~Is this movie trying to say something about human nature and it's conquest mentality?
~What about life in 8th century Norway would appeal to Kainan? If the woman you fell in love with lived in that sort of barbaric situation, what would you do?
~Does this movie portray women as equal to men or not in the end? Would you call it a feminist movie?
~What is the value of B-movies? Is it coherent to say, “That’s terrible, I loved it?” What are some of the worst movies that you nonetheless love?
Overall Grade: C-
Most of the time “For rent exclusively at Blockbuster” means “this movie is not going to be great.” Sometimes they are great nevertheless (Miss Potter, e.g.). But not this time. Campy, silly, yet still fun so long as you don’t care how silly and campy it is.

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