Saturday, June 26, 2010

Outlander (2008)

I finally got around to watching this film. The reason why I waited so long before watching it was mostly that I expected it to suck. A guy from a space ship crashes in Norway in the Viking Age? Can this concept produce a high quality movie? Of course not. Then again, it is cheesy, and I do love cheese. And to be honest, the movie was a lot better than expected. What does this have to do with Blackmoor? Look at it! This is exactly what the Blackmoor movie should be like! As my friend Rafael once put it, the story of Blackmoor is at its core the story of fantasy world where a space ship crashes. Although Outlander doesn't have elves or dwarves, it comes fairly close.

One thing that drew me to this movie is that it is set in Norway. Being Norwegian, I am a sucker for any reference to my country in International Media, however bad it might be. Secondly, I love the idea of Viking movies, even though most of the ones actually made arent all that good.

Outlander does a pretty good job of potraying the Vikings, even though there's no sign of the produces actually being interested in exploring the deeper tradtitions and customs of the norsemen. Still, the Viking village looks fairly historically correct. The film makes one mistake, that I believe many Blackmoor campaigns also risk making. If you are going to introduce a sci fi element into all of this, make damn sure you use it! So they have access to a, granted submerged, spaceship. What do they do with it? Forge the metal into better swords! Whatever happened to those laser rifles? Were they ruined by water? What kind of crappy sci fi world is that? How awesome would it not have been to see the entire band of Vikings, armed with laser rifles, going up against the Dragon-like aliens? Cheesy as heck, but once you have Vikings and a Space Ship, there is no way around that. Might as well take it all the way, eh?

I think this is one reason why the science fantasy elements in many Blackmoor campaigns are left alone, and wisely so. If you introduce, then you should be prepared to have them leave a mark on the campaign, rather than just have the space ship be a kind of side trek. David Ritchie made a good decision in this respect. He postulated that the discovery of the FSS Beagle would eventually completely change the face of Blackmoor. This is one of the most interesting themes of the setting in my opinion.

Back to the movie Outlander, I found it quite enjoyable. It has an interesting story and throws in alot of elements that dont usually mash well, but still manages to pull it off. And flaws aside, it is probably the best Hollywood portrayal of my ancestors since Kirk Douglas' The Vikings (1958).



  1. This was pointed out to me last year and I saw it through odd passages and pathways. It is an entertaining movie and perfect for Blackmoor.

  2. Hey - thanks for the nice write up about my movie. FYI - since we where kind of portraying this as the truth behind the beowolf story, we felt we couldn't have left a lot of high tech stuff around for the vikings to play with, or the question would be where did all that stuff go and why didn't it play a bigger part of the known viking history. That said, I agree with you, a viking with a blaster - nothing better! Howard McCain

  3. @Mr McCain: Thank you so much for taking time to comment on my blog entry. Thanks for explaining some more of the background of the movie. That helps us understand the reason for some of the choices you made. I was puzzled by the use of some of the names from Beowulf, but now that all makes sense. Any chance of seeing a sequel where that space ship is discovered in modern day..? :)

  4. I was not aware of this film before. Now I think I'll have to track it down!

  5. I saw this one in the theater. I took my non-gamer, non-fantasy/sci-fi enjoying wife to it and she liked the movie. You must have done something right!


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