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Shahid Hussain

A scene from Outlander.
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February 06, 2009 12:18 IST

Just when it seemed like Hollywood was running dry of fresh ideas and even abandoned the sci-fi genre with its recent lackluster release The Day the Earth Stood Still, our hopes had been sky-high after watching Outlander's gripping trailer. However, it's a disappointment!

Outlander is a sci-fi action flick with B-grade CGIs, plenty of drama, romance, action and horror. The action begins when Kainan (James Caviezel, The Passion of the Christ) a man from a far-off world, crash lands on Earth and ends up in an era of Vikings (Norway, year 709 to be precise) tagging along an alien predator called Moorwen.

What follows is a number of cliche sequences where men in animal skins play with their phony swords, drink alcohol, ride horses, chase bears, play ridiculously original games and try their faces at the worst of deceptive expressions.

On its surface, the film is a hodgepodge of sections from AVP; however, director Howard McCain fails to stir up the wrath of its clumsily designed alien in our minds with a set-design that pretty much looks leased from The 13th Warrior. Instead of making his main lead look like a savior, McCain simply bakes him to an ultimate zombie who mouths his dialogue only when incited.

Don't even get me started on the dialogues; you may roll your eyes when you hear them unless of course, you are not sleeping already. This brings us to another flaw of this film -- its running time which is almost overlong by at least 30 minutes.

McCain makes Outlander with such a disinterested attempt that as an audience, you feel no strong sentiment, whether it is for the romance between Kainan and Freya (Sophia Myles), the village ruined by the alien monsters or Kainan's family destroyed by them. The alien slaughtering climax is more ordinary than James Caviezel's 21st century hair-cut. Norway in the year 709 A D looks picturesque and the people rather well-behaved and easy-going to be imagined as Vikings.

The second most important thing, of course after an original plot, was the monster which looks as if it was designed by novice graphic designers. And do not miss the amusing scene where Kainan uploads a crash course in Norse language into his brain in the beginning few minutes of the film, and just love it for the director's vision and simplicity in making sure the kids too understand what is going on here.

Interestingly, after watching this film you come to understand its tagline which could translate to 'It destroyed his world... He made sure it destroys our peace of mind too.' If that doesn't deter you from watching this half-baked all-crust-no-cheese dragon trapping drama, then the best thing would be to wait for its DVD release and later use it as a frisbee.

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