Outlander (Blu-ray Review)

It seems as time goes on, there are more and more entertaining films that find their way to Blu-ray, but never made it to the cinema.  In the case of Outlander, it found zero success at the movie theater and was released this past May on Blu-ray.  The film, while not a blockbuster of mammoth proportions, managed to successfully use a tighter budget when it came to delivering a quality production. Unfortunately, while the ‘success’ label can be applied to how good the film was, the same word cannot be attached to the finances it brought in (or lack thereof).  Billed as “Beowulf meets Predator,” this film takes an other-worldly visitor and drops him on an ancient Earth that viewers will only know from the history books.


For a movie that had an impressive list of actors, there sure wasn’t a lot of press surrounding Outlander.  I mean, how bad can a movie be that stars Jesus??  Okay, well, it’s actually Jim Caviezel (Passion of the Christ) who takes the reigns as Kainan, a human-like individual from a high-tech race that’s light years away from Earth.  Kainan’s ship is severely damaged, and with a plume of smoke trailing his vessel, he crash lands on our planet, near modern day Norway to be exact, during the early 8th century.  What does that equate to?  Vikings, Vikings, and more Vikings.  Unfortunately, Kainan was not alone on his ship as a massive beast is soon to escape the confines of the space-faring transport.

Dressed in futuristic and unfamiliar attire, Kainan is apprehended by a local Viking tribe and brought to their king, Rothgar, played by John Hurt (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull).  The tribe is at war with another local faction lead by dual hammer-wielding Gunnar, played by Ron Perlman of Hellboy fame.  So when members of Rothgar’s army start disappearing one by one, it’s up to Kainan to convince the king that this has nothing to do with Gunnar’s bloodlust.  With a ‘dragon’ on the loose, only Kainan will know how to do defeat the stealthy beast that cleverly lures its prey under the cover of darkness.

If it wasn’t for a co-worker recommending this film, I would have never executed the blind buy on Amazon.  He said if I didn’t like it, he would buy it off of me.  After watching Outlander, I can say that this movie is not leaving my hands.  I was pleasantly surprised as it contained a notable array of actors and possessed a fun, danger-filled story.  The quality of the CGI is not something you are going to see in Avatar, but still, it gets the job done and doesn’t hover around the quality of some of those horrendous Syfy productions.  This movie provided a good two hours of entertainment, had a lot of action and even toyed with the aspect of romance here and there with Sophia Myles playing not the damsel in distress, but the very capable lady Viking, Freya .  It is without a doubt a rental without a second thought.  For me, the blind buy was well worth the $16.99.


Outlander’s video is brought to us with a varied bag of critique.  Overall, it provides an above-average picture, but with a subtle haze or grain in parts of the film.  It by no means serves as a distraction but does cut back slightly on the super clarity found in Blu-rays like Crank and Life.  You will find that colors are occasionally washed, though this will not hamper the scoring here.  The environment in which the story takes place is a cold and damp Norway of ancient times so you are not going to find lush deciduous forests and all the colors of the rainbow.  Fine details (pores, etc.) are visible but not consistently seen during the movie.  However, the AVC encode and 2.35:1 aspect ratio still deliver a quality product that you will not be disappointed in.  The quality is certainly admirable in blending the aspects of action, CGI, and natural scenery in this 1080p high definition disc.


Like adrenaline through your veins, the sound of Outlander pours through your speakers with free-flowing ease.  You will find background sounds of dripping water and off-screen horse hooves make their presence known through the rear speakers.  The very underrated composition of the film’s score is also brilliantly highlighted through the front and rear speakers alike while the subwoofer’s duty is not done until the credits roll.  One fine example of this is Kainan’s adversary.  Every time the brutish beast moves with deadly rapidity, its thundering steps are proudly announced from the subwoofer which finishes off one very ear-appeasing session of audio bliss.  If there is one drawback here, and know that it is a small one, it is that those background sounds do get overwhelmed at times and become lost in the front speakers’ sounds or dialogue.  It’s a minor negative, but one that holds the disc back from getting a perfect score during the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.

Special Features

Let’s cut to the chase.  This is all in standard definition and boy does it look rough.  First off, the visuals are unacceptable.  Is there such a thing as 240i resolution?  Second, the content here, while of considerable length, is nothing special.  I always enjoy commentaries, but would have preferred one that included Jim Caviezel.  The ‘making of’ is interesting but in 480i, I cannot stand to watch it.  Here is the full list of what you’ll find:
• Deleted Scenes – There are 27 scenes to be found here (41:22).
• Visual Effects Test – This feature presents 5 scenes including early animations of the Moorwen beast in full stride (2:07).
• Animatics – You will find 10 items under this category for your standard definition viewing pleasure (23:38).
• Artwork Galleries – From sketches to full color pieces, this slideshow covers costumes, creatures, locations, props, and scenes.
• Two Worlds, One Film: The Making of Outlander – The title says it all and features short, interspersed interviews with those possible for the movie’s creation (16:32).
• Commentary with writer/director Howard McCain, writer/executive producer Dirk Blackman, and producers Chris Roberts and John Schimmel
• Theatrical Trailer (1:44)

Final Thoughts

This was one of those moments where a few bucks burning a hole in my pocket plus a reputable recommendation led to a satisfying purchase of a film previously unknown to me.  If there is one significant negative to Outlander, it’s that it did not get the exposure it deserved.  The extras are nearly worthless here, but I have yet to come across this category being a deal-breaker.  The point is this is a really fun sci-fi action flick that should be viewed.  Whether renting or buying, and my suggestion says ‘buy’ because you will likely end up watching this movie more than once, this is one production you shouldn’t leave off your list of movies to see.


Bring Outlander home on Blu-ray today!



5 Responses to “Outlander (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    I love this flick. I have the UK import.

  2. Sean Ferguson

    I didn’t like this movie as much as you guys but I did respect that ambition it had for a lower budget movie. It was a lot better than I thought it would be.

  3. Gregg

    I would loved to have seen some Viking reaction if Kainan got a shot off with the rifle he was running around with.

  4. Gerard Iribe

    Ron Perlman’s double sledgehammer action was BRUTAL. Short but brutal.

  5. Sean Ferguson

    Ron didn’t have much of a role in this did he? That was surprising!