Thursday, 18 July 2013

Space Grendels

In the very few cases that people have asked me what my favourite Beowulf film is (most likely it's me telling them against their will when I'm shitfaced), I have to answer with Outlander. Funnily enough, it's only very vaguely got anything to do with Beowulf, and Grendel's Mother is the most monstrous that you'll probably ever see her. But all that aside, I think it's a pretty good film (but then again, I'm into all that kinda crap). And as well as its similarities to things like Clash of the Titans (I had to start calling this a guilty pleasure when I found out that it's not cool to like it) and 300, which I just can't get enough of, I think another reason I like this film is because of a certain viking....

So, I'm really gonna sell this movie to you now - basically, a man from another planet crashlands in 8th century Norway, unfortunately bringing along a 'Moorwen' which seems to have hitchhiked in his spaceship without consent. So, this fella, Kainan (played by Jim Caviezel, whoever the hell he is), then comes across King Hrothgar (John Hurt - a nod to Alien? minus chest-bursters) and his people, and the Moorwen starts attacking everybody, and the rest can be guessed from there. SOUNDS GREAT RIGHT? Yes, yes, I know, thank me later.

Outlander was made in 2008 by Howard McCain, and unsurprisingly nobody I know has ever heard of it, and it's one of those films that seems to get played on the Syfy channel sometimes (no way as good as such cinematic masterpieces like Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus and The Human Centipede of course). Anyway, as the story goes, McCain always wanted to make a Beowulf adaptation, but his agent told him that "everybody hates Beowulf" (how wrong could he be?!...actually, he was probably right...), so he decided to title it Outlander and made a few character changes....a few drastic ones. 

I'm going to concentrate on the Moorwen from here on in, because this monster beor appears to be some sort of re-imagining of Grendel's Mother. It's kind of hard to discern this Moorwen's gender, because as you'll see....

....yes, what the fuck is that?! It looks like some sort of warg-tyrannosaurus-komodo dragon-angler fish. So, according to Google Search, not many people seem to agree with my view that this is Grendel's Mother (in fact, only two results show up, neither of which actually says that the Moorwen is Grendel's Mother), but rather that the Moorwen is Grendel. But, if any of these people had paid attention, the Moorwen GIVES BIRTH to another one and then goes ape when her offspring is killed....sounds kind of like....yes, you got it, Grendel's Mother! 

Of course, like most films these days, Outlander makes us feel sympathy for the monster, and Kainan tells the Vikings about how his race of people thoughtlessly wiped out the Moorwen population in order to expand their own civilisation, and this last survivor of the species is just trying to exact revenge (and later on revenge for her dead offspring) - there seems to be a warning of urban expansion in there somewhere, but this is kind of undermined when they then proceed to "go kill this thing", seemingly losing their sympathy in a rush of adrenaline and human nature. At the very end, this vague sense of sympathy returns, just as the monster is about the die, but at the end of the day, she is just seen as a beast, and everybody can go back to drinking mead and running about on top of shields in peace, and Kainan gets the girl. Durrr.

But....saying all that, because I know it sounded very critical...I do like this film. It definitely beat watching a bleach-headed Beowulf do multiple back-flips to a soundtrack of techno, and it also beat watching Ray Winstone and Brendan Gleeson with their CGI'd abs looking like they're about to jump aboard the Polar Express. And I'll take an out-and-out monster over a porn star who turns into a praying mantis any day too! And it's worth watching it just for Wulfric. 

Sweet dreams

And, also, here is an amazing (and completely off topic) song that I feel I must spread to everyone and anyone who will listen.


  1. I haven't actually figured out if I like this movie or not, to tell you the truth. And as far as Beowulf movies go, yeah, it would have to come out on top. ~;) I'll keep these thoughts in mind next time I happen to see it.

    1. I think I'm slightly the same. I have only seen this film while I was doing my thesis, so I can't quite figure out if I like it because it was better than the other ones. But I think I do... I'll have to watch it again to find out for definite!