Sunday, August 10, 2014

Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander," Now on TV!

Art by Roryalice
Well, I went and done it. I watched Outlander last night. Oh, it's definitely a chickflick of sorts, but well done and spectacular enough that it's not just for the ladies. So I put my balmoral bonnet on and sat back with my usquebaugh (limoncello, actually — we were fresh out of usquebaugh), and had a fine old time. To get one thing out of the way, yes, it is female pornography, that is to say, pornography for females, or at least erotica, but that's not really a bad thing, as female pornography isn't at all the same thing as the male equivalent. It's so mild that us guys don't even recognize it as such. Forget I said anything about it. Just let the illustration speak for itself.

Anyhow, like I say, it's fun to watch, and if you're expecting the usual time-travel story, it's not exactly that. There doesn't seem to be any of the usual cerebral paradox stuff in it. It's mostly just a chance to participate vicariously in a Braveheart/Rob Roy world through the perspective of the protagonist Claire Randall, which is a staple of the time-travel subgenre, and it does very well at that. Such things are usually done from the male perspective, as in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, or Lest Darkness Fall, and the switch to the female perspective is actually a refreshing twist.

As for the socio-political significance, it doesn't have anything direct to say, but it's a nice immersion in European history, particularly the Celtic thing, and many of us on the right are rather taken with Celtic culture and its meaning for us moderns. I certainly am.

The whole thing seems quite authentic to me. The costumes seem true to the period, and the fact that a lot of Gaelic is spoken gives it a lot of verisimilitude. It's really visually lovely, and makes me think of the beauty of The Last of the Mohicans among movies, and a couple of scenes on horseback seem like Frazetta illustrations, which is high praise.

I haven't read the books, but my wife has, and she says the film seems to be following them pretty closely. So far I have noticed only two minor glitches — possible spoilers here:

First off, the Scots seem a little too ready to let Claire do her medical work on the wounded Jamie. Now, of course she knows what she's doing (she's an Army nurse) and she knows that and we know that, but it seems like the Scots should be more reluctant than they are to entrust her with the job. Second, it seemed to me that she should have realized sooner that she has somehow time-traveled. But for dramatic purposes, it's probably best that it takes her awhile. I don't know. I also thought for awhile that "Outlander" wasn't the best title for it — it's the translation of the Gaelic "sassenach, — because it's not very Scottish-sounding, but since by now everybody has heard of it, that's moot, and it's not likely to confuse any Outland fans. And even if it does, Sean Connery was in that, and he's a Scot, anyway.

In any case, my purpose here is to let the guys know that this is, despite being mainly for the ladies, a worthwhile watch for the boys as well. So don't be shy, sit down and watch it with your wife. If you liked Braveheart, you'll probably like this, too. Here's the trailer:

1 comment:

  1. I saw that last night as well. I had never heard of the books and after watching last night I still don't have a firm opinion. The look at future episode was promising but I worry about it turning into a "Go, Girrrlll power" Hunger games deal where she's kicking ass and taking names. If they leave her to medicine and don't try and shoehorn a bow and arrow into her hands I'll keep coming back. Lewis33