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S John

Things I Don't Understand About Highlander

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So I watched Highlander last night, I probably hadn't seen it since the early 90's so it was almost like seeing it for the first time. Overall, I enjoyed the experience, but I'm left with some questions. I'm sure all this has been hashed out many times since 1986, but hey, why not?

First, a note on casting. Its a bit jarring that Sean Connery, an actual Scottish guy, is cast to play a Spanish / Egyptian guy while a dude with a vaguely French accent is cast to play the Scottish guy. Go figure!

Second - There can be only one! WHY? Why can there be only one?! And being that there can be only one - why doesn't Sean Connery chop Duncan MacLeod's fucking head off as soon as he meets him? I mean, ultimately, it could come down to the two of them, right? So why train him to be good at fighting? Why not just eliminate the rival? Seems to me that The Kurgan has the right idea. I mean, he's a total jerk about it, but ultimately the result will be the same, no? The immortals kill each other off until one claims the prize? I just don't understand.

Now, about this prize - The prize is a combination of becoming mortal / basically becoming omnipotent?

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Second - There can be only one! WHY? Why can there be only one?! And being that there can be only one - why doesn't Sean Connery chop Duncan MacLeod's fucking head off as soon as he meets him? I mean, ultimately, it could come down to the two of them, right? So why train him to be good at fighting? Why not just eliminate the rival? Seems to me that The Kurgan has the right idea. I mean, he's a total jerk about it, but ultimately the result will be the same, no? The immortals kill each other off until one claims the prize? I just don't understand.

There seemed to be two kinds of immortals: the guys like the Kurgan, who just wanted 'the Prize' and gleefully murdered everyone, and the less psychopathic guys who basically just wanted to live their lives. Just because there is a game, with a prize to be won, doesn't mean you have to play it.

Some of them, like Sean Connery, also wanted to prevent a bastard like the Kurgan winning and so prepared others to fight him.

Now, about this prize - The prize is a combination of becoming mortal / basically becoming omnipotent?

Not really omnipotence, more like omniscience was my impression. But of course it's not really important, the Prize is basically a macguffin. If anyone ever made a sequel they'd probably have to figure this out, but who would do that?

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I find it's best just not to ask questions about Highlander, it just is and let it go at that.

The more questions you ask, the more questions they lead to, and I've always been afraid that you can pick this scab so deep you start unraveling the threads of the universe.

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First, a note on casting. Its a bit jarring that Sean Connery, an actual Scottish guy, is cast to play a Spanish / Egyptian guy while a dude with a vaguely French accent is cast to play the Scottish guy. Go figure!

Connery playing a foreigner is fairly common - as far as I know he's never played a Scottish character in his entire film career. Of course, this never stopped him using pretty much the same accent for every film.

I suppose you could try to explain it by saying that Ramirez was trying to speak in a way that Connor MacLeod would understand - it wouldn't do him much good to speak Spanish, and it does make some sense for an immortal to have become good at picking up languages and accents. I think Christopher Lambert's accent actually makes some sense in the modern day parts of the film, since after having spent a couple of centuries wandering around the world he might well have lost his original accent, but he definitely doesn't sound Scottish in the 18th Century section. That said, if you're going to be pedantic about accuracy they should probably have been speaking Gaelic rather than English at the time in the western Highlands anyway.

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Not really omnipotence, more like omniscience was my impression. But of course it's not really important, the Prize is basically a macguffin. If anyone ever made a sequel they'd probably have to figure this out, but who would do that?

I read this, and then I immediately felt a cold chill run down my spine.

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That said, if you're going to be pedantic about accuracy they should probably have been speaking Gaelic rather than English at the time in the western Highlands anyway.

Besides which, Duncan MacLeod's accent was Australian, not French.

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A more fundamental question is "who told them there could be only one?" or a prize? Maybe it was all just a lark that one of the immortals came up with?

I've always spent a lot of time wondering what constitutes decapitation? Is there a particular vertebrae/nerve cord that has to be severed? If you cut someones head off from the chin up would they die? If you cut midway through the nose down and across from the neck?

In anser to the questions; 1) It also struck me as particularly bizzarre they way they went with casting given the characters. I agree with William though in that the fucked up accents make sense in the modern day but not the past - unless ancient egyptian into english sounds like connery,

2) It's always better to team up to take down an opponent. If the kurgan is stronger than Connery and Connery is stronger than Macleod it makes sense to train macleod to take down Kurgan as a team. If Connery decides to be a dick later than he knows he can take down macleod. Plus the strength you get from an immortal is based on how many immortals they kill. Killing macleod off the bat is small game.

Great soundtrack!

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A more fundamental question is "who told them there could be only one?" or a prize? Maybe it was all just a lark that one of the immortals came up with?

I've always spent a lot of time wondering what constitutes decapitation? Is there a particular vertebrae/nerve cord that has to be severed? If you cut someones head off from the chin up would they die? If you cut midway through the nose down and across from the neck?

Same here. Also, what if they got cut in half at the waist?

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I've always spent a lot of time wondering what constitutes decapitation? Is there a particular vertebrae/nerve cord that has to be severed? If you cut someones head off from the chin up would they die? If you cut midway through the nose down and across from the neck?

Great soundtrack!

"If your head comes away from your neck, it's over my friend." Or something to that effect from Juan Villa Lobos Ramirez Sanches. Recall Kurgan was nearly decapitated yet survived, giving him the great scar he adorned with safety pins later in the film. Judging by the injury/injuries suffered by poor Conner in his first battle, it must be a complete head from body separation.

And yes, fantastic soundtrack.

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I always wanted to know how the Kurgan was able to get his sword to break down into his suitcase like that without ruining it. Also how does it come apart once it has been reassembled?

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I mean, ultimately, it could come down to the two of them, right? So why train him to be good at fighting? Why not just eliminate the rival? Seems to me that The Kurgan has the right idea. I mean, he's a total jerk about it, but ultimately the result will be the same, no?

Ramirez's character fulfills the character of the traditional Merlin to the young Wart, here portrayed by Connor MacLeod. Ramirez is not interested in playing the game, nor is MacLeod, but he likes him, and decides to help him protect himself. It is those who force the game upon others who are the evil in this story.

Did really enjoy those scenes on the Highlands were the armies fight and the Kurghan joins the fray. Epic.

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A more fundamental question is "who told them there could be only one?" or a prize? Maybe it was all just a lark that one of the immortals came up with?

Yes, this is the ultimate question. The gathering, the quickening, the prize... how do any of the immortals even know about it in the first place? Since we see Duncan's story we know that nobody told him about any of it until Ramirez comes along. We know that he does not know any more about those things than a regular person, he doesn't even know that he is immortal until Ramirez comes along. Can it be safely assumed that pretty much all of the immortals share a story similar to that of Duncan's in terms of realizing their immortality?

We know that the Kurgan and Ramirez are much older than Duncan, so maybe in ancient times all of it was explained to the rest of them. But then why bring new immortals into the game periodically? And whose idea was this anyway? Who bestows the prize? Is it God? The Devil? Magic? I need answers, damnit!

Did really enjoy those scenes on the Highlands were the armies fight and the Kurghan joins the fray. Epic.

Yea me too. I enjoyed the scenes in Scotland in general. Gorgeous country, I'd love to visit there soon. I like the movie overall, just that there, uh, seems to be quite a few things left unexplained.

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One could argue the legend evolved of its own accord. I think it is true in that you become more powerful based on your age and the power of the immortal you kill. Maybe immortals just started to assume there was some prize for killing everyone else and over time they all accepted the various versions. It does seem that the game is rigged when new immortals randomly come into existence though. It could maybe explained through the handwaving of the "quickening" not being 100% efficient when transferring to the other immortal. Said escaped energy is then captured by a regular human who dies at the exact same moment who then becomes immortal. It would be a bit of a shitter if your first death involves decapitation though :)

I love how no-one is mentioning the sequels in trying to answer these questions

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Same here. Also, what if they got cut in half at the waist?

Didn't that happen to Mario Van Peebles in a knock off of this movie?

I love how no-one is mentioning the sequels in trying to answer these questions

inorite.

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I love how no-one is mentioning the sequels in trying to answer these questions

Mentioning the what?

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Mentioning the what?

Exactly. So-called Highlander sequels are simply a by-product of shock and hysteria following a watch-through of Zardoz.

I'll second that Immortals don't really have to play the game. As far as we can tell, Connor didn't actively seek out other Immortals to kill them, the way that the Kurgan did. He was content simply to live his life, occasionally stealing an identity to do so. Connery may have simply been doing him a favor, as well as setting up someone to stop the Kurgan in case he was killed.

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The movie also says that the contest for the Prize isn't on yet. I mean, people like the Kurgan are definitely out there trying to tilt the field in their favour, but it's not until modern times that the contest begins.

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Clearly we don't want to discuss the movie sequels... but the television show is actually quite good about fleshing out the legend and sticking essentially to the backstory provided by the first movie.

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Clearly we don't want to discuss the movie sequels... but the television show is actually quite good about fleshing out the legend and sticking essentially to the backstory provided by the first only movie.

Fixed for clarity. We would not want people to get the wrong idea.

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Fixed for clarity. We would not want people to get the wrong idea.

True... but there are those two movies that were spin-offs of the TV show moreso than the movie.

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