"This science-fiction epic delivers all the goods" (The Creature Features Movie Guide) A federal marshal on an outer-space mining colony uncovers deadly secrets, triggering a showdown. Oscar(R) winner Sean Connery lays down the law in Peter Hyams' sci-fi sizzler. Year: 1981 Director: Peter Hyams Starring: Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, Frances Sternhagen]]>
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See, out on Io (a moon of Jupiter), there's a titanium mining operation owned by some interplanetary mega-corporation. Federal Marshal William O'Niel (that's how it's spelled) gets assigned there and starts to investigate a series of odd deaths that don't seem to be murders but don't pass the smell test all the same. Getting almost no support from the mining station's personnel, O'Niel is on his own in uncovering the unpleasant truth behind the deaths. I won't tell you any more than that; what follows contains no spoilers.
The mind behind _Outland_ is Peter Hyams, who later brought us the excellent _Timecop_. But the movie benefits also from a wonderful ensemble cast. Sean Connery is, well, Sean Connery; he's worth watching as Bill O'Niel or as anybody else. Frances Sternhagen is delightful as the crusty and somewhat scatterbrained Dr. Lazarus (not the one from _GalaxyQuest_; she's an M.D. at the mining station). There are also the ever-reliable Peter Boyle and James B. Sikking, and a handful of other well-cast and competent supporting players. Since so much of the 'action' is dialogue and character interplay, it would have failed miserably with a lesser cast; here, it succeeds very well.
The special effects are pretty good too, particularly for 1981. The whole thing looks pretty dark and gritty, which wasn't the standard in 1981 but works much better today. At any rate, the mining colony looks right and not at all dated. (However, longtime SF geeks, of whom I am one, will have no trouble finding things to complain about, beginning with the inconsistent gravitational forces.Read more ›
Unfortunately, the 1997 and 2007 DVD releases of Outland suffered from lackluster transfer -- grainy, distorted images and letterboxed widescreen.
The February 2008 DVD release seems to be marginally less grainy and distorted. However, the color intensity and resolution are still not quite up to par with present-day movie transfers. Low-light scenes suffer from fading and graininess which may become especially apparent on large screens. On smaller widescreen TVs (under 30 inches), filmed signs and lettering are acceptably crisp but post-production titles and captions remain blurred.
I have always liked Outland because it relied more upon mature characters (including a tough female country doctor) to tell the story, and resisted the temptation in Hollywood to fall back upon gun-blazing mayhem conducted by inexperienced young rookies. I continue to hope the studios find a way to produce a fully restored version of the film.
Maybe there's a problem with the film elements, but this movie never looked this bad in the theaters; people would have walked out if it did.
Unless you are going to watch this on a 2" screen, or you're a serious collector of visual artifacts, I WOULD NOT BUY THIS INCREDIBLE PIECE OF GARBAGE. Caveat emptor.
MUCH LATER: The Blu-ray disc is, however, excellent, and bargain-priced to boot. It is in the original aspect ratio (not 16:9) and looks great in a home theater. Amazing what Hyams was able to do before CGI - one of the best-looking SF films of its time. In the commentary, he says he originally wanted to do a western, and realized that they had become SF films. Shiny.
For the film itself, four and one half stars: **** */2.
The story is great, it is "High Noon". The music is very good. The acting and directing are fine. The WARNER BROS DVD still stinks. They just re-released the same bad master with a higher price. Buy a used one. I'm asking Amazon for my money back. It is obvious that Warner Bros cares only about short term revenue and trying to catch a few more suckers.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have heard this movie being criticized for being just another cop and drug bust movie. But I personally like it and with Sean Connery in it, I like it even more. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Jerry T. Van Aken
Fan of Sean Connery films? Science Fiction? How about Sean Connery in a science fiction film? Outland is even better on DVD than it was on VHS. Read morePublished 22 days ago by University Doc
If you are looking for Space Opera and special efffects (think Star Wars) this might not be your item. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Simon-Sez
Wow, an 80s movie preaching the dangers of drugs? Say it isn't so!
Right from the start, the movie has some glaring technical issues. Read more
Over course a little out dated for effects but Connery good as a Marshall chasing the bad guys.Published 2 months ago by Robert Carlson
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