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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best SF movies you haven't seen
It's not quite one of the all-time greats, but it's not a 'B movie' either. It's a well-constructed, well-acted drama that doesn't aim _too_ high but does hit what it aims at.
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...
Published on December 21, 2003 by John S. Ryan

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79 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie, mediocre DVD
Outland is an above-average early-1980s sci-fi Western that benefited from smart casting.

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...
Published on November 3, 2008 by Michael R. Airhart


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79 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie, mediocre DVD, November 3, 2008
By 
Michael R. Airhart "smartThingie" (Silver Spring, MD, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Outland (DVD)
Outland is an above-average early-1980s sci-fi Western that benefited from smart casting.

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.
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best SF movies you haven't seen, December 21, 2003
It's not quite one of the all-time greats, but it's not a 'B movie' either. It's a well-constructed, well-acted drama that doesn't aim _too_ high but does hit what it aims at.
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.)
The one real problem is that the plot stops developing before the movie is over. Once the reason behind the mysterious deaths is revealed, nothing further is uncovered; the plot settles into a simple _High Noon_ resolution that doesn't really take us anywhere new.
The DVD has other problems, too; as other reviewers have noted, the transfer to digital format isn't very good. It's watchable, but it's not crisp and clean and the sound occasionally gets muffled. (That's especially too bad with respect to Jerry Goldsmith's wonderfully dark and brooding score, which is brilliant in its own right as well as a perfect match with the movie.)
Still, it's well worth seeing and even owning. It's not as ambitious even as some of the other films of the early 1980s. But it's held up better than most of them.
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106 of 115 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars worst studio DVD ever?, November 28, 2007
By 
a movie fan (Orangevale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Outland (DVD)
I never bought the first release of this DVD because those who did savaged it for its poor quality. I figured WB couldn't possibly make the same mistake twice. Maybe they didn't - maybe they just repackaged the rotten DVD they manufactured before. Seriously, this is absolutely the worst DVD I've ever seen from a major producer. The quality may not even match those cheapie Canadian tv transfers in the bargain bins. It looks worse than standard definition - hardly a horizontal line looks straight, and any lettering is blurry. Within each scene, the image jumps up and down from one frame to the next. After 10 minutes, I stopped watching, and I really like this movie. The Amazon info (as of this day) is incorrect; the aspect ratio is extreme widescreen. However, the case says "enhanced", which is a flat-out lie. Perhaps they meant disenhanced.
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.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another terrible transfer of a very good film, August 2, 2005
Too bad. I'ts a 4 1/2 star sci-fi film. However, the wide screen transfer is terrible. There are a lot of horizontal and vertical lines in the high-tech sets and the bad transfer has them continuously "crawling" in the background. I could make a better copy from TV to VHS. Sorry to complain, but how else can we try to get the studios to release acceptable transfers?
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WARNING - still the same terrible, unacceptable transfer, December 1, 2007
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This review is from: Outland (DVD)
This is the same terrible, highly compressed transfer that you could buy for $9.95 a couple of years ago. I returned two of those hoping that I just got a bad disk. No improvement with this release. And, it is interesting to see that Amazon deleted all the bad reviews and started all over again. Unless you know this film, and need it for a classic Sci-Fi film collection, the quality will drive your eyes crazy. If you need an example for teaching what poorly done MPG video high compression can do - this is an excellent example. Indicator lights, sign lettering, horizontal lines in the background, are continually "squirming" and slightly changing position, flickering around in almost every scene. They squeezed widescreen on one side and put 4:3 P&S on the other.

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.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A great movie that screams for remastering, February 12, 2009
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This review is from: Outland (DVD)
I'd read the reviews, I consider myself forewarned about the quality of the DVD, I never expected this, they should be ashamed of charging $15 List for this, I'd feel like I was paying too much at $4.99.

When the theatrical trailer actually has better quality then the movie presentation, it's a sign something is wrong. The menus are 100% better looking then the quality of the movie itself

That being said, this is a movie I've been meaning to get back and rewatch, and the story, the plot, the action, was all as good as I remembered, but WB owes those of us who bought this version free copies of the eventual remastered version that someone needs to have made.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I just picked this up - Buyer Beware!, November 27, 2007
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This review is from: Outland (DVD)
Although it is nice to see this on DVD, the transfer is not very good at all. Worse yet, it is NON-ANAMORPHIC widescreen!! In this day and age, folks, that is unforgivable. It wouldn't be that big an issue if the packaging didn't claim "Widescreen, Enhanced for widescreen televisions".
COMPLETE BS. If you have a widescreen TV, you'll have to zoom the picture for the proper aspect ratio. With the grainy transfer, the picture is pretty awful if you have a large screen.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Warner Bros. Sucks., December 23, 2008
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This review is from: Outland (DVD)
This a pretty good flick, not great but watchable. The DVD, however, stinks. This was one of the first DVDs released in the mid-1990s and over ten years later they still haven't done a decent remastering job on this. They just repackaged the DVD with a new cover! They even say that this is "Enhanced for widescreen TVs". It's not - it's just letterboxed. This is basically unwatchable. In fact, with all the juddering and shimmering it's worse than VHS. Avoid.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outland Blu-ray Review, August 5, 2012
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This review is from: Outland [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Outland Blu-ray Review

Year: 1981 | Rating: R | Runtime: 1 HR 52 MIN
Aspect Ratio: 2:40.1 | Video Resolution: 1080P
Audio: Eng 5.1 DTS-HD MA, assorted foreign audio tracks| Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, German SDH, Italian SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Director: Peter Hyams
Writer: Peter Hyams
Starring: Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, Frances Sternhagen, and James Sikking

Film: 4/5 Stars
Video: 4/5 Stars
Audio: 4/5 Stars
Extras: 2/5 Stars
Overall: 4/5 Stars

On Jupitor's moon Io a titanium mining operation is in full swing when the new Federal Marshall, William O'Niel arrives to start his tour of duty. After several miners die under mysterious circumstances the investigation points to a new drug that allows the miners to work for days without rest. The mine's manager warns O'Niel to mind his own business or there will be consequences. O'Niel presses on and finds himself outnumbered and alone with no escape.

The original Star Trek is considered by many to be a space western but Outland takes the idea to a whole new level. Written by direct Peter Hyams, Outland is little more than High Noon in space where a sheriff must face off against deadly foes when his `town' turns their back on him. Even though its not much more than a genre transplant Outland is a surprisingly effective sci-fi action-thriller. Sean Connery is no stranger to science fiction but his film's rarely fit neatly into that one specific genre whether it be Zardoz, Highlander, or even Indiana Jones and Outland isn't any different. Outland is a mostly forgotten film thirty plus years after its
release but that makes it no less enjoyable.

The original DVD was released in November 1997; that DVD is an ugly, non-anamorphic mess that was almost un-watchable on late 90s video equipment so just imagine what that same disc would look like today. It was an early Warner Bros. effort featuring their notorious flipper discs (letterbox on one side, pan & scan on the other) housed in one of the ugly snapper cases. Outland did receive a DVD re-issue in 2007 that axed the pan & scan version and came in a regular DVD case but still sported the same ugly transfer from the 1997 release.

The new Blu-ray edition of Outland is nothing short of spectacular especially when you consider what fans of this film have been forced to watch since it left theaters in 1981. While it doesn't look like a brand new film (thankfully) it does look amazing for its age. Gone are the large artifacts, the shaking transfer, the muddy and indistinguishable blacks and in its place is a transfer that has been given real care. The print used for the transfer was clean of debris like dust but was not scrubbed free of detail or grain. Colors are vibrant, black levels are respectable for the most part with only a few shots not holding up well, and the level of detail is outstanding.

The original DVD release states "Soundrack Remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1' but in all honesty it's a pretty miserable mix that I always thought sounded like I was listening to the movie through a roomful of police megaphones. Theatrically Outland was presented in Warner Bros. short lived Megasound format which was used to enhance the theatrical auditory experience mostly by adding a lot more bass than a normal theater could output at that time. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack is very enveloping leading me to believe that the original 70MM Six Track soundtrack was used in the remastering of the Blu-ray. Surround activity is on the lighter side but the three front channels and the LFE channel are as distinct as you'd hear in many newer films. Dialogue is well anchored in the center channel and Jerry Goldsmith's score sounds properly un-Earthy occupying the rest of the front soundstage.

After being mostly ignored on home video for the past three decades I wasn't expecting much in form of special features on Outland but Warner Bros. again blew me away. There's not any new documentary or deleted scenes but there is an all new commentary track by director Peter Hyams. It's a highly informative and entertaining track that must have been recently recorded because of some references to recently produced HBO programming. He shares his personal recollections about working with Sean Connery along with many tidbits about all aspects of the production from casting to the then cutting edge special effects. It's definitely worth a listen. Also included is the film's theatrical trailer presented in very cruddy looking standard definition. Give the trailer a watch just to get an idea of what the DVD looked like.

Outland receives a very high recommendation from me on Blu-ray. It's not a forgotten masterpiece but it has been mostly forgotten by audiences and its studio until now. Warner Bros. has taken real care in restoring its visual and audio components plus kudos needs to be given for recording an all new commentary. If you're a sci-fi fan, a Connery fan, or both you should definitely check out Outland.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly poorly made DVD, November 28, 2006
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This is the worst looking DVD I've ever seen. I loved the movie; I was delighted to see it, and bought it right away. I knew it was old and the SFX would be dated, no problem. But... watching it was like dragging fingernails over a blackboard. It jitters. It blurs. It hiccups. The color is bad.

The only other DVD I've ever run into that was even close to this bad was "The Final Countdown"; I can't help but think this DVD is actually defective in some way, except for the fact that it plays continuously without any complaints from my hardware.

So... if you loved Outland, I guess this is what you have to buy, but man... be prepared for a sub-sub-sub-optimal experience.
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Outland [Blu-ray]
Outland [Blu-ray] by Peter Hyams (Blu-ray - 2012)
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