Outland is another in a long line of Westerns retooled for science fiction. Writer-director Peter Hyams (Capricorn One, 2010, Timecop) restages High Noon in outer space, with Sean Connery as O'Neil, the marshal for a sett... more »lement on one of Jupiter's moons. While investigating the deaths of some miners, O'Neil discovers that mine boss Peter Boyle has been giving his workers an amphetamine-like work-enhancing drug that keeps them productive for months--until they finally snap and go berserk. When Boyle sends killer henchmen to neutralize the lawman, O'Neil is unable to get the miners to back him up. Outland is no classic, but it offers solid suspense in an otherworldly atmosphere. Also starring Frances Sternhagen, James B. Sikking (Howard on television's Hill Street Blues), and John Ratzenberger (later to become famous as Cliff on the sitcom Cheers). --Jim Emerson« less
Sarah F. (Ferdy63) from DALTON, GA Reviewed on 12/28/2008...
Excellent sci-fi version of the good sheriff against the corrupt system. This time rather than the old west, it's set in a mining colony on a distant planet. Despite being nearly 30 years old, the movie holds up well in most areas. Highly recommend this one.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Worst studio DVD ever?
a movie fan | Orangevale, CA USA | 11/28/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Excellent movie, mediocre DVD
Michael R. Airhart | Providence, RI, United States | 11/03/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"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."
One of the best SF movies you haven't seen
John S. Ryan | Silver Lake, OH | 12/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Another terrible transfer of a very good film
slithy tove | US | 08/02/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"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?"
WARNING - still the same terrible, unacceptable transfer
slithy tove | US | 12/01/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"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."