1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Like A Space Western
Director Peter Hyams appeared to have been inspired by the Western drama "High Noon" when he made this movie. Indubitably "Outland" presents the ingredients of a cowboy movie. The town is represented by a mineral colony on Io -a moon of Jupiter -in spite of the fact that they are in outer space and, if you go out, you might take the chance to explode...
Published on Nov. 8 2003 by Luis M. Ramos
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'High Noon', set on a moon of Jupiter
I sought out this movie because I heard CBC's Jesse Wente name it among his 'Top Five Movie Remakes' films, in the same company with 'The Magnificent Seven'. He claimed it was a remake of 'High Noon', the Gary Cooper western classic. So I went online and found a used copy. My wife and I watched it together and for the first quarter of the film it is a stretch to see the...
Published on July 10 2009 by SGM
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'High Noon', set on a moon of Jupiter,
I sought out this movie because I heard CBC's Jesse Wente name it among his 'Top Five Movie Remakes' films, in the same company with 'The Magnificent Seven'. He claimed it was a remake of 'High Noon', the Gary Cooper western classic. So I went online and found a used copy. My wife and I watched it together and for the first quarter of the film it is a stretch to see the connection to High Noon. As the film progressed, it became evident that it is, indeed, the same story. Just set in a mining colony on a moon of Jupiter instead of a small western town. Post-Bond Connery is great, even though one wonders why his character set about baiting the bad guys so soon after his arrival in the mining colony. This film is engaging and intriguing. The future, as seen in 1981, holds up not too badly once you get past all the Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) displays. Almost a hundred years ago, futurists visualized the citizens of the late 20th century whizzing about in their own personal flying machines - made of sticks and fabric, like the very first flying machines that the futurists of the day could not see beyond. Well, the future doesn't hold any CRT displays, and doubtless there will be viewers who will pick other holes in the Outland sets. Nevertheless, this is a very good film, worth watching for its storyline and Sean Connery's performance, as well as Peter Hyams' directing. Too bad about the letterbox widescreen presentation. It's too small, and when zoomed in, the sets are just right to create annoying moiré interference patterns. You'll have to play with the zoom setting to minimize these. I think this film will be worthy of re-mastering in a new HD DVD, but it may take a resurgence of interest in Peter Hyams' films, or in Sean Connery's career before that happens. For now, in my opinion this older DVD production is worth finding and watching. Very enjoyable.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Like A Space Western,
Director Peter Hyams appeared to have been inspired by the Western drama "High Noon" when he made this movie. Indubitably "Outland" presents the ingredients of a cowboy movie. The town is represented by a mineral colony on Io -a moon of Jupiter -in spite of the fact that they are in outer space and, if you go out, you might take the chance to explode your guts inside out because of the gravity. The town's people don't help anybody who goes against the powerful conglomerate. And then there is the sheriff in the body of Sean Connery.
Connery plays Marshal William O'Neill, a law man who believes in truth and justice in a "town" where those things are unaccounted for. Unfortunately he goes against the powerful general manager of the mining corporation (Peter Boyle) under the suspicion that his company is giving some poweful drug to the workers who, later, end up dead. The manager decides to hire assassins to have O'Neill killed, and the clock -just like in "High Noon" -is ticking.
This movie is quite a treat. The claustrophobic settings are very adequate for the plot development. However, this movie sometimes goes slow in the middle, but the suspense catches up with the viewer for the climax.
It's too bad this DVD does not have documentaries, so I'm waiting for the release of a special edition. Anyone?
4.0 out of 5 stars under-estimated sci fi western,
After leaving the James Bond franchise in 1971, Sean Connery gave a number of notable performances in films such as THE OFFENSE, ROBIN & MARIAN and THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING but OUTLAND is really the film that started him on the comeback trail that culminated with his Oscar acceptance speech 6 yrs later for The Untouchables. No one seems to recall this but at the time of OUTLAND's release, no one had seen or heard from Connery for a few years and most of the reviews, while not kind to the film for a variety of reasons--chief among them being the fact that most movie critics (at least back then) harbored serious prejudice against sci fi--the main comment was "Its good to see Sean Connery back in action again".
This film has one of the best production designs ever. Obviously the look was copped from ALIEN--blue collar workers in space--but it works remarkably well. I was often reminded of OUTLAND during my seven year prison term; the housing was remarkably similar--as was the company. But I digress...
Nothing special about the plot-- it's routine cop show or western movie stuff--but who cares? Sean Connery gives a splendid performance and the whole film moves at a nice clip.
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked Outland quite a bit.,
I liked the fact that Outland had the same sort of "space is grubby" production design ethic that Alien had. I think the fact that nothing was shiny and gleaming and new helped ground the movie. We all know that if we go to space as a race, it is going to be dirt and grime and filth and all the way.
The only thing I did not like about the film was the plot holes you could drive a Space Shuttle through. The worst (or best, depending on how you look at it) example of the filmmakers checking their brains at the door came during the sequence in which the "Professional" is hunting down Connery's character. The "Professional" pursues Connery into the greenhouse, or so he thinks. Connery is outside in a spacesuit, and he drops a solar panel just outside the greenhouse glass. The "Professional" spots the falling panel and, in an unthinking reaction, shoots out the glass, evacuating the air from the greenhouse!
Do I even need to point out everything that is wrong with that scene?
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 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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Laws Of Gravity,
Outland is a solid, if somewhat predictable scifi film. Directed by Peter Hyams, the film takes the old fashion western and substitutes the frontier of space, for the open range.
On one of Jupter's moons, a mining community is disrupted when several ore workers are killed. Marshal William T. O'Niel (Sean Connery starts an investiagation into what really happened. The Manager of the mining station, Mark Sheppard (Peter Boyle) and the station's Security Sgt. (James Sikking)soon make O'Niel realize that all is not as it seems. His one true ally throughout the investigation is Dr. Marian Lazarus (Frances Sternhagen).
The mystery element of the movie is not all that hard to figure out here. Thanfully, Connery keeps it all together, ith another strong performace. The rest of the cast is fine too. These elements-along with some well staged action, and a memorable score from composer Jerry Goldsmith, help you to forget a cliched plot.
The DVD lacks any substantial extras, save for the theatrical trailer, and few production notes. Viewers may watch Outland in either the widescreen or fullscreen format. The film may not be the best of its kind, thanks to Connery and the rest of the cast though, it's still an entertaining film that's recommended
4.0 out of 5 stars Sean Connery Delivers The Goods,
This review is from: Outland (VHS Tape)
Released In 1981 this often overlooked film is a great exercise
in suspense and Intrigue. Sean Connery plays a rough honest federal marshall newly assinged the task of being a watch commander to the new regime when he becomes determined to solve the bizzare murders of workers on a mining planet. Peter Boyle plays Connery's new boss who is in on a conspiracy to use the workers by injecting a dangerous substance in them to increase workers's produtivity ratios but the downside is that it eventuly makes the workers go beserk and go on a killing rampage. Connery is on to Boyle's scheme and sets out to stop him with a ruthless determination as the film goes on it plays like the classic western "High Noon" With the two leads playing oppiste sides of good and evil with great dramatic impact. This film deserved much better accaimed than it did when it was released. Connery was great and totally belvable in his portayal as a new man in a new world with a reputation of fighting the system his style and presence carried the film with great results. Outland is a great film that shocases a good storyline and proves That Sean Connery can act and go far beyond James Bond.
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly competent and overlooked film,
By A Customer
I don't know too much about ths history of this film, usffice to say that it isn't regarded as a clasic by most casual sci-fi buffs. On the other hand, it is a very well-done and soundly made film. I personally liked the grittiness and functionality of the movie, which I think is why it has survived the test of time so well. Often times movie makers will attempt to make the show look really realistic and eliminate all vestiges of normal, 20th century life, but that always ends up looking worn and dated (a la Star Trek). On the other hand, here you have guys smoking, drinking, swearing, wearing ball caps and who still play raquetball and golf, but at the same time wear spacesuits and live on some distant mining colony. It is this grounding in reality which helps the other, more dramatic effects succeed. The performances are solid (with Sean Connery in a sci-fi film for once), and although I can understand where some of the pacing-based criticisms comes from (nearly half the film is the climactic gunfight/chase between Connery and the bad guys), overall I think it is a well-done and often overlooked film that deserves more atention.
4.0 out of 5 stars A flawed gem, worth examining ("Save this film!"),
Outland is not the greatest movie ever made, but it is a flawed gem, definitely worth viewing. Firstly, as many here have noted, the performances are all very watchable - Connery as the gruff lawman who pays for his ethical standards in his personal life, terrific as always. Other standouts (forgive me if I can't remember the names) include the cranky female doctor, the sadly flawed sergeant and the blandly corrupt chief administrator.
Even the minor roles are well cast. Fortunately this film was made during a period when directors and actors were aiming for a super-real style of representation - compare the everydayness of the characters in Alien, for instance, with the stereotypes dominating science fiction film in recent years. This style, and the grungy, industrial set design, combine to emphasise the reality of the moral dilemma of the film - all the characters are faced with the problem of how to behave morally in an indifferent world.
The drabness and functionality of the look of the film were influenced by Alien, of course, and really help give the feeling of a working mining station. I still remember, the first time I saw this film, being almost shocked by the use of a weapon as old-fashioned, dirty and real as a shotgun, in the context of a futuristic science fiction film. At every point, from the cigarette smoke hanging in the air to the chips deep-frying in boiling fat, we are grounded in the physical reality of the situation.
It is this super-realism that answers the question we may ask: why set this story in the future? I think the answer the film gives is that, whatever the time and place, even in the distant future, these basic human problems will remain to be dealt with.
Inevitably, unfortunately, we must acknowledge the flaws in this film. The great music, set design and acting somehow don't prevent the ending from being disappointing. It may sound superficial at first, but I think the blame must be laid at the feet of the special effects supervisors - it is when Connery's character puts on his spacesuit and goes outside that the film goes downhill (at least to the extent of not living up to the preceding high quality).
In this last exterior sequence, some of the models are unconvincing, the characters occasionally look like puppets, and the pacing, previously one of the film's best qualities, starts to lurch. There is even a moment when Connery drops a metal panel, supposedly on a zero-atmosphere moon, and it glides like a paper aeroplane! The biggest problem here, though, is that Connery's stoic silence becomes less effective when his face is hidden by his space helmet, so that we lose contact with the central character.
It is a shame that a potentially classic movie is let down in this way. This is my plea to any influential movie producers who may be reading this: in a time when so many movies are being unnecessarily updated with digital effects, here is one film that desperately deserves to be saved in exactly this way...
Despite these problems, I must recommend this movie highly to cinema buffs, Connery fans, and lovers of quality science fiction films. Outland will definitely reward viewing, both as pure entertainment and as a dark future vision that will linger in your memory.
3.0 out of 5 stars In a word...Disappointed.,
Peter Hyams' 1981 release of Outland starring Sean Connery and Peter Boyle leaves the viewer a bit disappointed. The plot is not too deep and things move quickly without giving situations time to take root and develop. It's as if the movie doesn't know which path to follow. For example, subjects such as corporate greed and corruption, chemical abuse, O'Neil's relationship with family, and a good ol' good guy vs. bad guy scenario appears shallow having not been developed to a greater degree.
The viewer is left with little to hang on to as the movie just rolls right along. The high point of the movie hits you before you feel as if much has happened, then is just not compelling enough. Another story of thugs coming after the little guy trying to do the right thing. On a personal note, this viewer had to wonder why the story even had to take place on Jupiter. The storyline could have occurred anywhere because it is mainly aa cop/detective show. Why must it take place on Jupiter? Does Hyams have a Jupiter fetish or was he just hungry to use some special effects (which were used pretty lightly, by the way)? He later got his chance to play with Jupiter in his 1984 release of Arthur C. Clarke's sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The characters in the movie are few, and one would expect that this would allow the movie to really delve into them, but again we are left short. The characters are also thin and we do not get a chance to really get a feel for them but only on the surface. The irony is that the character that we get to know the least is actually the main character, O'Niel, played by Connery. In fact, in those rare circumstances where he does show emotion, he appears out of character. The character that creates the greatest impression is the general manager of Con-Amalgamate, played by Boyle. He does a good job at showing us that he is not such a great person and functions out of personal profit to himself. The relationships in the movie are weak also. We fail to realize the true struggle between O'Niel and his wife, and it is hard to feel emotion over his family struggles.
O'Neil's relationship with the doctor is also weak. They nearly pair for a battle against the stronger forces, but this too fizzles out. All in all, the characters are very two-dimensional and it is hard to bond with any of them.
Hyams had a good idea to begin with, but for whatever reasons, he failed to follow through. What we are left with is a light movie that fails to really pull in the viewer. This viewer was left disappointed.
Other than that, it was wasn't bad.
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Outland [Import] by Peter Hyams (DVD - 2007)
CDN$ 6.83 CDN$ 6.74