“Outland” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 11
“I might just kick your nasty ass all over this room.”
Things start off with an intro that’s an obvious direct rip-off of Alien. It’s like someone literally said, “Make the intro just like Alien.” and another said, “Yeah. That’s a good idea.”
As the movie goes on, the similarities to Alien begin to multiply. A Jerry Goldsmith score: check. Costume design by Alien‘s costume designer, John Mollo: check. Blue collar space miners: check. Lighting, set designs, and even exact shot framing were lifted straight from Alien. I began to worry that this was going to be a very derivative movie.
Even the movie’s trailer seems to taunt the audience that “The ultimate enemy is still… man.” in some seemingly desperate attempt to sell them on the fact that a sci-fi movie can be good without an alien in it.
It could be in the same universe as Alien – just a few tweaks and it would be just another story of Weyland-Yutani space miners that happened to get caught up in drug smuggling, instead of being impregnated with alien embryos.
All that aside, the film stands on its own as a weird space Western of sorts (apparently it’s nearly identical plot-wise to High Noon – but I haven’t seen that film). Sean Connery plays the gruff marshall and does what he can with the role. Frances Sternhagen manages to steal most of Connery’s thunder – both positively and negatively – with her over-acted cantankerous performance as the complex’s resident doctor.
The child actor who plays Connery’s son is AWFUL. Really, the worst. Cringe-worthy. Luckily, he’s only in it for a few minutes of the picture. See for yourself:
It’s a decent little thriller, thinly veiled as a western, wrapped in a sci-fi candy coating, with Connery chewing his lines with his usual exaggerative bravado. It’s fun, but it’s also forgettable. Perhaps if I had High Noon to compare it to, it might work better, but I imagine it probably only serves to make that film seem better, too.
Outland was at the time of this review at #1230 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #1879 among the best movies of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
Outland vs. What About Bob?
A hard one to beat sitting in the middle. I do need to revisit What About Bob? soon and rediscover if it’s better or worse than I remember it to be. As it stands, I’m pretty confident it’s better than Outland.
Outland vs. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
I’m a fan of the View Askewniverse – at least Clerks and Mallrats, but there hasn’t been much to live up to those two since. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was pretty disappointing. Outland will take it.
Outland vs. Robin Hood (1973)
Another Disney film I haven’t seen in some time, but I have fond memories of. I’m sure I’ll get to watch it with the kids sooner or later. It’s going to beat Outland.
Outland vs. Waking Life
Rotoscoping is a thankless art full of tedium and technical proficiency. Waking Life is entirely rotoscoped, so that effort automatically gives it a little bit of a leg up over Outland.
Outland vs. The Thirteenth Floor
It’s kind of unfortunate that The Thirteenth Floor hit the same year as The Matrix. It’s kind of similar to the previous year’s Dark City, too (also, a better film). That being said, it’s still quite an interesting neo-tech-noir, and will best Outland in the matchup.
Outland vs. Analyze This
Not a fan of Analyze This. It’s not funny. Outland beats it.
Outland vs. Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity, easily. It’s effective in ways most films aren’t at a fraction of their budget.
Outland vs. Antz
The pushed-aside competitor to Pixar’s A Bug’s Life wasn’t particularly good then, nor is it today. Outland wins.
Outland vs. Titan A.E.
Titan A.E. is the last hurrah for famous animator Don Bluth, and has a lot of really cool stuff going on in it. I own it on DVD, and am patiently waiting for an official HD release. It probably has no business being ranked as low as it is on my chart. Outland will not beat it this round.
Outland is now ranked #1008 out of 1383 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Touch of Evil is up next.In the meantime, check out the other films I’ve ranked during the challenge.