Sean Connery’s Got A Shotgun In Space

By on August 7, 2012

Pop quiz:  What movie has both Peter Boyle and John Ratzenberger, but isn’t a comedy?

When I was a kid, my conception of Sean Connery’s career was James Bond, then nothing for a long time, then Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  That, however is not the case.

That period of what I thought was nothing was actually his bizarre sci-fi period.  For the most part, these films are notoriously bad.  Try watching Zardoz all the way through in one sitting.  If you can make it, you deserve a cookie.

So when I hit play on Outland earlier, I was expecting pretty much that.  Imagine my overjoyed surprise when the movie turned out to be… good.

Plotwise, it’s nothing mind-blowing.  The first part is a police procedural in space, and the second part is High Noon in space.  Predictability isn’t always bad, though, and this movie nailed it in execution.

The exterior effects shots were very impressive, with the design of the Io mining station conveying an awe-inspiring sense of scale combined with a depressing industrial sensibility. 

It kind of looked like a gigantic oil refinery in space, I suppose, but the model work on both the moon and the structures was very detailed, which is something I was not expecting from a 1981 Sean Connery sci-fi picture.  I kind of assumed they would skimp on visuals.  So that part was cool.

Sean Connery’s performance was really solid.  Actually, scratch that.  It was really, really good.  He’s got such an inherent Conneryness about him that I don’t usually pay attention to whether or not his acting is any good, but this time he really impressed me.

The other pleasant surprise performance-wise was Frances Sternhagen as the station’s doctor, and the only person willing to help Connery’s Marshall take down the outer space drug syndicate.  At first she seems bitchy, but then becomes self-deprecating, until you realize that she’s actually just being bitchy to herself.  Nonetheless, she’s being helpful the whole time.  The result is something very funny without compromising the seriousness of the story.  Plus she had great chemistry with Connery.

Also, at least five people explode due to rapid decompression, which is something that needs to happen more often during space fights.  I mean, come on.  You’re in space.  How else were you planning on fighting a guy?

So two thumbs up for Outland.  I definitely recommend it for sci-fi fans, action fans and Sean Connery fans.  It’s out on blu-ray, the transfer was very good and some of the visuals are definitely worth it.

Because of my earlier mistake in watching Clash of the Titans out of order, I will be moving on to Raiders of the Lost Ark next.


Filed in: 80's Fantasy Movies, Ongoing Viewing Projects • Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

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