|Category||Science Fiction Thriller||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1|
|Year Released||1981||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||105 minutes||Other Extras||Cast & Crew Biographies
James B. Sikking
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Yes||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1)|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
All is not well in Outland. A lot of miners go psychotic and kill themselves or others. In fact, a lot more in the last 6 months than ever before. Their bodies are judiciously whipped out into space and gotten rid of. O'Niel smells something rotten, and decides to investigate. He has the help of the colony's doctor, Lazarus (Frances Sternhagen) but not of the colony's general manager, Sheppard (Peter Boyle).
Sean Connery makes this movie. Without him, I think the movie would have fallen flat. He makes it all very believable and very chilling, even though most of the exterior shots do look like the models that they are. This movie is more about people rather than about fantastic set design.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer was a bit soft and blurred, but still acceptable, with some graininess at times. Shadow detail was lacking compared with current generation transfers, with blacks being just that, without any details discernible. No low level noise was apparent.
The colours were well rendered with no under or oversaturation noted.
No MPEG artefacts were seen.
Some of the scenes in this film just screamed "aliasing alert". There are a lot of scenes with hard metallic blue closely spaced lines (eg exterior shots of the Outpost which showed nothing but a fine grille structure). A number of Warners transfers have had significant problems with this type of shot causing severe aliasing. Fortunately, this transfer has virtually no aliasing at all. Indeed, it is remarkably good in this regard. Film artefacts, on the other hand, were quite intrusive at times, and absent at other times. You certainly have no doubt that you are looking at a 17 year old film. There is a particularly large artefact at 22:28.
Dialogue was quite audible at all times, though a bit muffled sometimes.
There were no audio sync problems with this disc.
The musical score is by Jerry Goldsmith and sounds a bit dated, and is present unevenly but nonetheless is an effective accompaniment for the movie, creating the appropriate sense of tension.
The surround channels were used unevenly. Dialogue was all up front and centre. Special effects were spread throughout the soundfield. At times this became a little disconcerting - the centre speaker would be providing the majority of the sound output and then suddenly the surrounds would burst forth with a special effect. Music was mixed throughout the soundfield, also somewhat unevenly. This seems to be a characteristic of remixed soundtracks, presumably because there are subtle surround cues that we now take for granted which simply are not present in the original stems. The latter half of the movie has a lot of special effects, and because these are aggressively mixed, the second half of the movie is far more integrated soundfield-wise than the first half. Overall, a surprisingly effective surround mix has been created on this disc, even if it is somewhat uneven.
The .1 channel was used moderately, and with good effect to anchor some of the special effects.
The video quality is acceptable for the age of the movie.
The audio quality is relatively good given the fact that the original movie had a Stereo soundtrack.
The extras present are average.
© Michael Demtschyna
30th March 1999
|DVD||Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer|
|Speakers||Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer|