Details At A Glance

Category Science Fiction Thriller Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1981 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 105 minutes Other Extras Cast & Crew Biographies
Production Notes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 4 Director Peter Hyams

Warner Brothers
Starring Sean Connery
Peter Boyle
Frances Sternhagen
James B. Sikking
Kika Markham
Case Snapper
RRP $29.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith

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
Macrovision ?
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No

Plot Synopsis

    Outland is set on a mining post on Io, a moon of the planet Jupiter. It is a desolate place where men are sent for a year at a time. The pay is good, the perks are good, but the isolation is mind-numbing. O'Niel (Sean Connery) is a law enforcement officer who has been sent to Outland for a tour of duty.

    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.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is acceptable for its age.

    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.


    There is one audio track on this DVD; an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. This is remixed from the original Dolby Stereo soundtrack.

    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 basic extras are on this disc.


    The main menu is plain and functional.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack which sounded mono. This is severely aged with a lot of film artefacts.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    These are of average length.

Production Notes

    These are extensive and cover technical and artistic considerations. Well worth reading through.


    Outland is at the very least worth a rental. It holds up acceptably well given its age, because it is a character-driven piece rather than a mindless action movie. Sean Connery is excellent in his role, and very believable.

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
30th March 1999

Review Equipment
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