Yes, the old Sean Connery Space Western. I watched it Sunday evening, too sleepy from a swung shift to attempt much activity.
It's held up pretty well -- except for the display technologies (whoa, soooo dated!) and a few odd corners (why are there shuttle-progress displays everywhere? Yeah, yeah, dramatic tension, but that's building it with a hammer), it plays pretty plausibly futuristic. At least as much as any Hollywood Western town stands in for the real Old West.
I do have my quibbles:
The doctor is not gracefully established as a character and some of her self-critical lines, especially early on, just don't ring true; they'd be better from another character, talking about her. They'd be even better shown instead of told.
And the use of spaces is awkward -- it's supposed to be, but the miners sleeping quarters are screamingly inefficient, and screamingly Chekov's gun, too. (Hallo, you, mooovie-watcher? Kiiiid? There will be a tension-filled stalking scene in here later!) The greenhouses are kind of pulled out of a handy hat as well, and should have made a fleeting (but recognizable) appearance much earlier.
We won't even discuss the gravity problem -- no, wait, we will: either they've got control of gravity (in which case, why even bother to mention that Io's got the same mass -- and thus g-force -- as the Moon?) or they don't. No, much later on, it is established they do: those implausible 0-g jail cells, zero-g and zero air pressure. So, um, a drink and two dances,* over? (Also, you don't just step over a change in g -- the cells wouldn't need bars, or to be depressurized. (And mining would be way different and-- Look, gravity control, you shouldn't have. It makes too many things too easy, too different -- and it makes screwing up the science way too easy.)
(Which reminds me, the portrayal of vacuum deaths are just...wrong.)
Also, dammit, why is there no emergency stop on the mine elevator, no override on the airlock? What is this, 1910?
But even with all those quibbles, it's still a good movie; it made me care about the story, it had me cheering the hero, booing the villains and ignoring the parts that didn't quite add up. Tweak it just a little and it would drop right into the Firefly universe; push only a little more and it would work in H. Beam Piper's Terro-Human future history (which reminds me, when is some clever lad gonna turn Four-Day Planet into a movie? eBook here). And for cinematic SF, that's quite a big thing. It doesn't happen very often. Moon managed it; Destination Moon, in its time, certainly did. Examples between the two are thin -- but Outland is one of them.
* It's not "Gin, Charleston, Frug," either.
5 weeks ago