Warner Bros pending remake of Peter Hyams’ 1981 sci-fi actioner Outland poses whoever makes the film a very high benchmark to live up to in terms of production design. I’m not the biggest fan in the world of this tale of a lone marshall who pits himself against a corrupt mining company in the gritty and high-pressure (in every sense) environs of an ore-extraction operation on Jupiter’s most disruptive moon. The film got greenlit originally for two reasons: a) Star Wars was a hot property and every studio in town was looking to ride the sci-fi boom and b) Outland is fundamentally High Noon in space, and as such not really sci-fi in any but a superficial sense.
However, that’s one reason why the film’s fans love it, and I can’t say that a remake is an unlikely box-office prospect.
Production designer Philip Harrison’s work is going to be a hard act to follow. He and Hyams did possibly the best job in movie history of suggesting the enormous dangers of working in a highly pressurised environment. Just check out how intimidatingly solid the sets appeared in the film…
With that, here’s a pictorial tribute to the extraordinary look of Outland….
Io mining base (miniatures by Martin Bower)