Outerworld (1987)

Actors: Tracy Davis, Hans Bachmann, Michael Mack, Rick Foucheux
Format: Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Image Entertainment
DVD Release Date: February 27, 2007
Run Time: 78 minutes


As far as zero-budget genre film-making goes, Outerworld isn’t too bad. That unfortunately doesn’t mean that it is any good though . . .

First released as Star Quest / Beyond the Rising Moon back in 1987, this straight-to-DVD cheapie has now been reworked with brand-new, computer-generated special effects. The new effects – mostly CG space battles – frees up the action in ways unimaginable back in the late ‘Eighties, especially for this type of “let’s borrow Steve’s camcorder and make our own sci-fi flick” effort.

While the special effects are much improved (but not exactly great), the rest of the movie is still beyond redemption. The 1980s hairstyles and fashions as well as the amateur acting are still awful. That the screenplay is an anticlimactic clunker also doesn’t help. More note-worthy micro-budget entries such as Timecrimes, Dark Star and Cube overcome their severe budgetary limitations with their clever screenplays. The script for Outerworld is instead an amalgamation of 1980s sci-fi clichés, most notably taken from Blade Runner, Aliens and Star Wars.

Pentan (Tracy Davis) is a Replicant, er sorry, synthetic humanoid who does the bidding of an evil multinational corporation (is there any other sort?). When Pentan becomes tired of killing for her corporate employers, she rebels by stealing the location of a crash-landed alien spaceship that will make whoever first claims it for salvage rich beyond belief. Of course our evil corporate villains won’t take this sort of thing lying down and are in hot pursuit of her and a cocky space pilot-for-hire named Han Solo. OK, just kidding. His name isn’t really Han Solo.

The problem is that the alien spaceship is a mere MacGuffin – something to set the plot in motion – and nothing more. When the spaceship is finally tracked down on a deserted alien planet one expects something, well, more. One keeps on expecting the movie to reveal the secrets behind the alien makers of the ship or something, anything! And in the hands of a more talented science fiction writer there would have been something more. As it is the movie is merely an excuse for what is at best a Serenity-lite adventure, but with bad acting and rotten dialogue.

THE DISC: If you think Outerworld is no good, then you should see the original version of the movie which is also included on the disc as a bonus. A certain school of thinking maintains that computer-generated effects have made movies dumber. That is not true. Some of them were pretty dumb to begin with and Star Quest / Beyond the Rising Moon is ample proof of that. The Making of Outerworld featurette is worth checking out if only to see what a low-budgeted affair it truly was.

WORTH IT? There are loads of ingenuity and talent on display here when one considers on how little money the movie was made. One can only imagine what director Philip Cook can achieve if he were to remake it with a decent screenplay, budget and actors using modern special effects today instead of merely giving the existing movie a creaky facelift like George Lucas did with the so-called “special editions” of Star Wars.

RECOMMENDATION: Not many zero budget SF efforts gets made – after all it’s cheaper to make slasher or zombie flicks – so it always feels wrong to knock an indie effort such as Outerworld. However the fact remains that it is a cheesy, dull affair.



blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).