Outland was and is one of those films that never quite got the recognition it deserved and yes, still deserves. “Was” in terms of its at the time quietly groundbreaking visual effects and initially successful (but eventually disappointing) run at the box office back in 1981, and “Is” for the fact that it’s suffered through some pretty lousy transitions to home video over the years.
The recent (and thankfully, mostly excellent) Blu-Ray release makes up for the terrible DVDs from 1997 and the much better (but still not quite perfect) 2007 DVD reissue from a few years back, but for some reason, the “making of” feature found on the DVD is missing in action on the Blu-Ray version. OK, “Who didn’t want to pay whom for what and why?” I have to ask (nicely, though… nicely).
It’s almost as if Warner Bros. Home Video is just getting the film out as a bare minimum budget release with as little bells and whistles as possible (and a terribly misleading tagline on the cover art) just to get it out of the way and move on. Granted, the film isn’t as “important” to the sci-fi genre as Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner was (a film that’s gotten a few major VHS and disc releases over the yers including some impressive collector’s editions). But it sure deserves a hell of a lot better preservation job than to be dumped into stores with zero fanfare and no other special features than a trailer and director’s commentary.
Hell, I remember the film getting a pretty rousing reception when it was introduced at the comic book and sci-fi convention I went to here in NYC over 30 years ago…