In just the past few weeks I've found out the classic science fiction film Outland was slated for a remake. Then afterwards I checked further info about the remake of the film that starred Sean Connery, which all pertaining articles seeming to corroborate two facts. One, that Director Michael Davis who directed Shoot 'Em Up with Clive Owen was to helm the sci-fi remake as mentioned in the article, SHOOT 'EM UP's Michael Davis to Direct OUTLAND Remake by Charles Mihelich. And two, all sources of info that originally announced the remake were all seemingly dated on August 19, 2009, coming up on four years ago! Which now has to make me wonder, has Michael Davis been channeling his inner Stanley Kubrick?
The late legendary Director Stanley Kubrick is to this day well known for directing long film shoots. A good example is the classic sci-fi film he directed, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Originally titled Journey Beyond The Stars in a press release for MGM on February 23, 1965, the sci-fi film finally premiered in early April 1968. And what started out as a $5 million budgeted film, when all was finally said and done, the film investment doubled over at $10.5 million.
Actor Ryan O'Neal who starred in the Kubrick film Barry Lyndon had supposedly said, "If it hadn't been for possible threats from the IRA about Stanley we'd still be in Ireland shooting the d--n thing." The threats aren't laughable, but the point Ryan O'Neal had made is, compared to a comment by another actor, Matt Damon, about Actor/Director Clint Eastwood. "You have to beg him for a second take," says Actor Matt Damon from the article The Eastwood Conundrum by Tom Junod for Esquire October 2012.
And Matt Damon should know, from having starred in two Eastwood films and whom I can't wait to see in the upcoming sci-fi film Elysium. By never requiring auditions from any actors, and priding himself on finishing film shoots on time and within budget, it would seem from having read actors testimonies, to have signed on an Eastwood film is like a vacation, whereas to have signed on a Kubrick film is like a conscription. But to be fair by again having read actors testimonies whenever they are asked by a film journalist, when they look back, it seems not one has ever regretted having worked with Stanley Kubrick.
So has Director Michael Davis been channeling his inner Stanley Kubrick if, if, the Outland remake is still in production? Probably not since there has to be another reason behind the hold up, and also todays major studios won't tolerate long film shoots. That is unless the director is a Steven Spielberg or a James Cameron.
Usually I don't get excited about remakes. For in my estimation the original has always been the best. But in life, there are exceptions. Therefore I believe Outland deserves a remake because given advances in CGI it would further enhance such a film, but only if the script is superb so it's message may ever more resonate to be timeless for today.
For I believe as a genre when done well either in literature, film, or even a television series, science fiction has always been an extraordinary vehicle in exploring themes of various social aspects of humanity. And because of this such stories in literature, film, and also a TV series have the ability to withstand the test of time and to not easily be forgotten. And a prime example of this is 2001: A Space Odyssey, which ranks as number 1 among The 50 Best Sci-Fi Movies by Matt Barone and at number one by petroforever's list.
A current example of a good sci-fi film that touches humanity's themes would be Avatar. In the future, dying planet Earth is in dire need of an energy source, which is found on the distant world of Pandora inhabited by the humanoid race the Na'vi, the fifth moon of a huge gas planet almost resembling Jupiter. The energy source known as Unobtanium is desperately sought after by the powerful corporate monopoly known as RDA. And in the following quote from a scene, that is made strikingly clear, the cold calculated greed, as well as overt racism towards an alien race who clearly treasures their own natural resources.
"Look, Sully, Sully, just find out what the blue monkeys want. You know, I mean we've, we've, tried to give them medicine, education, roads! But, no, no, they like mud. And that wouldn't bother me. It's just that their (looking at a 3D computer simulation)... their d--n village happens to be resting on the richest unobtanium deposit within 200 clicks in any direction. I mean look at all that cheddar," says Corporate Head of RDA Parker Selfridge on Pandora, acted by Giovanni Ribisi in the sci-fi film Avatar.
Another classic example of a good sci-fi film, other than 2001: A Space Odyssey, is one that touches upon one of humanity's unimaginable fears, the sci-fi horror film Alien. Making then its debut, is still currently the most hideous looking, and terrifyingly lethal creature ever imagined and created in the history of Hollywood cinema. Called the Xenomorph, Swiss Artist H.R. Giger creator of the creature was known to be emphatic to Director Ridley Scott. That is since asked to design the creature; it will not have eyes, so as to make it ever more terrifying. The artist is well known for incorporating elements of biology and technology that he calls biomechanoid, and sexuality, in all of his nightmarish images. For in the Alien films, mostly the first, metaphors of sexuality is linked to the violence. Plus there is covert corporate misdealing's like the Weyland-Yutani Corporation that seeks such a creature for study at all cost, even to its employees.
Because let's face it. Most giant corporations characterized in sci-fi films tend to always act dubiously at the least, or outright evil at its worst. For that is meant to be just a cautionary fable.
One source of info seems to think so, titled, Future Evil Inc: The Most Sinister Company or Corporation In Science Fiction with a list of 25 corporations. At number 13 RDA from Avatar made the list. But guess who ranked at number two? Answer, Weyland-Yutani Corp Building Better Worlds which also is formerly known as Weyland Corp from the prequel to the first Alien film Prometheus 2012 (I like the ship design).
While we're at it, guess who barely made the list at number 24? Answer is Con-Amalgamate. It's a corporation that has headquarters on Earth, yet owns the distant mining colony Con-Am 27 on Io (eye-oh), which is Jupiter's innermost moon in the classic sci-fi film Outland.
In truth, Outland itself is already a remake from the classic western film High Noon. But it is more than just a difference in genre. It is about one man, Marshall William T. O'Neil acted by Sean Connery, who decides to act for the sake of those who mine the titanium on Io, followed by the chief of Con-Am 27 hiring assassins to kill him. And Dr. Marian Lazarus as chief physician at the mining colony, acted by Frances Sternhagen, is the only one who helps him. Both discover that Con-Am has secretly been shipping out a known harmful synthetic drug to the miners on Io, enabling them to work superhumanly long hours yet after 10 or 11 months show fatal results.
On the back of the DVD box it says it all, "In Outland, writer/director Peter Hyams depicts a chilling extension of today's corporation-driven world. Dehumanization is vividly evoked in the environments of production designer Phillip Harrison and special-effects wizard John Stears." Also a wonderful source of info, including stunning visuals from the classic sci-fi film, is all available at Outland: The Press Kit Catspaw Dynamics at www.catspawdynamics.com. A site crafted by Canadian designer Scott Dutton Design & Illustration. Outland deserves a remake.