Outland and the Aliens movies series

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Mysterion, May 12, 2019.

  1. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It occurs to me (and to some others over the years, I think) that the move Outland could very well fit into the same continuity/universe with the Aliens movies.

    So, I'm thinking with the original Alien taking place in the early 2100's (2122 per most of the timelines I've seen) and the prequels (Prometheus and Alien: Covenant) taking place in the late 2000's, I would probably place Outland somewhere in the mid 2000's - circa 2050's-2060's. The film does seem to share the same sort of aesthetic as the original Alien, but would seem to be an earlier period of that universe to me.

    Thoughts, suggestions, cries of outrage?
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  2. OCD Geek

    OCD Geek Commander Red Shirt

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    Do you man. I consider Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II to be part of the Whoniverse (via Faction Paradox: The Book of the War and Anno Dracula: The Bloody Red Baron). Who the hell am I to judge?
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I dunno. The one thing I remember about Outland is that it embraced a stupidly exaggerated version of the concept of explosive decompression, which means that if you were exposed to vacuum, the gases in your lungs and such would be sucked out into the vacuum in a single eruptive burst (hence "explosive"), but which the film interpreted idiotically to mean that a human body exposed to vacuum would instantly blow apart like a water balloon. I don't think that Outland's cartoon physics fits with the physics of the Alien franchise, because we've seen that xenomorphs, at least, can be blown into space and retain bodily integrity. (I thought of trying to google for information about vacuum/decompression scenes in the Alien films, but the franchise title is so generic that it'd be hard to narrow the search.)

    People generally approach these questions in terms of the compatibility of history, tech, and culture, but to me, physics is the dealbreaker, because that's more fundamental and universal than anything else. If the two can't agree on how physical laws operate, then for me they can't share a universe. And Outland's take on decompression is so dumb that it could only really fit with other equally dumb takes. (Like maybe Total Recall -- there, the water-balloon effect wasn't as instantaneous, but that could perhaps be chalked up to the difference between the thin Martian atmosphere and pure vacuum.)


    There's a 1987 anime film called Lily C.A.T. that's basically a pastiche of Alien and The Thing, and it seemed to me like it was implicitly meant to be set in the same universe as Alien, since the technology design and function were a close match (right down to the computer called Mother).


    I dunno about that, but I think Attack the Block could easily fit in the Doctor Who universe, albeit on the darker, more adult side like Torchwood. And the fact that Jodie Whittaker went on to play the Doctor isn't a dealbreaker -- ask Colin Baker, Lalla Ward, Freema Agyeman, Peter Capaldi, or David Bradley (or David Tennant if you count the audios).
     
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  4. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If we're talking small-universe syndrome, I'm OK with Firefly being part of the Alien universe simply due to the presence of Weyland-Yutani in the former. ;)
     
  5. OCD Geek

    OCD Geek Commander Red Shirt

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    Keep in mind that they're just going off the first two Clive Barker-guided movies where Pinhead describes himself and the other cenobites as "Demons to some; gods to others" (Which heavily implies that they are neither), rather than the remaining sequels which make them demons canonically. But most people ignore those movies anyway. And Barker himself has overseen two additional continuities which diverge greatly in the novels and comics. I figure if Barker himself can go "Pinhead's a woman...no wait, a man...and he was a nice person in life...no wait, he was a rapist and pedophile...no wait, Pinhead was the avatar of a deity and never human." than I figure it's okay to pick and choose which version I go with. It's kind of like Hitchhiker's Guide in that the novel continuity, film continuity and comics continuity are all equal with no "official" main one.

    The 8th Doctor novel spin-off series Faction Paradox refers to them as emerites (cenobites and eremites are both obscure words for monks) and says that they were among the various factions (like the Sisterhood of Karn) that fled ancient Gallifrey as Rassilon was rising to power. They stole a loom and an ancient early Tardis that had the layout of a labyrinth and went about inducting other beings through space and time into their ranks, to the point where there may no longer be any original Gallifreyan emerites/cenobites left.

    Kim Newman's Anno Dracula and Diogenes Club series both take place on Inferno/Pete's World-style parallel worlds to the mainline Whoniverse via Newman's Who novel Time and Relative and camoes in Andy Lane's 7th Doctor novel All-Consuming Fire. The Bloody Red Baron's opening chapter involves that world's version of Captain Elliott Spencer, the man who goes on to become Pinhead. Well, in the movie and comic continuities at least.

    Oh, I love that. Headcanon assimilated.
     
  6. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I knew you were going to bring that up lol but surely an exemption would have to be made for the xenomorph even if humans do otherwise (potentially) pop in the Alienverse.

    Does Outland require a Headcannon?

    All joking aside, from what I remember of Outland it seems it fits the vibe of the movies pretty well. And I think Sean Connery's shotgun meshes pretty well with the one Hicks keeps for close encounters.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Sorry, I was unclear. When I said "I dunno about that," I wasn't using it rhetorically to mean "I disagree with that interpretation of Hellraiser and Faction Paradox based on my knowledge of the works in question," but saying quite literally "I have no firsthand knowledge of the works in question and didn't know about any connection between them, and thus I have no opinion at all, but I'll use your mention of Doctor Who as a segue to talk about this other thing."



    Again, I'm speaking from a position of relative unfamiliarity. I've seen the first four Alien movies, but not for a long time. I remember the xenomorph's fate in the first movie, but I could well be forgetting examples of humans being exposed to vacuum and not instantly splashing like Gallagher's watermelons. I do recall a "hull puncture" sequence in Alien: Resurrection, and the way it ended was certainly physically absurd, but not in the same specific way as Outland.

    So I was hoping someone here more familiar with the Alien movies could recall if there were any scenes of humans being exposed to vacuum, and what the results were.


    I tried googling for "alien movies blown into space" after all, and here's an article I found comparing various movie/TV spacings from worst to best, with Outland at second-worst, though no Alien-franchise examples (as I feared, it's too generic a title):

    https://io9.gizmodo.com/19-times-someone-gets-thrown-into-space-from-worst-to-1753938085

    I couldn't find any other useful hits either. Damn you, generic series titles!
     
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  8. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Physiological silliness aside, I still think this story/setting fits well with what we've saw in the Aliens films. Moreso than the Bladerunner films being parts of the Aliens series (which Ridley Scott seems to support), For me the cultural/tech similarity trumps the one-off water-balloon depictions of explosive decompression - a bad dramatic representation of something that happened in that world.

    Thanks - will need to take a look for that. Speaking of anime/manga - you might keep an eye out (if you haven't seen it) for Planetes - a pretty decent story set in a relatively near-future - it focuses mainly on a crew of astronauts who clear orbital debris. The manga is better than the anime, IMO, but both worth checking out.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    For me, the water-balloon thing was just so dumb that it overshadows everything else about the movie. And as I said, my thinking is that physics is the most fundamental thing of all, so if two stories have contradictory physics, I can't accept them as a shared reality.


    I've wanted to see Planetes for some time now, because I heard that it's pretty solid hard SF. I used to have it in my Netflix DVD queue, but then they lost some of the discs so I held off until they could replace them, but they never replaced any of the DVDs they were out of stock on (at least none of the ones in my queue), and then I couldn't afford to keep subscribing to DVDs at all, so I lost my chance.
     
  10. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Once you get past there being people in space working for a company, Outland and Alien have nothing in common. Well, except also the fact that, since Outland followed Alien, the visuals and style of Outland were influenced by it. I've no idea whether there is any overlap in the personnel who worked on the two films.

    As for whether Outland is any good, well it's not in the class of Alien, but it is kinda a guilty pleasure for me. Getting explosive decompression wrong is just the beginning of the stupid things in the film. The dumbest thing might be the idiot hit man who would actually fire his gun in a place where shooting through the glass would blast him out into space. The visuals and sets are decent though, and the cast and characters are fun.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I checked IMDb... The two had the same costume designer (John Mollo) and a handful of FX artists (supervising modelmakers Martin Bower and Bill Pearson, plus Jon Sorenson doing miniatures on the former and camera on the latter), but nobody else in a design or visual role. The only other common staffers were composer Jerry Goldsmith (with his orchestrator Arthur Morton and recording engineer Eric Tomlinson), wardrobe supervisor Tiny Nicholls, and stuntman Clive Curtis.


    That's another conceptual problem, actually, and one a lot of films share. It's often assumed that it's dangerous to use guns in spaceships/stations because they'd blow holes in the hull, but the fact is, space is full of micrometeoroids that are just as dangerous as bullets, so anything designed to operate in space needs to be meteoroid-resistant and therefore bullet-resistant. It could still be dangerous to fire bullets inside a ship/station due to the risk of equipment damage (and of course the risk to the human occupants), but decompression shouldn't be a risk there.
     
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  12. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's a good point.

    I was going from the fact that Connery tricked the assassin into shooting where it would blow out, so in-universe it was that fragile, or the guns were that effective, and either way Connery's character knew this or believed it. In that universe, that's one stupid assassin.

    But you're absolutely right, it shouldn't have worked, at least assuming that they're regular-ish guns (and why wouldn't they be?).
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...Because the assassin would know he was going against a bulletproof man? Or at least a man living in a bulletproof environment and wearing armor to work. Seemed he was using a shotgun, though, a weapon quite unlikely to maximize penetration power (and therefore perhaps a good choice in the space mine - Connery's character and colleagues wielded the same for crime control). The assassin in my headcanon thus just grabbed a "safe" shotgun but fired slugs that could penetrate space walls and spacesuits!

    As for the Alienverse decompressions, Aliens already has the dropship-dropping airlock scene where howling wind narrowly fails to push Ripley to space but does eject the Queen. No decompression damage to Ripley there yet, not even whole-body owies or popped eardrums, that we can tell.

    ...Perhaps the Jovian miners simply were under a lot of pressure to begin with?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've always kinda viewed Outland as being in the Alien universe, if only because I like seeing a non-alien Alien film. (If that makes any sense?) The production values on Outland are fab, and I dig the shared (to be kind) aesthetic with Alien.

    As for the whole explosive decompression angle, let's not pretend the Alien films are some kind of high benchmark for science accuracy. :D
    Yes it's a bit silly, but I tend to ignore it with the idea that they aren't just "in space" they are working on a high-density moon. I have no idea if the science of that works, but I don't need it to to enjoy the film. :)
     
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  15. Spider

    Spider Dirty Old Man Premium Member

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    The thing I remember most about Outland is that you have gravity inside the station but none outside. LOL
     
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  16. Gary Mitchell

    Gary Mitchell Admiral Admiral

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    Outland was a pretty good film if you can put aside things like the decompression. One thing that was really memorable to me was the terrible acting of the kid who played Sean Connery's son.
     
  17. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Artificial gravity. Pretty much a mainstay of sci-fi.

    Yeah, he's...not great, that's for sure.
     
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  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's not about accuracy, it's about consistency. A fictional universe can have different physical rules than the real one -- that's fine. My point is that I can only accept two different works as being in the same fictional universe as each other if they follow the same fictional physics. For instance, if one show says time travel can change history and another says it's impossible for time travel to change history, then it's a mistake to treat them as the same universe (though that's exactly what Syfy did when they forced Eureka and Warehouse 13 to cross over, to my annoyance). Or if one fantasy show says (like Constantine) that angels are invisible to humans and divinely forbidden to interfere with them, and another show says (like Lucifer) that angels can freely interact with humans and influence their lives, then those can't be in the same fantasy universe. It's not about their relationship to reality, but their relationship to each other.

    Anyway, as filmic SF goes, at the first couple of Alien films had pretty decent science. They had slow interstellar flight that required years in cryosleep, and they had aliens that were genuinely alien in biology and structure, only adopting a humanoid shape because of gestating inside human hosts. I guess the more recent films in the continuity have royally screwed that up, though, especially Prometheus.


    Io may be the densest moon in the Solar system, but it's only slightly denser and slightly higher in gravity than the Earth's Moon, and considerably less dense than the Earth. (Most of the system's moons are made primarily of ice, after all, so being the densest one isn't all that big a deal in absolute terms.) And there's no reason that its density or gravity would cause human bodies to explode. Its atmosphere is toxic and corrosive, but its also extremely thin, little more than vacuum, and even a dense sulfur dioxide atmosphere wouldn't do that.
     
  19. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The scene in Alien Resurrection where the Newborn somehow has it's entire body blown out through a golf ball sized hole certainly seems like a good match for Outland's physics.

    Fair enough. I guess we just need an example of a scene in an Alien movie where it doesn't happen to a person under the same circumstances...
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, that's what I'm hoping someone can provide me with. It's hard to believe there hasn't been a scene of a human exposed to vacuum at some point in a space-horror franchise. Spacing xenomorphs seems to be a favorite method for getting rid of them, so the question is, has there been a scene (aside from the "pinhole" scene in Resurrection) where the human who did the spacing was exposed to vacuum or near-vacuum in the process?


    On the other hand, just to be fair, could we take a closer look at the "decompression" scenes in Outland? Maybe I'm being too harsh on them from a decades-old memory. How many such scenes are there? What are the circumstances? Is there a way to fudge them? My recollection is that there are at least 2-3 of them, and that they show the human body instantaneously exploding on exposure to vacuum, which was what I found so risible that it's my only clear memory of the film.