Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Favorite Traveller movie

In the distant future, a police marshal stationed at a remote mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io uncovers a drug-smuggling conspiracy, and gets no help from the populace when he later finds himself marked for murder. 

 1981's OUTLAND, staring a shotgun toting Sean Connery, is the movie that most defines my vision of the RPG Traveller.  It's gritty sci-fi feel, has enough common touches to not seem overly fantastic.

Yes you are on Jupiter's moon Io, but its a mining station, and the company is concerned about production and profit.  To that end an unscrupulous manager has narcotics smuggled in which make people work like a horse-but they go crazy after about 11 months.

Into this Sean Connery comes in and has to decide if he will play along or buck the system.  Alternately part western, and part sci-fi, it never strays into the space fantasy of most sci-fi films.  Outland is more Blade Runner than Buck Rogers in its dealing with sci-fi, and is an underrated classic in my opinion.  Having just seen it again this Friday, it still holds up well and frankly could be remade easily.

I never liked the "royals in space" conceit of Traveller and Outland fit more how I saw the Traveller Universe: more advanced with space travel, but still the same human problems and issues.  In fact one of the reasons I loved history all my life is regardless of the tools and civilization man develops, the one unchanging constant throughout is man.  Stone, spear, sword, sabre, shotgun, or stun rifle the hand holding the evolving technology remains unchanging.  Outland reflected that idea brilliantly, and in a sci-fi setting it shaped and reflected how I played and viewed Traveller.

Give it a watch and see if you see what I see.
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