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Two lovers stationed at a remote base in the asteroid fields of Saturn are intruded upon by a retentive technocrat from Earth and his charge: a malevolent 8-ft robot. Remember, in space no one can hear you scream... Written by
Keith Loh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Right. Saturn 3 is one of those films that always seems to divide reviewers into the two old and trustworthy camps: "what a great picture" and "who the heck let this pile of manure be made?" And then, it has the ability to have a solid middle ground; the "nyah...not bad..." crowd. I have to say that I fall into this latter group. I first saw Saturn 3 when I was a teenager and was gripped by it. I remember thinking how cool Hector looked and the fact that he was also downright creepy. In the years before seeing The Terminator Hector, for me, was the archetypal maniac machine that will stop at nothing to kill you in a (probably) gruesome way. Okay, the film's saving graces: the overall design of the sets and costumes. Ignoring the rather bleak look of the corridors, the Saturn 3 station has that feeling of being futuristic but also familiar in a Holiday Inn-sort of way, and the launching area at the film's beginning, with that great big flaming hole image effectively acting as a rather cool backdrop. Benson's (and also James') space suits are very nicely done. They give off the distinct air of practicality, like a hyper-modern air force pressure suit, and also a sense of impersonality about them which becomes menacing with the addition of the dark face plated helmets. Adam and Alex's work-out gear, however, is very dated and it's also quite excruciating to watch their exercise routine. The ships aren't Star Wars Star Destroyers, but then they're not meant to be. The way I look at it, they were designed to look slightly other worldly and also practical. Benson's pod that he flies to Saturn 3 looks entirely functional and although it appears rather clunky and distinctly un-aerodynamic, it's worth remembering that in space there isn't any wind resistance so sleek lines aren't necessary. Unfortunately, because this was a full-sized prop for the actors to interact with the other ships do look like the models they are. Hector is a piece of design excellence. For a start, the actual costume is made from metal, instantly rendering the appearance of a real robot. The actual laboured gait and measured way of moving employed by the actor playing Hector (probably due to the considerable weight of the suit) is instrumental in convincing the viewer of his cybernetic credentials. What helps is that we see Hector being constructed and that can block out any ideas of the "man in a suit" mold, particularly in regards to the insertion of the brain tissue into (effectively) the torso of the costume. Finally, Harvey Keitel. His performance in this film is derided by many as being too over the top and hammy but I think that he actually saw the script for what it really was - eighty-odd minutes of comic-book fun. He had a ball with the Benson character and it's quite obvious that he knew he wasn't asked to do Shakespeare and play it straight. Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett are a let down to be sure. It's evident that Kirk's entering his dotage and the idea of him being an action hero and hot stud when he's the same age as most of the audience's grandfathers is frankly ludicrous. And showing your sagging butt, Kirk? Should've kept those training suit bottoms on. Farrah does play Alex well when she's there to look good, but any semblance of the idea that she's a research scientist just doesn't compute. The film in itself is a bit of a hit and miss affair. It aims to be a sophisticated sci-fi thriller like Alien but the casting of Douglas and Fawcett certainly taint any idea of it being classed as a thriller. The music (what there is of it) is original, the direction so-so and the overall concept is there, but it fails to it the target spot on. An enjoyable piece of hokum to pass the time would be a fair review.
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