Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturn 3

Saturn 3; science-fiction thriller, USA, 1980; D: Stanley Donen, S: Kirk Douglas, Farrah Fawcett, Harvey Keitel

In the future, a hydroponic station on Saturn's moon, led by lovers Adam and Alex, is visited by a stranger, astronaut Benson, who brings a new robot there, cyborg "Hector", who is suppose to accelerate their work revolving around creating new food sources for a starving Earth. However, inheriting some of his worst vice, "Hector" kills Benson and starts persecuting Adam and Alex, trapping them on the base since Saturn's eclipse blocks contact with the space station. By blowing himself up, Adam is able to destroy "Hector" while Alex goes to visit Earth.

Bizarre cult patchwork "Saturn 3" enjoyed its 15 minutes of fame in the 80s thanks to the popularity of Farah Fawcett who takes her clothes off in one short scene and because it was riding on the wave of sci-fi 'boom' after "Star Wars" and "Alien" which (thankfully) paved the way for numerous opportunities in financing such stories. Despite some interesting details (a space craft passing through stones of Saturn's ring), a fascinating design of the evil robot "Hector", especially his surreal small head, and good special effects ("eclipse" of Saturn on the station), the story abandons subtlety for pure trash, unfortunately, resulting in too many illogical plot holes or disjointed ideas (i.e. "Hector" presses a button that causes a huge mechanical claw to fall from the ceiling. Just in that moment, Benson suddenly jumps right onto the table where the claw falls over and traps him. Why he jumps on that table, right under the claw, is never explained; "Hector's" goals are completely obscure and we never know what he exactly wants with Adam and Axel...). Still, the sheer audacity of the authors, despite an uneven direction by Stanley Donen ("Singing in the Rain"), make this a 'guilty pleasure' whereas the suspense of the minimalistic-claustrophobic story in which the cyborg is chasing after the two protagonists through the corridors of the base has some moments of suspense, especially when they try to deceive "Hector's" sensors by letting smoke under him through a "sever", which is why it can be seen as an unusual forerunner to "The Terminator".


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