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Saturn 3


Ring around the risible.

Rod Lott December 2nd, 2013

What's a director of classic musicals doing in science fiction? Making Saturn 3, one of the worst of the genre Hollywood made in the immediate post-Star Wars / Alien era. Stanley Donen (Singin' in the Rain) takes to it about as well as you'd expect; he's in over his head.

saturn3

The 1980 box-office bomb takes place on an experimental research station on a moon of the title's ringed planet. For three years, scientist Adam (ol' butt-chinned Kirk Douglas) has worked there to solve Earth's hunger problem hydroponically, alongside Alex (Farrah Fawcett, The Cannonball Run), his much younger partner — in the lab and the space-disco bedroom. 


Dropping in is a crazy guy named Benson (Harvey Keitel, Moonrise Kingdom, who proceeds to build an 8-foot-tall robot named Hector, whose brain links to Benson's; therefore, it wants to get rid of Adam and rape Alex. Might the robot eventually sever the link and turn on its creator to get what it wants? Ah, but of course. 


So much goes wrong with Saturn 3 that it's worth watching once just to witness the disaster. It's absolutely "cuckoo," to borrow a word which Farrah enunciates in such a way as to render the word 

near-incomprehensible. As good of an actress she became later in life, she's terrible here, competing in a monotone contest with the British actor who dubbed Keitel's voice (Roy Dotrice, who talks about the job in a six-minute featurette on Shout! Factory's Blu-ray/DVD combo). Douglas is so hammy, watching the film may be against the religion of the Jewish and Muslim people. 


The production design, right down to the pieces of a chess game, is fairly impressive, although the special effects aren't up to muster. (In one of the early scenes, viewers will notice the wire lifting an actor off the ground — and they'll do so without having to utilize any of the functions of a remote control!) As mind-bogglingly silly as it all is, a deleted scene (present on Shout!'s package) of Fawcett and Douglas trippin' on goofballs) takes the crap cake.  —Rod Lott


Hey! Read This!

Alien Anthology Blu-ray review

The Cannonball Run Blu-ray review

• Moonrise Kingdom film review


 
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