Farrah Fawcett, Kirk Douglas, Harvey Keitel, Douglas Lambert
1980, 88 Minutes, Directed by: Stanley Donen
Saturn 3 is one of those movies which everybody who were involved with it wished
never happened. Something they'd all rather see stricken from their CVs and the collective
memories of all humanity.
Saturn 3 is very bad - all of which is
surprising considering who were involved. First, there's almost legendary director Stanley Donen who will perhaps be best remembered for the classic Singing In The Rain. Then
there's the cast. Sure, Farrah Fawcett, one-time Charlie's Angel and 1970s pinup icon, was
never Meryl Streep - but what about Kirk Douglas? Douglas has done a whole lot better than
this. Or Harvey Keitel - currently hot after having given great performances in the likes
of The Piano, Pulp Fiction and Bad Lieutenant? Yet, despite this
cast, the acting is achingly bad, almost of the quality one would expect in video
But the person that comes off the worst is British novelist Martin Amis. Yes, that
Martin Amis! The one who wrote London Fields, Einstein's Monsters and Time's
Arrow. I'm convinced of it that one sure way of spoiling Amis' day would be to
pronounce "You wouldn't guess what I saw the other day on video? Saturn 3!"
upon seeing him. His screenplay is boring, has stilted dialogue, doesn't know what to do
with its one-dimensional characters and/or storyline and is largely pointless.
The plot? Everything is idyllic for partners Douglas and Fawcett on a research station
on one of Saturn's moons until psycho Keitel and his psycho robot sidekick Hector pitches
up. You see, Fawcett and Douglas are working on experimental foodstuffs to feed a starving
earth. Keitel is sent to "help out" because they are behind schedule with their
research. It s easy to see why: Douglas and Fawcett are rarely seen working and rather
seem to spend their time playing chess, jogging, sipping cocktails, etc. etc. Also, it is
never explained why the research base should be located on one of Saturn's moons.
Soon both Keitel and the robot develop the hots for Fawcett. "You have a beautiful
body," Keitel tells Fawcett what is probably the worst come-on line in
"can I use it?" So cue Fawcett being menaced by the huge Hector robot and lots
of running around. What the robot exactly intends to do with Fawcett once he catches her
is also never explained.
But right from the opening shot of a huge spaceship floating through space (mimicking Star Wars) to the accompaniment of a bombastic score by Elmer
Bernstein, which seems a cross between John William's Star Wars score and Also
Sprach Zarachustra used in 2001, one knows that the people
behind the film doesn't have a feeling for sci-fi. It all gets worse from there on. Having
a woman menaced by a huge robot is old hat, but as The Terminator
made a few years later showed, a lot can be done with people running around. Saturn 3