Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Saturn 3 - Scream Factory Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

Saturn 3
"Some “thing” is wrong on Saturn 3"

Directors: Stanley Donen, who replaced John Barry
Writers: Martin Amis, John Barry
Starring: Kirk Douglas, Harvey Keitel, Farrah Fawcett, Hector the Robot
Year: 1980
Runtime: 97 Minutes
Video: 1.85:1 1080p
Audio: DTS-HD 5.1, DTS-HD 2.0
Subtitles: English
Discs: 2 - 1Blu-ray, 1 DVD
Reversible Cover: Nope
Studio: Scream Factory
Region: A
Release Date: 12/03/13

Adam (Kirk Douglas) and Alex (Farrah Fawcett) are two scientists stationed deep beneath the barren surface of Saturn's third moon, Titan. They live together in idyllic isolation in a space-age Eden, seeking new forms of food for an exhausted planet Earth. Their perfect world is interrupted when Benson (Harvey Keitel) arrives as Saturn goes into eclipse and cuts off communication with the rest of the solar system. Aided by his 'helper robot' Hector, James reduces life to one single purpose…survival. The robot becomes violently unmanageable. For Adam and Alex, their only hope is to flee, but the homicidal robot stands in their way. Produced and directed by legendary filmmaker Stanley Donen (SinginIn The Rain, Charade and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers), Saturn 3 is a pulse-pounding study in sci-fi suspense!

Of all the things I've heard about Saturn 3, none of them were good. Critics panned it upon its release, even today it's currently sitting at a wimpy 4.8 on the IMDB. It flopped pretty hard at the box office and was even nominated for a few Razzies during the very first ceremony. But, I don't know, maybe my years of seeking out and viewing terrible obscure trash horror films has given me a high movie pain tolerance, but I didn't find it to be all that bad. Sure, I wouldn't call it good, it's decent at best - the acting is pretty hokey, the script is subpar with a story that doesn't really go anywhere, but it's certainly not the laughable mess I was prepared for.

I'd say there's actually a lot to like here; Hector the murderous robot, some great looking sets and effects, Bernstein's score, Kirk Douglas' balls... the main problem with Saturn 3 in my opinion is that it's just a bit on the dull side and it's just not all that memorable. Very few scenes stand out. The whole movie is basically 3 people on a research station in space with a big ass robot that occasionally tries to kill them and nail Farrah Fawcett. (Not sure how that would've even worked, the robot doesn't even have a proper head, I'm certain it has no penis.)

I think it could've used a subplot or two or at least a few more people showing up to act as robot fodder for Hector. The film isn't terrible as it is, I just never found myself sucked in the story and I personally don't think it's a film I'd revisit too often. As it stands I'd say Saturn 3 is worth a look as a curiosity more than anything, though if you're new to the film, I'd say rent it before dropping $20 on it.

The Disc
While I'm personally not too big on the film, Saturn 3 certainly has its fans they will love what Scream has done with this release. The picture is great as you'll see in the screenshots below, and the audio is impressive and really shows off the excellent score by Elmer Bernstein.

In addition to the nice A/V quality, we've also got some pretty great features. The commentary by Greg Moss (who runs a Saturn 3 Fan site) and Film Critic David Bradley is loaded with a ton of great info on the film, as you'd expect from a commentary with someone who runs a fan site dedicated to Saturn 3.

The interview with effects artist Colin Chilvers is a good listen, the effects work is impressive and probably the highlight of the of the film, so it's good to hear a little of the background of the effects. The interview with Roy Dotrice is quite a bit shorter than the Chilvers interview, but it's still very much worth a listen.

A cute deleted "ectasy" scene is also included that shows us what took place after Alex and Adam got high after sharing a "Blue Dreamer". It doesn't add much to the film, but Farrah does show up wearing a kinky outfit that looks like something she swiped from the set of Zeta One.

In addition to the deleted scene, there are also some rough looking additional scenes from the TV version. Rounding out the disc is a still gallery, the theatrical trailer and some TV spots. All in all, this is a great package for the cult sci-fi favorite.

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