In the distant future, single man and woman scientific team living on one of Saturn's moons to grow food for the starving Earth, have their isolation shattered when a deranged killer, masquerading as a visiting technology expert, arrives at their lonely outpost to take over their work and build a lethal creation: a super-intelligent 8-foot robot which later takes a murderous mind of its own.
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Sometimes there are gems of films that get overlooked. Even worse, there are films that at decried as ďbadĒ films that truly arenít. Saturn 3 is one of those films that fits into both categories.
The 1979 feature stars Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett as scientists and lovers on space-age Eden-like laboratory deep inside Titan, Saturnís third moon, where they are trying to grew new form of food for the populace back on Earth. Their idyllic life is interrupted by Harvey Keitel and the robotic Hector.
Because of the year of its release it obviously got lost in the shuffle of bigger budget, and more well-known sci-fi films of the era, notably: Alien, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Star Wars (as it was known at the time, before becoming Episode IV Ė A New Hope).
The effects for Saturn 3 are good for its era; but admittedly, donít compare to the abovementioned films. But this isnít an effects driven film. Itís a character driven film.
Adam (Kirk Douglas) and Alex (Farrah Fawcett) lead a quite life while research new type of food for an overpopulated Earth, with hopes that they have been long forgotten. Those hope, and their simple lives, are dashed by the arrival of Captain James (Harvey Keitel) and his ďhelperĒ Hector.
Unknown to Adam and Alex, Captain James is psychotic, recently failed a field test, and killed the Captain who was supposed to be on this mission to Saturn 3. Almost immediately James begins lust after Alex, who spurns his advanced, which only set into motions James murderous rage.
Hector is a new type of robot that is programmed by a human host through an implant. Captain James is the human host and Hector is programmed by him, complete with his memories, knowledge of his action and his lust for Alex.
A small cast of four characters, a claustrophobic setting and a fight for survival make for excellent film. Everything that is needed is here, a good, easy to follow story, clear cut antagonist and protagonist and a homicidal robot that merges with its human host and lusts after a woman.
Saturn 3 has a number of interwoven themes, not the least of which is Eden lost. Saturn 3 is a form of Eden, with two lovers and a snake in the form of Harvey Keitel as a stoic unemotional killer. Another theme is technology run amok, and what could happen if you try to merge man and machine.
In a unique way it is Man versus Man versus Machine.
If you want to see a decent sci-fi film that isnít about big budget special effects, killer aliens or galactic rebels, check out Saturn 3. A gem of a little sci-fi that got lost in the shuffle of the era it came out in.