Kirk Douglas stars as a man whose best years are probably behind him, though at the moment he does not think so. He has a good job on a remote space station where he does not have to deal with the public and beside him he has a young, hot girlfriend in Farrah Fawcett. Life is good and in his mind, it could not get any better. The thing is, it could get worse and it does so when Harvey Keitel comes aboard, just as robotic as the robot he brought along with him and it is Keitel who cuts through the dream that Douglas has built around him, letting doubt, paranoia and fear enter Douglas’ mind. It is at this point that Douglas realizes that things may not be as good as he thinks they are, especially when it comes to the welfare of Fawcett and in the end, he only wants what is best for her.
Rolling out of the 1970’s and into the 1980’s is Saturn 3, a science-fiction film that has the same look and feel as many of those that would be released during that decade like Logan’s Run or Zardoz to name just a couple. The movie looks big and it feels big, with sets that are seemingly huge not to mention taking place in the vastness of space. Despite its epic feel, the movie was by no means as large as the setting and more of a character piece, focusing upon Douglas, Fawcett and Keitel and the relationship between the three after the latter enters the picture. Douglas especially takes much of the focus, not simply because he was the lead of the film, but due to the fact that any of the perceived failings that are pointed out by Keitel are in fact the fault of Douglas no matter the motives behind Keitel’s comments. It sets up a bit of a love triangle between the three characters, though any perceived romantic feelings on Keitel’s part are not reciprocated from Fawcett.
Some might think that this movie is simply about a giant robot run amok and while it does do just that, it plays off of Kirk and the rest of the characters, bringing out both the best and worst they have to offer until that final, climactic scene. The robot does lend some very evident elements of horror to the picture, not only through its design, but its actions. It is quite frightening in its uniqueness, what with it having no head and what it does as it gains its sentience is probably even more so than anything else. There is nothing quite so scary as the creations of man rising up and overthrowing their masters in what can only be called a nightmare and if the producers of this film had gone this direction, it would have definitely turned into something quite different. As it is, the picture still turned out quite well and features enough action to keep things lively as it moves along.
As far as the casting goes, some might disagree with the choices of Fawcett and Douglas, especially the latter as he was a tad older than his co-stars, but that played directly into the storyline which made it relevant. The film was all about Douglas and his age, his inability to please Fawcett and move on with the times and the latest technology. Keitel makes for a great villain and Fawcett is decent as the love interest, if a little too flighty at times though whether that was Fawcett herself or the script, matters little as they worked well together and sold the material the way it needed to be.
Featuring everything that one could possibly want in a science-fiction film, Saturn 3 is not exactly regarded as a classic of the genre, but it is a good movie that does not disappoint.
3.5 out of 5