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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Saturn 3 [Blu-ray]


(Stanley Donen, John Barry, 1980)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

Video: Shout! Factory



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:27:27.958

Disc Size: 33,441,846,912 bytes

Feature Size: 24,198,150,144 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.53 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 3rd, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2864 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2864 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1624 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1624 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: DTS-HD Master Audio English 1566 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1566 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), none



• Audio Commentary by Greg Moss (Saturn 3 Fan site) and film critic David Bradley
Interviews with Academy Award winning Special Effects artist Colin Chilvers (15:55) and actor Roy Dotrice (6:29)
Deleted 'Ecstasy' Scene (3:32)
Additional scenes from the network television version (9:55)
Theatrical Trailer (2:55)
TV Spots (:52)
Still Gallery





Description: 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 (Singin’ In The Rain, Charade and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers), Saturn 3 is a pulse-pounding study in sci-fi suspense!




The Film:

In a futuristic setting, two research scientists (a guy and a gal) are set up in an orbiting space station. The guy is Kirk Douglas, and the gal is Farrah Fawcett. They are doing just fine until a run-away scientist comes to visit, lusts for Fawcett, and builds a robot that also lusts for her. Mr. Douglas has his work cut out for him, keeping the menacing robot away from his ladyfriend.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Some handy tips on how to enjoy Saturn 3 One, you can play 'Spot the Rip-off', a game requiring only a cursory knowledge of successful sci-fi/horror movies. Watch for the Star Wars special effects, the claustrophobic chase scenes from Alien, the rampant robots of Dark Star. Or you can while away the credibility gaps by guessing how much Kirk Douglas got paid for not cracking up over lines like 'I guess I'm near abort-time', or how much Martin Amis got paid for writing them. Alternatively, try to figure out whether Harvey Keitel's baddie talks in such a clipped monotone because he's a baddie, or because he's gritting his teeth. And if all else fails, you can ponder the absurd central premise: could any biped - let alone the film's Meccano-built robot - be driven blood-lust crazy for Farrah Fawcett's fanny? Just another miserable muddle from the Lew Grade empire; there's more fun to be had cleaning out your cat litter tray.

Excerpt from TiemOut located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Shout! Factory produce another Blu-ray of a forgotten niche-film - Saturn 3 was stymied right out of the blocks back in 1980 - and justifiably so. Unfortunately, the dual-layered transfer with compelling bitrate can't improve upon the lackluster film stock of the early 80's. The image in 1080P is most likely quite accurate to the theatrical. Colors are decent but detail is modest. It is transferred at the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and contrast and black levels help out the visuals. There are a few instances of noise but I wouldn't say it was intrusive but the overall appearance, which may be the best it can look digitally, is a far cry from what Home Theatre advocates may desire. Aside from Farrah's brief nudity, things are relatively unremarkable. Despite that, this Blu-ray seems quite reasonable in terms of providing a representational 1080P presentation of the original film.


















Audio :

Audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2864 kbps or a similarly uncompressed format in 2.0 channel stereo at 1624 kbps. Some effects produce some interesting audio with the track exporting both bass and depth. Elmer Bernstein's score (True Grit, The Great Escape, To Kill a Mockingbird) benefits from the lossless rendering. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Shout! Factory include an audio commentary by Greg Moss (Saturn 3 Fan site) and film critic David Bradley who impress with their knowledge of the film and playful bantering about the film's merits and detractions as well as discussing the troubled history of the making of the movie. There are also interviews with special effects artist Colin Chilvers - for 16-minutes - and TV actor Roy Dotrice for 6.5 minutes. Some may find the 3.5-minute deleted 'Ecstasy' Scene amusing with Farrah in black leather and a whip. There are 10-minutes of, very rough looking, additional scenes from the extended network television version and, lastly a theatrical trailer, TV Spots and the superfluous stills gallery.



On the positive - this is no where near as bad as some make out. Saturn 3 has the star-appeal despite how goofy things get. I did watch the entire thing - incredulous at times at the dialogue and hokey-ness. Farrah and Kirk are quite one-dimensional in their performances.  There is not much the Blu-ray can do to improve the film - it's not like there were stellar effects of amazing space scenes to swoon over. It is, again, for those appreciative of forgotten (with decent reason) 80's genre sci-fi from the lesser-side of the tracks. In all good conscience I can't recommend.

Gary Tooze

November 23rd, 2013


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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